After the excitement and tension of the Hungarian Grand Prix, which really showed fans that F1 is still at the top of its game, Spa had a lot to live up to.
Following the summer break anticipation was high for the Belgian Grand Prix and with its own microclimate it was set to be unpredictable.
Qualifying took its usual turn with the Mercedes cars on tops, Lewis Hamilton once more pipping team-mate Nico Rosberg to pole position. The surprise of the Saturday came from Ferrari as Kimi Raikkonen suffered yet another car failure, exiting in Q2, Sebastian Vettel only able to make P9 in the final session.
McLaren were hit with an incredible 105 place grid penalty, a combined effort from both Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso due to the array of changes made to their Honda engine. Luckily for them it only meant the back of the grid, the penalties only sticking for one race weekend.
— McLaren (@McLarenF1) August 20, 2015
As race day loomed Force India’s Sergio Perez had a great start, moving into second from fourth but his team-mate Nico Hulkenberg didn’t even manage to make it to the beginning of the race after power issues.
Hamilton managed to hold onto his lead going into the first corner but Rosberg dropped down into fifth whilst Alonso made a strong advance into 12th. New starting rules were brought to Spa meaning that once the drivers had left the pit lane communication with the team regarding their start was no longer possible. It seems this change didn’t quite work for everyone.
Pastor Maldonado slid to the back of the pack in his Lotus before retiring relatively quickly after engine failure. Raikkonen also had a pretty poor start.
— Lotus F1 Team (@Lotus_F1Team) August 24, 2015
There were some early pit stops from some drivers and Button even announced on the radio that he believed someone had “forgotten to connect the batteries” as his McLaren Honda struggled in 15th.
Max Verstappen continued to prove himself as a budding world champion with a fantastic sweep around the outside of Sauber’s Felipe Nasr, edging his Toro Rosso into 11th.
Some fun and games came from Williams as Valtteri Bottas left the pits with different compounds on the front and rear tyres, leading to a drive-through penalty, although once taken he still remained on the mixed set. It wasn’t a happy weekend for the Finn with rumours of his imminent move to Ferrari finally being quashed after a statement revealed that the Italian team are keeping on Raikkonen for the 2016 season.
We will look into how the mix up happened after the race, for now just focusing on scoring as many points as possible from here #BelgianGP
— WILLIAMS RACING (@WilliamsRacing) August 23, 2015
For Red Bull it was a mixed weekend after a double Hungarian podium last time out. Around halfway through the race Daniel Ricciardo pulled his car over with engine failure. It was a more promising race for Daniil Kvyat who finished in fourth after some strong overtaking.
As Carlos Sainz floundered towards the back of the grid Toro Rosso ended his race early, pinning their hopes on his team-mate Verstappen who finished in 8th.
— Scuderia Ferrari (@ScuderiaFerrari) August 23, 2015
After Lotus’ weekend of trouble following a bailiff call and Maldonado’s retirement Romain Grosjean was told to take on Vettel for third position. As the Frenchman gained on the German the Ferrari’s decision to not pit the car really cost them as Vettel’s right rear failed, leaving him down in 12th as the race came to an end.
Unsurprisingly Hamilton took the win with Rosberg in second and Grosjean rounding off the podium. Kvyat, Perez, Williams’ Felipe Massa, Raikkonen, Vertsappen, Bottas and Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson rounded out the top ten with Alonso and Button finishing ahead of the Marussia’s of Roberto Mehri and Will Stevens.
— MERCEDES AMG F1 (@MercedesAMGF1) August 23, 2015
As always Spa showed F1 fans around the globe just how great a race it can be and the entertainment that the track can provide. Although up front there is still a feeling of the same old thing each race younger drivers Kvyat and Verstappen are really stepping up to the mark.
Hamilton now leads the championship over Rosberg by 28 points. Formula 1 takes to Monza for the next race on 6 September where in 2014 Hamilton took the crown over Rosberg. The same again looks likely.
What did you think of the Belgian Grand Prix? Leave your comments below.