The superb weekend of Renault and Lewis Hamilton but also the setbacks of Ferrari and a too tender Bottas, find the tops and flops of the Belgian Grand Prix.
Renault finally to its advantage
Fourth and sixth on the grid, the diamond brand had great expectations this Sunday, at Spa, with ultra-fast single-seaters in a straight line. And the race went smoothly. Daniel Ricciardo took a magnificent fourth place, equaling his best performance at Renault in 2019 at Monza, and even slammed the fastest race lap. Sign of a performance car. For his part, Esteban Ocon took a convincing fifth place, overtaking Albon on the final lap of the race. In the end, this allows Renault to leave Belgium with 23 points and to get closer to Ferrari, two points behind, for fifth place among manufacturers.
Hamilton still in demonstration
As often, Lewis Hamilton shone. Starting from pole, the Briton never really shook as his team-mate, Bottas, was never able to keep up with his pace. Dominating from start to finish, the six-time world champion has signed a fifth success this season and an 89e career victory. It comes back to two victories from the historic record of Michael Schumacher (91) and above all comes a little closer to a seventh world title.
Gasly the host
He had almost succeeded in his bet. The only driver to set off on hard tires, the Frenchman had made a perfect start. 12e on the grid, the Normand was in the top 8 with a strategy that would pay off. But, a racing incident, accident between Russell and Giovinazzi, decided otherwise. The safety car then intervened, offering the drivers a “free stop” except for Gasly, who was forced to stay on the track with his hard tires. Unlucky, he later stopped (26e tour) and left 16e. Far from the points but not shot down. Gasly and his AlphaTauri then embarked on a crazy comeback, punctuated by a convincing eighth place.
The fall of Ferrari
We usually say that we do not hit a man down. It could also work for Ferrari. But there is so much to say. Outside Q3 on Saturday, for the first time since the British Grand Prix in 2014, the Scuderia drank the cup again on Sunday. 13e and 14e on the grid, the red cars, without engine power and top speed, quickly fell into anonymity despite a good start from Leclerc. The Monegasque, surprising eighth after a few laps, then went through hell. Overtaken without being able to fight in a straight line, two missed stops, especially the first where the tires … were not ready, he will surely be keen to forget this weekend as soon as possible. Problem for Ferrari, only 13e (Vettel) and 14e (Leclerc) Sunday is when the next Grand Prix is at Monza… the temple of speed. At home, the Scuderia risks drowning.
Bottas, resigned teammate
Second, Bottas did not have a bad race. Far from there. But the Finn seems a little resigned in his possible conquest of the world title. Constantly beaten by Hamilton, number two at Mercedes is too tender at the moment and hardly ever puts pressure on the six-time world champion. He validates double when he can, but like the first laps at Spa, he lacks that little touch of madness that could allow him to really fight with his teammate.
It was a real blow for McLaren who saw only one of their cars start. The British brand lost Carlos Sainz Jr even before the start. His car suffered an exhaust problem on its grid-setting lap. A problem that the mechanics could not fix before the race. As a result, the Spaniard did not take the start.