Grand Prix of Belgium – Race

Rain at the end of Q2 and through Q3 made for an exciting Qualifying session yesterday.

Provisional grid: HAM, VET, OCO, PER, GRO, RAI, VER, RIC, MAG, BOT*, GAS, HAR, LEC, ERI, HUL*, SAI, ALO, SIR, STR, VAN
*BOT will drop to P21 and HUL to P22 for engine changes

After Quali, both SAI and VAN took whole new engines which result in grid penalties, although VAN was already right at the back
“Sainz will line up 19th ahead of Vandoorne on the final row of the grid, with Valtteri Bottas and Nico Hulkenberg, who took engine penalties earlier in the weekend, promoted two places to 17th and 18th respectively.” [F1]
Updated grid: HAM, VET, OCO, PER, GRO, RAI, VER, RIC, MAG, GAS, HAR, LEC, ERI, ALO, SIR, STR, BOT*, HUL*, SAI*, VAN*
*Engine change penalties applied

Air temperature 17°C; track 29°C; humidity 39%; chance of rain 20%

Everyone with a free choice of tyres (P11 down) has gone with soft compound, except SAI who starts on mediums
HAM leads everyone away on the formation lap (The top 10 are on supersofts)

01/44: ALO launched over LEC as they go into Turn 1
VET uses his new Ferrari engine’s power to take P1 from HAM
Safety Car deployed
RAI has a puncture
Replay shows HUL ran into the back of ALO

02[SC]: Safety Car leads them through the pit lane, to avoid the Turn 1 debris
RIC pits – his rear wing is destroyed
RAI pits because of the puncture

03[SC]: VET, HAM, PER, OCO, VER, GRO, MAG, GAS, ERI, SIR, STR, HAR, SAI, RAI, VAN, BOT, RIC; retirements: LEC, ALO, HUL
VAN and BOT pit for tyres
Red Bull mechanics still working on replacing RIC’s rear wing

04[SC]: Replay of the start shows BOT run into the rear of SIR before the HUL/ALO/LEC incident
RIC is back on track with a new rear wing
SC in at the end of this lap
VET slows and starts backing up the pack, ready for the restart

05/44: HAM kicks up some debris in Turn 1

06: VET fastest lap 1:48.656
SIR past ERI for P9
VER closing on the tail of OCO

07: DRS now enabled
BOT up to P14
OCO defends but VER takes P4

08: RAI pits; rejoins P16, with only RIC behind him (a lap down)

09: VET f/lap 1:48.646
BOT takes P12 from SAI
RAI pits, retires the Ferrari

10/44: VET, HAM, PER, VER, OCO, GRO, MAG, GAS, ERI, SIR, STR, BOT, SAI, HAR, VAN, RAI*, RIC
*RAI is in the garage but RIC is a lap down
VER past PER cleanly for P3

11: Replay of the start shows RIC tag RAI’s rear-right tyre, causing the puncture which led to RAI’s retirement

12: VET f/lap 1:48.495
BOT takes P10 from SIR
RIC passes STR (P12) to continue unlapping himself

13: VET has a 3.7sec lead over HAM, who has about 11sec gap to VER
Radio for VER asking about the balance; “all under control”

15/44: VET, HAM, VER, PER, OCO, GRO, MAG, GAS, ERI, BOT, SIR, STR, SAI, HAR, VAN, RIC; retirements: RAI, LEC, ALO, HUL

16: HAM f/lap 1:48.479

17: HAM f/lap 1:48.208
BOT blasts pass ERI out of Eau Rouge to take P9

18: BOT now past GAS for P8

20/44: VET, HAM, VER, PER, OCO, GRO, MAG, BOT, GAS, ERI, SIR, STR, SAI, HAR, VAN, RIC
Radio for HAM asking about his tyres; “all good”
Presumably HAM feels his tyres are fine but his rears are both looking blistered

21: VER is still about 14sec behind HAM, and about 15sec ahead of PER

22/44: HAM pits from P2; softs go on; rejoins P3
Radio for VET telling him to box
BOT takes P7 from MAG

23: VET pits; softs; rejoins still just ahead of VER and HAM
HAM reclaims P2

24: VET’s lead down to under 2sec
HAM f/lap 1:46.721
GRO pits from P6; softs; rejoins P10

25/44: OCO pits from P5; softs; rejoins P9

26: VET f/lap 1:46.644
PER pits from P4; rejoins P5
GAS pits too

27: VER pits from P3; softs; rejoins still P3
BOT is P4 but he’ll need to pit soon
HAR uses DRS to pass ERI for P10

28: HAR defends but ERI reclaims P10

29: HAR takes P10 again

30/44: VET, HAM, VER, BOT, PER, OCO, GRO, MAG, GAS
ERI’s turn to use DRS to take P10
BOT pits from P4; softs; rejoins P6

31: RIC pits from P16; Red Bull retire the car

33: BOT blasts past OCO for P5
SAI takes P11 from SIR

34: BOT f/lap 1:46.286

35/44: VET, HAM, VER, PER, BOT, OCO, GRO, MAG, GAS, ERI, SAI, SIR, STR, HAR, VAN; retirements: RIC, RAI, LEC, ALO, HUL

37: BOT closing on PER

39: BOT now within DRS range of PER, despite PER setting personal f/lap time

40/44: VET, HAM, VER, PER, BOT, OCO, GRO, MAG, GAS, ERI, SAI, SIR, STR, HAR, VAN
BOT uses DRS to take P4 from PER

43: bit processional now

44: closest “battle” is STR 2sec behind SIR

VET takes the chequered flag

Provisional result: VET, HAM, VER, PER, BOT, OCO, GRO, MAG, GAS, ERI; SAI, SIR, STR, HAR, VAN
DNF: RIC, RAI, LEC, ALO, HUL

VET’s 52nd win moves him ahead of Alain Prost, making him the 3rd most successful F1 driver.

Update: HUL has been a 10-grid spot penalty for the next race as punishment for the Turn 1 incident. [F1]

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