L&T Motorsport

BELGIAN GP – RACE REVIEW

The race was chaotic from the word go. Rosberg got away well while Verstappen got bogged down. There was soon a major incident at La Source when Verstappen who was down in fourth following his poor start dived up the inside of Raikkonen despite the lack of space and Vettel attempted to squeeze his teammate, not knowing that Verstappen was putting Raikkonen under strain. This whole combination of events led to Raikkonen and Vettel colliding and the latter was spun around. Verstappen ran out of space and hit the side-pod of Raikkonen. The damage to the cars of the three drivers was repairable and they all continued.

Away from the incident Nico Hulkenberg worked his way up to second place after overtaking Ricciardo but Rosberg was already storming away. More incidents took place. Firstly Carlos Sainz picked up a dramatic puncture when he ran onto a piece of debris on the straight between Radillion and Les Combes. Secondly Manor’s German prodigy Pascal Wehrlein ended both his and Jenson Button’s race when he ploughed into the back of Button’s Mclaren on the exit of Les Combes. This brought out the VSC.

Soon after the VSC was retracted the Safety Car was deployed following Kevin Magnussen’s huge accident. The Dane lost control of his Renault on the exit of Radillion and he smashed into the barriers on the right hand side at high speed. Many pitted. Rosberg, Ricciardo, Hamilton and Alonso didn’t pit. Alonso was catapulted to P4 with Hamilton P5. This choice proved to be a good one as a red flag was shown after a few laps under the safety car due to the barrier having to be repaired. The aforementioned four drivers could change their tyres in the pitlane during the stoppage rendering everyone else’s stops as useless.

When the race got back underway Hamilton made light work of Alonso and Hulkenberg while Verstappen caused even more controversy with his attitude to defending his position when he made contact with Raikkonen and forced him to skip Les Combes and on the next lap swerved aggressively to defend from the Finn going into Les Combes. Verstappen would also go onto cause similar controversy with an aggressive move on Perez. Hamilton made his first stop and switched onto the soft compound while the other leaders would follow him into the pitlane but most opted for the harder compound.

The race really fizzed out from here on. Vettel, Raikkonen and Verstappen charged up the field with the three ending up sixth, ninth and eleventh respectively. Alonso who was fourth at one stage fell down the order pretty rapidly as the long straights mixed with the Mclaren-Honda engine didn’t do him and his any favours, he eventually finished seventh. Hamilton was the only driver to change his tyres for a third time. He came out of this stop in fourth but quickly disposed of Hulkenberg for third which was where he ended up.

In the end the race belonged to Nico Rosberg who was unfazed throughout and drove a flawless race in the Mercedes and comes away knowing that the gap to Hamilton is now down to 9 points. He was followed by Ricciardo who took second and ran with it, never coming under any pressure. Hamilton picked up third with luck really assisting both him and fellow back row starter Alonso to the top.

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