The races in Belgium are always bright, spectacular and unforgettable. Despite that last year’s race was frankly boring, this season Spa gave us an excellent Grand Prix with a lot of incredible and beautiful moments. For example the terrible crash at the start of the Belgian race between Hulkenberg, Alonso and Leclerc; or beautiful performance of Racing Point Force India drivers in qualifying and race. In this article we’ll speak about another one exciting moment - the battle between two championship leaders. This time it was especially good.
Both teams brought big upgrades to Belgium. First of all, new engines. Also Ferrari worked with a new oil composition this weekend. They say, this oil is very expensive and still is under development. So that’s why Sauber and Haas can’t use this “magic” ingredient now.
As results show, Ferrari’s upgrades worked out better. Although Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton was the best on Saturday again. But we should remember about one very important factor in the Vettel-Hamilton battle, namely the weather.
Vettel is terrestrial, Hamilton is aquatic
In the course of the first part of the season we've made sure Hamilton becomes untouchable in the wet conditions. It depends not as much on his car as on Vettel, who can’t manage with the wet track as good as Lewis can.
In the course of the free practices both Ferrari were faster than Mercedes. In the first practice the best time was shown by Sebastian, in the second by Kimi, and in the final Ferrari was the first again (Seb - 1, Kimi - 2). Perhaps, Vettel could get the pole, if it didn’t start to rain. But besides that Ferrari drivers were victims of team’s mistake. It turned out that mechanics didn't add the fuel into Raikkonen’s car; and the battery on Vettel’s car was discharged. Even despite the technical issues Sebastian has started the race from the first row, after the pole sitter.
The start is the main Vettel’s trump; and this time it helped Sebastian again to take a lead in the race. We can say, at that moment the fight for the victory was over, but few times in a race Seb’s win was in dangerous.
After the restart Lewis approached Vettel, but couldn't overtake him. Moreover, with every lap Sebastian was increasing the lead; and on the 11th lap the gap between Vettel and Hamilton was about 3,5 seconds. The really risky moment was on the 23rd lap, when Seb went to the boxes. Lewis did a pit stop one lap before. Ferrari perfectly chose the time to stop, and Sebastian returned to the track the first, in front of Max and Lewis. Again, Lewis was very close to Seb, overtook Max, but couldn’t overtake Vettel.
The rest time to the finish Vettel was widening the gap, in dry conditions Lewis couldn't counterpose anything to his opponent. At the finish the gap between Vettel and Hamilton was 11 seconds.
After Spa we know for sure Vettel is terrestrial, and Hamilton is aquatic.
Bottas and Raikkonen are out of leaders fight
Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen unfortunately can't boast the same success as their teammates. Mercedes driver looks a little mixed-up lately. In Hungary his performance was poor and unimpressive. And the same story repeated in Belgium.
Bottas began the Belgian GP with the penalty for engine changing. Valtteri has started the race from the 17th place and immediately crashed into Sirotkin car, broke the front wing and then went back to the end of the peloton. He spent a lot of time fighting with the opponents, but reached the leaders to the finish of the race. And of course hadn’t no chances for podium.
Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen spent the Grand Prix even worse, without any points. At the race start Kimi got the puncture after Ricciardo’s punch, and on the 9th lap retired due the technical problems.