Spa “Bla Bla Bla”
Before jumping on the negativity train… how beautiful is the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps.
As a newbie I’m really not familiar with F1 tracks unlike most people, but I’ve always heard that Spa is one of the best. It was definitely a fitting setting for the sentimental mood of the Belgian Grand Prix as Pierre Gasly (along with most of the country) made a big tribute to his best friend Anthoine Hubert before the race. Anthoine tragically passed away aged just 22 years old at this track during an F2 race last year, which was featured on the Netflix series ‘Drive to Survive’. I was completely horrified when I watched that episode and can’t begin to imagine how much this affected Gasly, so my thoughts were with him.
Now onto the brutally honest part which might upset a few F1 fans; the race was boring. Even the highlights were boring. If you remove yourself from the depths of F1 twitter and the constant cycle of rumour and gossip… if you just focus on the race… not a lot really happened. The two notable things for me were Ricciardo finishing 4th and the incident involving Russell and Giovinazzi which caused the safety car to come out (for the 6th consecutive year at Spa). I don’t quite understand why race control didn’t choose a red flag rather than a yellow. There was a lot of debris on the track and it was stupid to me that the drivers had to trundle through it all hoping not to damage their tyres.
And how amazing was it to see Ricciardo up in 4th! He put in a blinding qualifying performance and then despite dropping down to 6th during the race, he climbed back up to his original position and stayed there. He was later joined by his team mate Esteban Ocon who overtook Albon (poor Albon) on the final lap, meaning that Renault finished in 4th and 5th. Something which I definitely wouldn’t have predicted and I really was so happy to see Ricciardo at the top of the grid, because from the moment I saw his interviews and his persona he became my favourite driver. It’s tough supporting a driver who doesn’t do as well as you’d like them to because you just want the best for them, but what an absolute legend he is.
I’m not going to go into the whole “Ferrari aren’t performing” conversation again because it’s the same story, different race. Neither of the drivers made it into the top 10 but poor Carlos Sainz didn’t even get to start because of exhaust failure. I’m sure his hope is slowly fading for next year as he watches his future team under-perform. Will he regret moving to Ferrari next year?
At this point in the season I’m not even sure it’s worth mentioning who won the race because we know it will be Hamilton closely followed by Bottas, but I will quickly touch on the topic of team orders. Bottas was venting his frustration on his team radio when he was told not to race Hamilton. I understand that Mercedes probably want Hamilton to win so that they can gather some more records and he can continue his winning streak, but is it really worth downplaying your other star driver for? What harm can it honestly do to let Bottas have a fair chance of 1st place. This is where F1 takes away from traditional racing and takes away the fun of it all because everything comes down to strategy/politics.
During lap 35 Bottas also let his team know that he had numbness in his leg, which the commentators suggested would be caused by the stiffness of an F1 brake pedal. After recently trying a race sim I am astonished at the pressure needed for the brake pedal and am amazed they can maintain that kind of strain for 44 laps. These are things we just don’t appreciate as viewers.
Let’s see if the next race will be a spicy one so that we can appreciate the F1 again instead of falling asleep.
- Sophie Middleton @MotorsportSoph