Lewis Hamilton took his 89th career victory yesterday at the 65th Belgian Grand Prix, his fourth at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps and fifth of the 2020 season. Teammate Valtteri Bottas finished just behind him in second, completing a 1-2 victory for the team, and in so doing, claiming his best result at the Belgian Grand Prix. The race also marks the 50th 1-2 finish for the Mercedes team in the since their return to Formula 1 in 2010.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen came third, maintaining his record of finishing on the podium at every race he has been classified in this season.
Renault enjoyed their best race of the year with Daniel Ricciardo finishing under four seconds behind Verstappen in fourth, with teammate Esteban Ocon overtaking the Red Bull of Alex Albon on the final lap to take a well-earned fifth. Albon just managed to hold onto sixth place ahead of a charging Lando Norris in his McLaren.
Pierre Gasly drove well to take eighth in his AlphaTauri, with the final points going to the two Racing Point cars of Lance Stroll and Sergio Perez.
Meanwhile Ferrari had a disappointing Belgian Grand Prix with both drivers finishing outside the points, Sebastian Vettel in 13th and Charles Leclerc 14th. Although in reverse order, the two Ferraris finished where they started, reinforcing the difficulties that beset the Maranello team in Belgium.
Sebastian Vettel summed things up by saying: “It was not an easy race. We finished in the same place in which we started. We tried everything with both cars, but we were just too slow. I hope the situation on this circuit doesn’t repeat itself. I think this track maybe exposed our weaknesses a bit more than others.
“I believe we can do a bit better next week. We must work to make sure that we take everything we can from this weekend, learn all there is to learn and go forward.”
Carlos Sainz was unable to start the race start after a power unit led to an exhaust issue on his McLaren and then a Safety Car on lap 11 following a big crash for Antonio Giovinazzi in his Alfa Romeo, with Williams’ George Russell just behind hitting Giovinazzi’s wheel, forced both drivers out of the race.
The Haas F1 Team had a disappointing Belgian Grand Prix with Romain Grosjean finishing 15th and Kevin Magnussen 17th. Team Principal Guenther Steiner said after the race: “I don’t have a lot to say today. It was obviously a disappointing result but not unexpected. This is where we are right now. The only way forward is to get better.”
So, the top ten finishers at the Belgian Grand Prix are Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen on the podium with Daniel Ricciardo and Esteban Ocon performing well for Renault in fourth and fifth respectively. Alexander Albon came home sixth in the second Red Bull with Lando Norris seventh for McLaren and Pierre Gasly getting another good result for AlphaTauri and then Lance Stroll and Sergio Perez picking up the final points for the Racing Point team.
Lewis Hamilton now leads the Drivers’ Championship by 47 points with 157 points from Max Verstappen on 110 points and Valtteri Bottas just behind on 107 points. Hamilton’s fourth Belgian Grand Prix win sees him draw equal with Jim Clark and Kimi Raikkonen on third in the all-time list for Spa victories, just behind Michael Schumacher and Ayrton Senna.
The Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team continue to extend their lead in the Constructors’ Championship on 264 points, with Red Bull second on 158 points.
Hamilton said after the race: “Spa is such a special circuit; I could just drive around here for lap after lap. It’s not always been an easy one for me, so to come here and get pole and the win this weekend is fantastic. The first lap can be a nightmare, because of the huge tow down the big straight, but I managed to keep Valtteri behind me on lap one and from there I had a strong race. Of course, I’d love to be able to win every race wheel to wheel, but today was a different kind of race, it was all about managing the tyres and the gap to the cars behind. I was slightly nervous at the end that we might see a repeat of the tyre issue we had in Silverstone, but thankfully it held in there. Huge credit to the team, both here and back home in Brackley and Brixworth. No matter how much success we’ve had over the years, everyone just keeps their heads down and focuses on trying to improve. It’s an incredible mentality to have and it’s inspiring to be working in that kind of environment.”
Monza is the venue for Round 8 of the World Championship and the Italian Grand Prix at Autodromo Nazionale Monza next Sunday 6th September.
Simon Burrell is Editor of Our Man Behind The Wheel, a member of The Guild of Motoring Writers, professional photographer and former saloon car racing driver.
Photographs courtesy of Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team, McLaren and Haas F1 Team