Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

sunnuntai 27. elokuuta 2017

Belgian GP: Flawless Hamilton took 58th career victory!

It was cloudy but dry, when the lights went out at Spa Francorchamps. In terms of the top three teams, there was no drama at the start. Hamilton held on to his lead, with Sebastian right at his tail. Bottas was third and Kimi fourth, followed by the Red Bull duo of Verstappen and Ricciardo. Sebastian was determined to challenge the British Mercedes pilot on the Kemmel straight, but there was no opportunity to make a move. Further down the pack there were sparks flying between the Force India teammates. They ended up hitting each other on the opening lap, but luckily there was no damage to either one of the pink cars. On lap 2 McLaren´s Alonso had made it P7 already, but due to the lack of the straight line speed, the Spaniard quickly started to lose positions.

Lap 8 was a disappointing turning point in terms of Max Verstappen´s race. Once again the flying Dutchman was hit with a technical failure, and his car came to a sudden halt on the finish straight! It must have been a devastating moment for Max, who was driving in front of his home crowd with high hopes. This was already the 6th DNF for the unlucky Dutchman! I felt absolutely gutted for him.

Hamilton started the pit stop roulette in terms of the top drivers on lap 12. He opted for a fresh set of yellow-marked soft tyres -aiming to go till the end. He re-joined the track in P4. A lap later Kimi in P3 was taken into investigation by the stewards for failing to slow down under the yellow flags, when Verstappen´s car stopped on the track. Similar to his teammate, Bottas pitted for a fresh set of soft tyres. Against all odds, Sebastian wasn´t able to pull a gap to Hamilton, in spite of running the ultrasoft tyres. When Sebastian pitted on lap 14 -also for soft Pirellis- he had no chance to re-join the track ahead of Hamilton. Kimi pitted for a similar tyre choice to his teammate´s. The Iceman re-joined the track in P4.

But then it came -the 10-second stop-and-go penalty for Kimi for not slowing down under the yellow flags on lap 8! This was a very unpleasant turn in terms of the Finn´s race. The Iceman had no choice but to come in and serve his penalty. This dropped the Iceman down to P7. However, Kimi was determined to make his way up. He made a clean overtaking move on Force India´s Ocon and after that there was Renault´s Hulkenberg in the Finn´s radar. The German was five seconds ahead of Kimi, but Kimi began his chase.

By lap 25 Kimi had closed the gap to Hulkenberg. He made his move on the Kemmel straight and moved ahead of Hulkenberg. Kimi was now fifth in the race. However, P4 seemed to be out of the Iceman´s reach, as Ricciardo was already 28 seconds ahead of the Finn, and there were only 16 laps to go.

Then something unexpected happened. Once again there were sparks flying from the pink cars! Coming to the legendary Eau Rouge, Ocon had made it alongside teammate Perez, but Perez left absolutely no room for his teammate. Ocon´s front wing hit Perez´s rear-right tyre, causing a front wing failure to Ocon and puncture for Perez. The situation looked quite dangerous, as they were driving 300 km/h! Due to the collision there was a lot of debris on the track, and safety car was deployed. Both pinks made it into the pits, and they were able to continue the race. Kimi, too pitted for a fresh set of ultrasoft tyres. Other top drivers pitted for fresh tyres a well. Sebastian and Ricciardo opted for the ultrasoft Pirellis, whereas the Mercedes teammates opted for a fresh set of soft tyres.

The re-start on lap 34 was a catastrophic moment for Bottas, who was driving in P3. Ricciardo took an aggressive re-start and made it past the Finn on the Kemmel straight. Kimi saw his chance at the same time, and the Iceman, too made a move on his countryman! Bottas ended up going wide and in a very short moment the Mercedes ace had dropped from P3 down to P5.

The final 10 laps were extremely exciting, as Sebastian was just barely out of  DRS distance from Hamilton. Sebastian put all the pressure he could on Hamilton and waited for his chance to make an overtaking move. The battle for victory was down to these two, as Ricciardo and Kimi turned out unable to match their rivals´ pace. I could almost feel Sebastian´s determination, but getting within DRS distance was very difficult. Hamilton drove a flawless race, claiming his 58th victory. Sebastian fought like a lion, but he had to settle for P2 today. Ricciardo completed the podium. Kimi finished fourth, followed by his compatriot Bottas. Kimi drove a strong race; I can´t help thinking about the 10-second stop-and-go penalty. Without the penalty the Iceman would have been on the podium!

By winning the Belgian GP, Hamilton decreased Sebastian´s lead in the championship standings to seven points only. The battle for the championship is definitely getting heated! In terms of the constructors´ championship, Mercedes now has a 44-point lead in the standings, which is a bit worrying. Luckily round 13 is just round the corner, which is next weekend already! I love these back-to-back races! Formula 1 is definitely the spice of my life!

Ei kommentteja:

Lähetä kommentti