F1 – Belgian GP – Race
Spa-Francorchamps plays host to round 13 of the 2019 FIA F1 World Championship this weekend. Usually, one of the most highly-anticipated races of the season. However, there’s a real sombre mood in the paddock this weekend following events in the F2 race yesterday. Personally, I have never felt so disconnected and uninterested in an F1 race; I was just looking for everyone to come home safely.
As Charles Leclerc led the pack away, there were incidents behind with Max Verstappen tapping Kimi Raikkonen. The Finnish driver was lucky not to be flipped over, and Verstappen would retire a few corners later having hit the wall with steering damage. Daniel Ricciardo also got some air at the start of the race, but was able to continue.
Charles Leclerc had strong pace today, and thanks to Sebastian Vettel holding up Lewis Hamilton in the early stages, the Monegasque driver was able to hold off a late charge from the Brit to take his first victory in Formula One.
Lewis Hamilton did indeed come home 2nd ahead of Valtteri Bottas. Sebastian Vettel finished 4th ahead of Alexander Albon who secured his best finish in F1 (which is largely unsurprising given his promotion to Red Bull). The Thai driver performed very well today, including a brilliant pass around the outside of Daniel Ricciardo. He looked more comfortable in that one race than Pierre Gasly ever did in the same car.
Sergio Perez finished 6th with Daniil Kvyat, Nico Hulkenberg, Pierre Gasly and Lance Stroll completing the points. Both Racing Point and Toro Rosso will be happy to see their cars securing a double points finish.
It’s worth mentioning Antonio Giovinazzi and Lando Norris who were both running in the points on the final lap, but both failed to finish the race. Antonio Giovinazzi had a high speed spin and heavy impact into the barriers. Thankfully, the Italian driver was unhurt. Meanwhile, Lando Norris stopped on track with a suspected power unit problem.
So Charles Leclerc takes his first victory, surely the first of many. I’ll end this article with his words: “First victory in F1, this one is for Anthonie. Feels good, but difficult to enjoy on a weekend like this”.