Belgian Grand Prix: Hamilton clenches victory ahead of Bottas and Verstappen

  • Published on 30 Aug 2020 16:45
  • 7
  • By: Coilin Higgins

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton took the win in Belgium this afternoon, ahead of teammate Valtteri Bottas and Red Bull's Max Verstappen.

McLaren's Carlos Sainz was the only non-starter of the race, as an exhaust failure ended his chances while the Spaniard was on his way to the grid.

Hamilton held the lead from pole despite a challenge from Bottas into Le Source, while Daniel Ricciardo looked to get pass Verstappen into Les Combes, but could not make the move stick.

Charles Leclerc had a good start, moving up to eighth on the first lap. Pierre Gasly pulled a daring overtake on Sergio Perez through Eau Rouge, not backing down as the pair went up the hill.

The Ferrari started dropping down the order, with Leclerc complaining of poor speed on the straights, falling back as far as twelfth on the tenth lap.

The safety car was deployed after a accident for Antonio Giovinazzi and George Russell at Les Fagnes. Giovinazzi spun on the exit of the corner and hit the barriers, leaving Russell with nowhere to go, hitting a wheel from Giovinazzi's accident. Both drivers emerged from the cars unhurt.

All drivers decided to pit during the safety car, with the exception of Gasly and Perez. Only Alexander Albon changed to mediums during the stops, with the preferred compound for drivers being hard tyres in the hopes of going to the end.

The safety car returned to the pits and racing resumed on lap 15, Hamilton led away but Bottas came under pressure from Verstappen. as Gasly fended off Perez behind.

Hamilton reported a loss of power from his car, with Bottas closing the gap on his teammate. His team told him it was energy management from the power unit, and he should be fine to continue.

Fourth and the fastest lap went to Ricciardo, while Renault teammate Esteban Ocon was fifth. Sixth went to Albon, as McLaren's Lando Norris crossed the line in seventh.

Perez slipped down the order on his older tyres thanks to overtakes from Ricciardo and Albon. Perez opted to pit on lap 19, putting the Racing Point at the bottom of the remaining cars.

Sebastian Vettel and Leclerc almost came together at Les Combes as Vettel squeezed his teammate when Leclerc tried to challenge for twelfth position.

Gasly conceded his fourth place to Ricciardo on lap 22, as sixth-placed Albon closed up on the AlphaTauri ahead. After a few laps behind Gasly, Albon eventually made his way past on lap 24 for fifth. Mercedes reported dropping track temperatures as the clouds closed in around the circuit. 

Meanwhile, Leclerc made a second stop for mediums on lap 25, but as his first stop under the safety car, it was a slow stop for the Ferrari driver, with the mechanics topping his car up with what looked to be hydraulic pressure during the stop. Ferrari would not reveal what it was, preferring to tell Leclerc after the race.

Gasly pitted on lap 27, with AlphaTauri believing the rest of the field will not be able to finish the race on a one-stop strategy. Verstappen reported vibrations on his set of hard tyres, as Ferrari confirmed pneumatic pressure was what the team were adding to Leclerc's car as he pitted.

Vettel locked up and had to go wide at Les Combes trying to defend his twelfth position from a recovering Gasly, as Perez moved into the points at the expense of Kimi Raikkonen on lap 33, as Gasly did the same on the Alfa Romeo the following lap.

Bottas reported numbness from his left leg on the brakes, as Verstappen behind noticed his tyre vibrations were worsening. Both Mercedes drivers were beginning to struggle with tyre wear with seven laps to go, with Gasly being let by Kvyat due to being on a faster strategy.

Hamilton went wide after locking up at the Bus Stop chicane, while also briefly sliding coming through La Source, while Bottas was told to stay away from the kerbs in order to preserve his tyres, the Finn also locking up and going wide at the Bus Stop.

With two laps to do, Ricciardo started setting personal best lap times, while Ocon could not find a way around Albon. With the pair battling, McLaren's Norris was able to catch up and challenge.

On the final lap, Albon lost out to Ocon for fifth, with Albon now holding Norris behind as Hamilton came home to take the win ahead of Bottas and Verstappen. On the final lap, Ricciardo took the fastest lap, only being three seconds behind Verstappen at the end.

Eighth and ninth went to Gasly and Lance Stroll, while Perez rounded out the top ten and took the final point.

Replies (7)

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  • abhidbgt

    Posts: 283

    As far as Spa goes it wasn't that exciting. But what a turnaround for Renault. Tired of seeing the same three people on the podium.
    Don't expect much to change in the remaining 10 races.

    • + 2
    • Aug 30 2020 - 17:00
  • Great race for Renault and Ricciardo, downright abysmal for Ferrari. Gasly did also do pretty alright.

    • + 2
    • Aug 30 2020 - 18:17
    • I am starting to think that there is a very real possibility of Gasly getting his seat back. I genuinely feel a Albon just doesn't have it. Granted, Gasly might not do any better, but at least he seems very promising in Alpha Tauri. Much more promising than Albon was last year in Toro Rosso.

      Fantastic to see Renault so close to the podium. Maybe Fernando will get a proper car to fight next year after all. Also we'll done to Ocon. His best race so far. This wasn't luck like soem of his other point finishes.

      Gutted for Sainz, he would have been in the mix with Albon, Ocon and Ricciardo.

      Racing Point? I'm starting to wonder what's going on. They seemed to have the second best car in some days. But so far, race days have been only marginally better than other years when they have finished 4th in the WCC.

      • + 0
      • Aug 30 2020 - 20:15
    • abhidbgt

      Posts: 283

      Yup, racing point is a mystery.

      • + 0
      • Aug 30 2020 - 20:46
    • Snooky

      Posts: 121

      The problem you have with Gasley/Albon is that it sounds like the RBR is difficult to drive for someone with a different way to Verstappen, after all it was built for him. Unless you have major experience in F1 in different cars, they’ll always struggle. There was a comment in Sky F1 commentary that may be a possibility, someone like Hulk taking Albon’s seat and Albon replacing the anonymous Kvyat which seems more logical. I feel for Albon, I think given a less difficult car he’d shine

      • + 0
      • Aug 30 2020 - 21:23
    • Kean

      Posts: 692

      It was great to see Renault up there. Regarding RP, I believe that having copied a car they don't really know the car, it's not like a car that has evolved in-house. This weekend I think they opted for a set up with too much downforce. Gasly did a great job, like he has done all season. He impressed in his first year, and he's impressing me this year again. His abysmal stint with RBR has to be because of their extreme high rake concept that makes that car very difficult to drive, and it's is likely also tailored to Verstappen and perhaps he has a very unique style. I rate both Gasly and Albon highly, perhaps Gas a bit higher than Alb based solely on how they've done against Kvyat.

      • + 0
      • Aug 30 2020 - 22:06
    • abhidbgt

      Posts: 283

      Meanwhile Antonio Giovinazzi it seems has a problem with Spa.

      • + 0
      • Aug 31 2020 - 04:38

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