Belgian GP: Leclerc takes maiden win ahead of Hamilton

  • Published on 01 Sep 2019 16:39
  • comments 9
  • By: Fergal Walsh

Charles Leclerc has won his first Formula 1 Grand Prix, crossing the line ahead of Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton.

The second Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel failed to finish on the podium, despite the fact he led after the pit stop phase. 

However, Vettel lacked pace and was instructed by his team to let Leclerc back through for the lead, as he lost the top spot following a five-lap undercut for Vettel. 

Max Verstappen failed to finish the race after he made contact with Kimi Raikkonen on the opening lap of the Grand Prix, damaging his steering at Turn 1.

As he made his way through Eau Rouge, his car was too damaged, and he ended up in the wall and out of the race. Vettel found himself behind Hamilton before getting past again at Turn 4.

A safety car was then deployed to allow the marshalls to clear away Verstappen's car, while Carlos Sainz also had issues with his clutch, putting him into retirement. 

Valtteri Bottas picked up the final spot on the podium, taking his tenth top-three finish of the season. Vettel in fourth was the only driver inside the top four to make a second stop, as he fitted the soft compound before Bottas had an opportunity to overtake.

Alexander Albon was fifth on his Red Bull debut, overtaking Sergio Perez on the final lap to take the spot. 

However, both were promoted up one position before that, as Lando Norris, who was running clear in fifth place, pulled to the side of the circuit with a power unit problem.

Antonio Giovinazzi was on course to score points before he collided with the barriers at Pouhon on the last lap, bringing out yellow flags in the second sector. 

At this point, Hamilton was closing in fast on Leclerc, who was struggling with is tyres, however the Monegasque driver held on to take home 25 points.

Perez was classified sixth ahead of Daniil Kvyat and Nico Hulkenberg, who scored his first points since the German Grand Prix in July. 

On his return to Toro Rosso, Pierre Gasly secured two points for the Red Bull junior team, while Lance Stroll found himself in tenth place after Norris' DNF.

Daniel Ricciardo was running inside the points after pitting on the opening lap, as he too got caught up in the contact at Turn 1.

However, his pace fell away towards the end and he finished in 14th, behind the Haas duo of Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen

BE Spa-Francorchamps - 01 September 2019

VER relaxed all the way back to 2016 in the holiday break, same mistake, same opponent, same corner. Shake off the holiday feeling Max, this is a crap way to recover from a bad start and you know it, that inside corner has no overtake opportunity!!
Congrats to LEC on the first win, deserved and s... [Read more]

  • 2
  • Sep 1 2019 - 16:42

Replies (9)

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  • VER relaxed all the way back to 2016 in the holiday break, same mistake, same opponent, same corner. Shake off the holiday feeling Max, this is a crap way to recover from a bad start and you know it, that inside corner has no overtake opportunity!!
    Congrats to LEC on the first win, deserved and shame it wasn't under better cirumstances. RIP Anthoine.

    • + 2
    • Sep 1 2019 - 16:42
  • That was a pretty good race. Pretty intense midfield, so no doubt great the cameras were focusing on that section so much. I expected the Merc's to win out in terms of race pace, and it seemed true to some extent, but kudos to Leclerc for managing that situation excellently. Ferrari has A Lot of work ahead of them.

    Albon did a splendid job today once he got onto better tyres. To think we still got a RBH into the top 5, and one from P17 at that. And that overtake on Ricciardo was beautiful stuff. As for Max vs Räikkönen, it was a racing incident, but I feel Max should've been more careful. After all, he has a lot more to lose on crashing out L1 compared to an Alfa-driver. But that aside RBH/TRH had a solid weekend, didn't quite expect that on this track. A real shame about Norris though, the bloke had done a stellar job, felt unfair to have him retire at the final lap. I wonder what Renault was doing with Ricciardo, not pitting him again was a bit of a bummer. RP were solid this session.

    • + 2
    • Sep 1 2019 - 16:57
    • what were the let-downs for Sainz and Norris this race, did someone get that in the report? Was that 2/4 Renault failures (and the factory cars just not up to it?)

      • + 0
      • Sep 1 2019 - 17:04
    • I believe Sainz at least had some clutch problems, and also had issues with the anti-stall not kicking in at least once. Norris first felt some vibrations kinda midrace-ish, and then the PU died on him. Whether the PUs are actually wasted or if it's just some shoddy sensors I don't know, but methinks we'll find out pretty soon.

      • + 0
      • Sep 1 2019 - 17:40
  • abhidbgt

    Posts: 283

    It was sombre the way it should have been. Have to feel for Norris. Finally a victory for Ferrari, happy for them and Charles. Can't shake the feeling that if Vettel hadn't put up a resistance against Hamilton for Charles it would have all been over a lap before. Their race pace is bizarrely bad. It was going well for Giovinazzi too but he blew it. Same story for Haas they just can't get above the situation.

    • + 0
    • Sep 1 2019 - 17:11
  • abhidbgt

    Posts: 283

    Interestingly Honda was the only new spec power unit provider that didn't run into troubles this weekend.

    • + 0
    • Sep 1 2019 - 20:35
    • That is actually a pretty interesting detail. The only Honda that did encounter issues was Max (the power cutting during sector 2, which may or may not be sensor issues), and he is running an older package that is likely on it's final breath. It won't surprise me if he takes a penalty for Monza

      • + 0
      • Sep 1 2019 - 21:02
  • f1ski

    Posts: 726

    Ferrari has made this mistake two seasons in a row choosing speed over grip. Hats off to Vettel for holding up Lewis. To me what smells suspicious is on tires that lewis is struggling on 6 laps from the end even back when he is getting past Vettel the car can be 1 second faster per lap in the end. how much more power is the MB making in party mode can the journalists get the telemetry data to analyze.

    • + 0
    • Sep 1 2019 - 20:53
  • Good race and feel bad for Norris, he was stellar today. Driver of the day. Leclerc drove brilliantly and an overdue win for him, that Ferrari breezed by the Mercedes on the straight (Vet) - that's some serious power. Vettel in trouble now, he's being out qualified and out driven in races by the younger chap - its going to be very difficult for him now, Leclerc will finish ahead of Vettel in the champs.

    • + 1
    • Sep 1 2019 - 21:32

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