The last year's summer break is memorable for several high-profile news and events: Daniel Ricciardo announced a leaving Red Bull team and joining Renault, Fernando Alonso said that he finishes his career in F1 at the end of the season, and Carlos Sainz finally broke up with the Red Bull system and signed a contract with the former place of work of his compatriot – McLaren team. In addition, Pierre Gasly got a promotion as a moving to Red Bull in the season 2019, replacing Ricciardo.
So, compared to last year, the summer break 2019 is clearly losing. This month we had heard many different rumors about Bottas’ leaving of Mercedes, Ocon’s joining of Renault and finishing career of Grosjean. However, there is no official confirmation of any contract yet.
But it’s worth paying tribute to Red Bull – this is, perhaps, the only team that remains true to its principles. If last year Red Bull management gave Gasly a promotion, then this August the team decided to bring him back, replacing Pierre with Alex Albon.
In general, the warm-up before the last year's race in Belgium was really hot, however, as the race itself.
On Friday, it became apparent Ferrari wasn’t wasting time on the holidays and was well prepared for the Grand Prix. Throughout all three practice sessions Ferrari drivers were in the lead – Sebastian Vettel led the first and third sessions, and Kimi Raikkonen set the best time in the second. However, in qualifying Ferrari lost pole position to Lewis Hamilton in the raining Q3. Sebastian showed the second time, and Kimi Raikkonen got only to the sixth position.
The start at the Spa is always an intrigue. A short throw to the first turn means that one mistake on the braking from the side of the driver from behind guarantees us a spectacular accident. So it happened in the last year’s race: in the fight with Nico Hulkenberg Fernando Alonso was in the air, flying over the Charles Leclerc car, knocking him out of the race and at the same time testing the Halo system for strength.
No less interesting was the start of the first four. Hamilton pushed back Vettel's attack in the first corner, but Sebastian overtook Lewis in Eau Rouge. However, at the same time Vettel had to repel the attacks of the two pink cars – Racing Point team.
Also there was contact between Kimi and Dan, after which both went to the pit lane: Kimi to change a tyre, and Dan to get a new rear wing. But after a while, both cars retired.
The rest part of the race went in pretty relaxed pace: Lewis still couldn’t pass Sebastian and finished in P2, Max Verstappen made a few beautiful overtaking and moved into third position, and Sebastian finished the Belgian Grand Prix with a confident win.
What can we expect from the Belgian race this year?
Obviously, this year Ferrari doesn't have the best season, and it's a big question whether they've managed to improve their car in a short break time. However, Mercedes principal Toto Wolff told that his team will have problems in Belgium and Italy, those tracks that aren’t suitable for Mercedes cars. But if believe the statistics, over the past five years Mercedes has the most victories in these Grand Prix: three in Belgium and five in Italy. Therefore, most likely this year there will be no sensation, and on Sunday we will witness another victory of Mercedes, and most likely, Lewis. As for the podium, Ferrari and Red Bull have great chances of success result here. Most likely, P1 and P2 will go to Lewis and Valtteri Bottas, and there will be a fight between Ferrari and Max Verstappen for the third place.
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