Martin Brundle: Max Verstappen enjoys Spa day as Fernando Alonso does ‘unfair’ Lewis Hamilton jibe
You just never know with live sports. The starting line-up for the Belgian GP at Spa promised to be an absolute horror race but it ended up being pretty ordinary, albeit with a great return from Max Verstappen.
The other day, the smart insiders told us on race morning, ‘not sure what you’re going to say in the commentary because we did 5000 simulations last night and nothing happened. ‘. And then we have a barnstormer of a race.
It’s not Verstappen’s fault that he finds himself in such top form, and so in one hand holding his Red Bull car, to be honest, you can feel that he has could have sat in the garage reading his bank statement when the race started, and still won it.
After eight of the 20 cars suffered various electrical and transmission grid penalties, then Pierre Gasly had an electrical problem and also started from the pitlane, Verstappen started in 13th place along with his opponent. Former champion Charles Leclerc. No more than a quarter of the distance, he is leading the race due to no difficulty in the opening tours, and taking out his victims lap by lap.
Carlos Sainz, who started on the pole and drove great in a run without incident would finish in third for Ferrari but be half a minute behind. Front row starter Sergio Perez, in Red Bull’s sister, is 18 seconds behind Max, who is also flying relatively late.
Of course, we’ll soon have some people whining that one driver is dominating, as we did with Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton, among others, instead of them appreciating the level of excellence that Red Bull and Max are delivering.
I hope it has been tracked specifically and that Ferrari and Mercedes will be closer in the next few races. Ferrari had to harden their suspension in order for their aero to work around the Spa, and not let the bottom floor hit the ground during high-speed compression at the foot of the Eau Rouge, which made driving difficult. difficult, especially over bumpy roads. and the inside corner of the curb.
Alonso made ‘error of judgment’ with Hamilton comment
Mercedes couldn’t pop their tires in qualifying but would certainly be better in a warm dry race. Lewis Hamilton didn’t get a chance to find out because of a rare error in Les Combes’ dangerous situation when he simply pinched Fernando Alonso’s side while trying to go around the outside and fly over. space.
Lewis said he couldn’t see Fernando in his blind spot but to be honest he was bound to be somewhere and the Spaniard did his best to stay inside and give space . Lewis saw the footage and immediately raised his hand and took full responsibility.
Fernando’s radio comments, though fueled by anger and adrenaline, about Lewis being able to win only from the front are, in my opinion, completely inaccurate and untrue. equal. Lewis is one of the fairest and cleanest drivers in F1 history, he doesn’t need to resort to too many professional errors with his relentless pace, and just takes you back to Brazil last year to remember. how he was able to cross the field. Twice.
That error of judgment would get Lewis’ attention…
The fate of the Mercedes afternoon was now in the talented hands of George Russell, who drove beautifully and threatened to rob the podium from Sainz and Ferrari. Fourth place will be his reward, a few seconds off that podium in a car that doesn’t seem to want to take part in the Spa spin, and also pretty steady down the straight.
Ferrari-Leclerc blatant ‘painful to watch’
Charles Leclerc has another race to forget, sadly. A fender ripped open in his brake hose, believed to have been potentially removed by Max Verstappen, forcing him to duck under the deployed safety car as Hamilton’s Mercedes roared enough after the airborne operations and Nichola Latifi forced Valtteri Bottas into a gravel trap.
These sunshades require controls and at least the driver’s name on each visor. The onboard cameras, like the Speedway racers, have a roll of plastic slide film to restore visibility from oil, insects, spray and mud, etc., although this might be too heavy for cap F1.
Somewhere in my memory bank, these used to have to be pocketed or kept with Velcro inside the cockpit, because it’s not fair to remove them and ruin someone else’s race.
Leclerc was now out of sync with the race but was still plenty for fifth despite struggling with the tyres. The team then (presumably) decided to get to the point where the fastest lap left him behind Alonso and needed to pass, and he missed out on beating Verstappen’s fastest lap by six tenths of a second. , and attracted a lane speed violation that sent him down to sixth place. It was painful to watch.
Ferrari insists they don’t need to change anything on pit wall calls but if you keep doing the same thing don’t be surprised you get the same results. Fully respecting the fact that we only hear selected radio calls on TV, but the Ferrari team seems to want Leclerc to make the final decision on tires as he does not have all the data as he is quite busy. Driver.
He can’t make a final call on hard synthetic tires without knowing who’s using them, if anyone is, and how they’re performing. Leclerc is currently third in the championship and 98 points behind, with eight races remaining. All things being equal, I think we all know where this championship is going.
The Alpine team had a very strong day with the aggressive Alonso in fifth and Ocon in seventh. It is McLaren’s fourth pointless race of the season as they also enter the battle for the services of Oscar Piastri in 2023 as I write this. The midsize driver market has been pretty wild since Sebastian Vettel announced his retirement, who happened to have a very solid race for Aston Martin on Sunday.
Alex Albon continues to impress Williams, which is amazing.
And to introduce it all, the Magnificent Spa is back on the calendar for 2023, but whether that’s a new lease of life or a stay-in period, we’ll have to wait and see.