Hamilton rises from the Back – Belgian GP 2016

There was some excitement collisions and a red flag at the start of this year’s Belgian Grand Prix but in the end, the race was quite even.

The Top-10:

  1. Nico Rosberg – For the first time in a while, Rosberg enjoyed a flawless race and was able to catch up to his team-mate.
  2. Daniel Ricciardo – This is Danny’s third podium in a row. The Australian inches closer and closer towards the championship lead, though unfortunately, it’s probably going to take a few retirements from the Mercedes camp for this to happen (which seem unlikely thanks to their strategizing of the penalty system).
  3. Lewis Hamilton – Despite one flubbed pit-stop, Hamilton rose from second-to-last to the podium with almost no effort. Lewis may had been momentarily down but he’s anything but out.

Force India experienced easily their best combined finish for this season. Okay, so Perez has been on the podium more than once, but having both drivers in the Top-5 is a definite rarity. In fact, this is only the second time in the team’s history they’ve pulled it off. Nico the Hülk pulled the longer straw at 4th with Perez finishing a respectable 5th.

Conversely, Ferrari had all the rotten luck in the world this race, so it’s a small miracle that both of their drivers even finished on points. Räikkönen wound up in a squeeze between his team-mate and Max Verstappen which caused a lot of damage to all parties involved. Vettel took a massive spin and lots of damage but still managed to battle his way up to 6th. Räikkönen also suffered a flubbed pit-stop at one point but still just barely managed to take 9th place.

Fernando Alonso can also pat himself on the back, starting from dead last and finishing 7th shows that McLaren are finally starting to come back up.

Conversely, Williams continued on their trend of decisively mediocre results. Valtteri Bottas at least battled somewhat well for his 8th place with team-mate Massa close behind at 10th. Still, this was a definite embarrassment for the team, who have now been dropped to fifth place in the Constructors’ Championship behind Force India.

Golden Pineapple Award: Max Verstappen, Red Bull

Verstappen’s very first pineapple finish of the season and it came after a positively embarrassing result. Max stupidly wrecked his own race as well as that of both Ferraris by rushing to the in-lane of the first corner. Later still, he kept weaving dangerously in front of Verstappen. I’m not saying Max has it in for the Iceman, but his battle against Vettel was considerably less weavy. For the first time in quite a few races Max has shown both poor judgement and poor sportsmanship. But I really don’t want to talk down to him too badly, so let’s just hope Max can get his head back in the game for the next race…

Drop-out count: 5

It seems both Jenson Button and Pascal Wehrlein were part of a collision I missed entirely and were taken out during the very early part of the race. Marcus Ericsson‘s Sauber, which started from the pits, had gear-box trouble and thus he pulled out.

Carlos Sainz had one of the most awfully hilarious accidents when his rear, right tyre blew up. The fabric shreds wrapped around his rear-wing and pulled it almost completely off, forcing him to retire.

Kevin Magnussen‘s accident on Lap 6 by comparison was just plain awful. Magnussen spun out at full speed at Eau Rouge and hit the tyre barrier on Lap 6. The race was red-flagged at lap 10 and restarted behind the safety car. Magnussen took a huge impact but luckily walked away without any seemingly severe injury (just a slight limp). Provided Kevin didn’t suffer any head injuries, he should be fine to race in Monza this following weekend. Bliv rask snart, Kevin!

Back of the Lot News:

Haas had another disappointing day, especially considering that their drivers were in the Top-10 after the opening laps’ madness. Esteban Gutierrez and Romain Grosjean finished back-to-back as 12th and 13th.

Daniil Kvyat experienced another invisible race at Toro Rosso, finishing 14th. The same goes for Jolyon Palmer’s Renault at 15th.

The only really positive thing about the Back-lot this time is that Esteban Ocon, the new Manor driver, seems to be on-pace with his team-mate, managing an okay result in the qualifying and beating out one Sauber by the end. Good job, Esteban.

Dead Last: Felipe NasrNasr has now banked Sauber’s first, but I fear not their last, Dead Last spot. Sauber had a lousy weekend and despite rumours about improvements being made to their car in future races, I’m not holding by breath for the team to score points this season.