Formula Racing

Belgian GP Race

A Bird’s eye aerial view shot from the covering helicopter sets the tone for this year’s edition of one of the most anticipated and the most exciting GPs. Situated in the woodlands and sitting prettily on top of the hilly terrain, racing is at its best.

The qualifying session of Saturday saw Jenson Button take his first pole position since joining McLarens back in 2009. A strong start from Jenson saw him maintain this position from the start to finish but most of the action happened behind his rear wheels throughout the course of the high drama and high action race. The GP race was a stark opposite for Kamui Kobayashi in his Sauber-Ferrari as opposed to the qualifying session where he managed a 2nd position on the racing grid, as smoke started to rise from his front brakes and wheels after the warm-up lap. 3 pit-stops and a couple of hours later, he managed to finally finish the race albeit in the 13th place. Equally tragic was the fate of Pastor Maldonado’s Williams-Renault car which started at the 6th position on the grid and could not take part in the race beyond the 5th lap after damaging the front wing. To add to the misery, there will be inspection about his false start to the race as his car seemed to have made a move towards the left just before the red lights went off.

However, the most dramatic moment came just after the start of the race with Romain Grosjean in his Lotus-Renault, in his ode to overtake Lewis Hamilton’s McLarens crashed into the side of his car, thereby losing control that led him to crash into Sergio Perez and more importantly the current Championship leader Fernando Alonso. This moment of madness saw the four drivers retire from the race at the very first turn itself. Hamilton who was furious after the incident had a few words to exchange with Grosjean as the stewards tried to calm both the drivers down. Grosjean seemed to be the main culprit in the fiasco as the pressure of performing at the biggest stage of car racing seemed to have got on the nerves of the young rookie who also had his moment of madness in Monaco. The collision forced the safety car to be deployed as a lot of debris fell on the track, and the car was in action for the first 4 laps of the race.

Even though the start was marred by the collision, the two Sahara Force India cars had a great start to the race and moved on rapidly to the 3rd and 4th positions just behind the race leader Button and Kimi Raikkonen. Also, having a great start was the legendary Michael Schumacher who, playing in his 300th GP race, rose from the 13th position to the 5th position amongst all this chaos. Meanwhile his team mate in the other Mercedes, Nico Rosberg also had a very good start to his race as he came from the back of the grid in the 23rd position and managed to occupy the 13th slot within a few laps.

With a few laps into the race, Jenson Button seemed to be completely in control of the race as he set the then fastest lap and continued to take his lead further from the Lotus of Kimi and the two Force Indias. Even though Paul Di Resta started to lose his pace and slid behind the Red Bulls of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber and also behind Daniel Ricciardo in his Toro Rosso who implemented DRS to effective use, Nico Hulkenberg continued to race with supreme control and pace. The Sahara Force India of Di Resta was an early entrant into the pit lanes, just 11 laps into the race thereby suggesting that the Force India cars were to race on a 3-stop strategy. However, during the course of the race wherein the likes of Button, Schumacher, and Rosberg who were on a single stop strategy, the Force India race cars went ahead for a 2-stop strategy which proved to be a good implementation plan for the race.

Meanwhile during the middle segments of the race, Schumacher looked poised for a podium finish as he managed to overtake Raikonnen due to dual DRS in his Mercedes and also due to the poor straight line speed of Kimi’s Lotus. Felipe Massa who had struggled throughout the season had a good opportunity to make the most of this race and went into early pits as his car was running on hard compound tyres. A late pit stop for Kimi proved to be a real winner for him as he managed to get the fastest lap times as at one point in time, he was a full second faster than the race leader, Jenson Button. Even though his Lotus was struggling with straight line speeds, he made great use of the DRS to make up for its deficit and managed to cling on to his position till the end of the race.

Mark Webber who was fended off for a few laps by the Brazilian Bruno Senna by great defensive driving managed to overtake around the 20th lap, and soon Mark Webber managed to set the fastest lap of the race. His Team mate, Sebastian Vettel was having a brilliant run to as making the great use of DRS he managed to go past Rosberg, Senna and Massa. This would have meant more trouble for Fernando Alonso, who wouldn’t mind Button on the podium, but would be wary of the two RBRs who can be serious contenders for the Championship title this season.

With Button comfortably placed in the lead, Vettel had a great pit stop that helped him to take the 2nd position. Most of the action was taking place behind these two drivers, where the tiny battles were going on through the course of the race. Be it the 4 way battle between Raikkonen, Hulkenberg, Webber and Schumacher or be it a finish in the points tally for the 10th place between Ricciardo, Di Resta, Senna, Rosberg and Vergne. The battle was even on for the last position between De La Rosa, Kovalainen and Karthikeyan. Karthikeyan was having a decent race for his HRT as he was racing at the 16th position for most part of the GP, however his car skidded off the track in the 33rd lap and hit the safety barriers. Even Kovalainen had a bad race wherein his car spun twice during the race and almost hit the rear of a HRT in the pit lane, but managed to finish the race ahead of Pedro De La Rosa.

A look at the Championship standings has Sebastian Vettel just one victory behind Alonso (provided Alonso doesn’t fetch any points again), and also has Webber, Raikkonen and Hamilton to battle it out for the top spot. In the constructor’s championship, Red Bull Racing has consolidated its position for yet another title but it still has McLaren, Ferrari and Lotus in a formidable position to challenge them. With a good race Force India has gained 13 more points from the race and have risen up above Williams-Renault to the 7th position.

Known for the unexpected outcomes and high drama, the 2012 Belgian Grand Prix saw Jenson Button finish the race from pole to post in 1st position; it also saw the current Championship leader Alonso and one of the toughest contenders for the title in Hamilton crash out of the race; saw Bruno Senna set the fastest lap of the race; saw Hulkenberg climb up 9 slots to take the 4th position. No wonder this was one of the most exciting races of the marvelous season thus far and with the next race in Italy, the race will get all the more exciting.

Germany GP

31st July 2016

  • Driver Team Time/Lag
  • Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:30:44.200
  • Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing + 6.996s
  • Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing + 13.413s
  • Nico Rosberg Mercedes + 15.845s
  • Sebastian Vettel Ferrari + 32.750s
  • Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari + 37.273s
  • Nico Hulkenberg Force India + 70.049
  • Jenson Button McLaren + 1 lap
  • Valtteri Bottas Williams + 1 lap
  • Sergio Perez Force India + 1 lap

Belgian GP

26th - 28thAug 2016

  • Practice 1 Fri 26th Aug 2016

  • Practice 2 Fri 26th Aug 2016

  • Practice 3 Sat 27th Aug 2016

  • Qualifying Sat 27th Aug 2016

  • Race Sun 28th Aug 2016

standings

Formula One World Championship 2016

  • Driver Points Team
  • Lewis Hamilton 217 Mercedes
  • Nico Rosberg 198 Mercedes
  • Daniel Ricciardo 133 Red Bull Racing
  • Kimi Räikkönen 122 Ferrari
  • Sebastian Vettel 120 Ferrari
  • Max Verstappen 115 Red Bull Racing
  • Valtteri Bottas 58 Williams Mercedes
  • Sergio Perez 48 Force India Mercedes
  • Felipe Massa 38 Williams Mercedes
  • Nico Hulkenberg 33 Force India Mercedes