2016 Belgian Grand Prix: Race Report

Posted by Niharika Ghorpade at 08:40 am on Monday August 29, 2016

Nico Rosberg took his first win at the legendary Spa-Francorchamps circuit, sixth win of the season and the 28th of his career in a drama filled Grand Prix. He was followed by Daniel Ricciardo in second and Lewis Hamilton in third. The podium had an Aussie moment with Ricciardo making podium interviewer Mark Webber do a ‘shoey’, which is drinking champagne from his racing shoe.

Overall it was an anti-climatic result after an action packed race, the standard two silver arrows and one red bull. When Lewis finishes third after starting at the back of the grid, it’s that moment when the paddock wakes up from summer slumber and realises how dominating Mercedes can be and how lucky Lewis can get.

When the lights went out, Rosberg had a good start but Max Verstappen who started at P2 lost his position to the two Ferrari’s of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen. Funnelling into the first corner at La Source, the young Dutchman tried to be aggressive on the inside, but that pinched the two Ferraris who were taking the corner from the outside. The result of the incident was Kimi getting sandwiched between Sebastian and Max. Sebastian hit Kimi from the outside and pushed him into Max who was attacking aggressively from the inside.

The contact resulted in Sebastian spinning off and left Kimi with a punctured front tyre as well as a damaged nose. Max clipped the left front of his wing and dragged it under the car destroying the entire floor. All three drivers had to pit immediately, and brought out the first Virtual Safety Car period. In retrospect, it was a racing incident with three cars trying to funnel into one corner with no place to go.

Further down the grid there were more first lap casualties, when Pascal Wehrlein drove into the rear of Jenson Button’s car, retiring both immediately. Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson who had started from the pit lane retired on the second lap, when his car suffered a gearbox problem. At lap 4, Carlos Sainz suffered a right rear puncture and became the fourth retirement in four laps.

At lap 6, Kevin Magnussen who was running eighth, had a violent high-speed crash at the Eau Rouge. Replays show the Dane lost his rear while attacking the kerbs at Eau Rouge, which sent the car spinning until it crashed into the tyre wall. The impact caused severe damage to his Renault and sent the headrest flying off. Magnussen walked out of the car fully conscious but sustained a cut on his left ankle.

A result of the lap 6 crash was the safety car period, which lasted till lap 9. Many drivers pit under the SC period, and the biggest gainers were the two World Champions Fernando Alonso and Lewis who had started at the back of the grid and managed climbing up to 4th and 5th by then.

The race was red-flagged after Lap 8 due to the damaged guard rails as a result of Magnussen’s crash, and had to be restarted once the repairs were made. Most drivers gained a pit stop advantage and changed tyres while Kimi, Vettel and Max’s cars were being repaired.

When the race re-started it was an easy run for Rosberg who was closely followed by Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg. Hulkenberg got overtaken later along with Alonso by a charging Lewis towards the closing laps of the race, and finished fourth. Alonso had to settle for seventh place after being passed by Sergio Perez and Sebastian Vettel. Sergio finished fifth behind his team-mate while Sebastian had to fight back to sixth after the first corner incident.

Alonso gained from the chaos but drove well to keep the Williams drivers at bay. While on the other hand Sebastian had to fight his way after several duels with a feisty Max who was pointlessly trying to hold him off with a damaged car and old tyres. Duelling with the 18yr old cost the German time, after which he had to overtake several other drivers to make it back to sixth.

Williams’ driver Valtteri Bottas finished eighth while Felipe Massa finished tenth. The two Williams were spilt by Kimi who grabbed ninth place on the penultimate lap. Kimi’s way back into the points was a persistent effort against a relentless Max who made some controversial moves to defend his position, when they were running 15th and 14th respectively.

The young Dutch whose fans had thronged the grandstands, had nothing to gain by the end of the day and finished outside the points in 11th place. Following him were the Haas drivers’ Esteban Gutierrez and Romain Grosjean in 12th and 13th place respectively. Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat finished 14th ahead of Lotus’ Jolyon Palmer who finished 15th. Manor’s debutant Esteban Ocon finished 16th ahead of Sauber’s Felipe Nasr in 17th place.

After the chaos filled race, the Drivers’ standings has Lewis still in the lead with 232 points, followed by Rosberg who has made a gain of 10 points with the current win and has a total of 223 points. Ricciardo is in third place with a total of 151 points, followed by Sebastian who has a total of 128 points in fourth. Trailing behind his team-mate by four points, is Kimi with a total of 124 points in fifth place.

In the Constructor’s there have been two changes, one where Red Bull Racing has moved up to second place ahead of Ferrari, and Force India has climbed up to fourth place ahead of Williams. Currently, the points tally has Mercedes leading with 455 points, followed by Red Bull with a total of 274. Ferrari has a total of 252 points followed by Force India with a total of 103 points. Williams follows in fifth place with a total of 101 points.

With similar warm weather forecast for the Italian GP next weekend, whether Ferrari gain on home ground or Mercedes dominate or the Red Bulls manage splitting the two again, remains to be seen. Often nicknamed the ‘Temple of Speed’, the Monza circuit has delivered some high-octane race drama over the years. Europe’s last race weekend of the calendar on the Italian turf has been scheduled to span from September 2-4, 2016.

TAGS// f1, formula one, lewis hamilton, racing, nico rosberg, f1 2016, motorsports, spa francorchamps, mercedes amg f1

0 Responses to "2016 Belgian Grand Prix: Race Report"

        No comments

Post a comment

Login Register