Grand Prix of Belgium – Race

With all the penalties applied after Qualifying, the grid looks like this: Hamilton, Rosberg; Bottas, Perez; Ricciardo, Massa; Maldonado, Vettel; Grosjean, Sainz; Hulkenberg, Kvyat; Ericsson, Nasr; Stevens, Raikkonen; Merhi, Verstappen; Button, Alonso.

Interesting to see the grooves (for drainage) on the grid; Niki Lauda just said he thinks ROS has the better side of the grid for the start.

It’s Ferrari’s 900th F1 race so there’ll be even more attention paid to VET and RAI than usual. RAI had problems in Q2 and a gearbox change dropped him to P16.

Air temperature 23°C; 38°C; dry but breezy

The revised rules mean the drivers will get less info from the pit wall, including at the start which contains some complex preparations.

HAM leads everyone away on the formation lap
Radio from HUL – “no power”; told to pit this lap
Radio for HUL changing the decision – “take the start”
Looks like just NAS, ALO and BUT starting on primes
HAM and co wait for BUT and ALO to put their McLarens into position at the very back
HUL waiving – he’s got a problem
Aborted start

Another formation lap as HUL is pushed into the pit lane
(Race distance will be reduced to 43 laps)
Radio from SAI – “I have no power”
HAM slows to bunch everyone up
Radio for SAI – “come to the pit lane”
P10 and P11 empty on the grid

01/44: ROS a bit slow off the line
PER to P2
ROS dropped to P5
ROS past BOT for P4

02: HAM, PER, RIC, ROS, BOT, VET, MAL, GRO, MAS, ERI
BOT wide; VET takes P5
MAL coasting – engine problems

03: HAM fastest lap 1:56.039
SAI is on track but HUL still in the pits

04: HAM f/lap 1:56.017
HAM, PER, RIC, ROS, VET, BOT, GRO, MAS, KVY, ERI
MAL made it back to the pits
SAI working hard to stay out of everyone’s way as he’s lapped

05/43: HAM f/lap 1:55.782
PER ~2.6sec behind HAM
HAM, PER, RIC, ROS, VET, BOT, GRO, MAS, KVY, VES

06: HAM f/lap 1:55.735
Radio from BUT asking if there’s damage to his rear wheel
KVY takes P8 from MAS

07: HAM f/lap 1:55.722
Radio from BUT – “feels like we forgot to connect the batteries”!

08: RIC pits – early stop – takes primes
GRO takes P5
ROS closing on PER

09: PER pits – more option tyres
Big lockup from KVY into the final chicane – cut the corner
Radio from MAS – “I guess it’s box now?” “Yes, box now”

10/43: GRO, KVY, MAS, VES, ERI all pit
VES looks down the inside of NAS but the door is closed

11: HAM, ROS, VET, RAI, RIC, PER, GRO, BOT, KVY, MAS

12: RAI pits
BUT pits

13: ROS pits
GRO f/lap 1:55.666
PER tries to pass ROS but the Mercedes stays ahead
Incident involving car 77 (BOT) under investigation – incorrect tyres fitted

14: HAM pits – prime tyres – rejoins P2 because VET has yet to pit
Drive through penalty for BOT

15/43: VET, HAM, ROS, PER, RIC, GRO, BOT, KVY, MAS, RAI; retirements: MAL, HUL
VET pits; rejoins P6
ROS f/lap 1:54.948
RIC fights the car coming out of Eau Rouge – scary!

16: BOT serves his drive-through penalty
ROS closing the gap to HAM

19: Radio for PER, warning him GRO is closing

20/43: HAM, ROS, PER, GRO, RIC, VET, KVY, MAS, RAI, VES, BOT, ERI, NAS, ALO, BUT, MER, STE, SAI
GRO takes P3 from PER

21: PER pits
RIC pulls off to the side of the track and parks his Red Bull
Virtual Safety Car deployed
ALO pits

22[VSC]: BUT pits
BBC report clouds forming, sky darkening – might rain before the end of the race?
MAS, RAI, VES all pit
VSC ending
Radio from HAM – did ROS close under VSC?
VSC ended

23: Radio for PER – need to make tyres last to the end
HAM 2.2sec ahead of ROS
BOT inside ERI to take P10

24: Radio for ALO – rain is 100km away but could be a shower before the end
MAS f/lap 1:54.093

25/43: HAM, ROS, VET, GRO, KVY, PER, MAS, RAI, VES, BOT
HAM opening his lead slightly; now 3.2sec ahead of ROS

26: HAM now 4sec ahead

27: Radio for VET requesting him to make some setting changes but says it’s not reacting

28: KVY pits from P5

29: KVY uses DRS to blast past BOT for P9

30/43: HAM, ROS, VET, GRO, PER, MAS, RAI, VES, KVY, BOT, ALO, ERI, NAS, BUT, MER, STE, SAI
KVY f/lap 1:53.032

31: HAM pits from P1 – options – rejoins P2, a long way ahead of VET

32: ROS pits – also switches back to options
NAS takes P12 from ALO
Radio for VET – tyres could go to the end

35/43: HAM, ROS, VET, GRO, PER, MAS, RAI, KVY, BOT, VES
Radio for SAI telling him to pit and retire the car
GRO closing on VET

37: BUT pits
KVY takes P7 from RAI

38: KVY closing on MAS, who in turn is on the rear wing of PER

39: Mercedes tweet asking people not to do a rain dance 🙂

40/43: Radio for KVY – official warning about running outside track limits

41: VET continues to defend P3 from GRO
KVY lining up PER – takes P5

42: HAM, ROS, VET, GRO, KVY, PER, MAS, RAI, VES, BOT, ERI, NAS, ALO, BUT, MER, STE
VET’s right rear tyre puncture!
VET keeping his foot down but that’s making it hard (dangerous?) for others to pass him

43 = final lap: VES attacking RAI; over-cooks it and runs wide

HAM takes the chequered flag
ROS completes the Mercedes 1-2
GRO is P3

Provisional result: HAM, ROS, GRO, KVY, PER, MAS, RAI, VES, BOT, ERI; NAS, VET, ALO, BUT, MER, STE
DNF: SAI, RIC, MAL, HUL

GRO jumps out of the car in parc ferme and runs to celebrate with the Lotus team

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