2017 Belgium Thoughts
THE BIG PICTURE: And now the momentum slides towards Hamilton. And though it will probably be the same through Monza, this momentum will continue to ride the see-saw.
TRACK: We expected more passing with the new regulations, but it's always a pleasure to watch a race at Spa.
EVENT: What an amazing crowd ... on Friday. That day alone outdid just about every flyaway event on race day.
QUALIFYING: Hamilton improves on every lap for complete control, Vettel pulls a flier on the last lap to leap to second, McLaren regressed, and Williams were miserable.
START: A good, clean, exciting start, the Force India's touch (oh, boy!), otherwise amongst all the excitement everyone essentially slots into their starting position.
RACE: A race of wills as the lead duo were hardly ever more than two seconds apart. Hamilton could not make a mistake while Vettel always had to keep the leader in site. Then, there's the Force India race of wills...
HAMILTON: The summer break did him good.
BOTTAS: Not even close to matching his teammate.
VETTEL: Will probably have to wait till Singapore.
RAIKKONEN: Not even close to matching his teammate. But what a pass on Bottas.
RICCIARDO: The 2017 master of opportunistic podium finishes.
VERSTAPPEN: Time for an exorcism.
HULKENBERG: The mainstay for Renault.
PALMER: Not the mainstay for Renault.
GROSJEAN: Nice rebound for Haas.
MAGNUSSEN: How many drivers have done dumb-ass mistakes on a restart? F1 teams really need to hire Indy car drivers as restart coaches.
MASSA: Somehow, Felipe salvaged the weekend for Williams.
WILLIAMS: Their second half development has just been dreadful.
PEREZ: You are not going to get the Ferrari drive, and not because Kimi signed on for another year. Because you are proving yourself to be a lousy teammate. And Ferrari will not at all put up with that. Not at all.
OCON: Esteban isn't exactly all innocent either.
FORCE INDIA: It's all about constructor points for this underfunded team. Having teammates who don't get along just won't do.
WEHRLEIN: We would predict Pascal at Force India next year, replacing Perez, with Mercedes making up for the lost Mexican sponsorship. But are two young Mercedes development drivers on the same team any better than the Perez-Ocon toxicity?
SAINZ: Gets a point for Toro Rosso.
KVYAT: Doesn't get any points for Toro Rosso.
HONDA: Honda makes huge steps ... showing off their lack of power.
ALONSO: Let's face it, Fernando abandoned the race on his own. His options are running out for 2018. McLaren (most likely), Renault (possibly), Williams (doubtful), or leave F1 altogether to run Indy car (for a lot less money).
VANDOORNE: What is the use of a 65-spot grid penalty? We would love to see a team setup a driver for a 100+ grid penalty. Just because it would be a hilarious statement to the FIA.
WORD OF THE WEEKEND: Teammates.
STAT OF THE WEEKEND: 50 -- The 50th time Spa hosted the Belgian Grand Prix.
HISTORICAL STAT OF THE WEEKEND: Fifty is also the anniversary in which Dan Gurney won at Spa in an Eagle-Weslake, the only All-American victory in F1. The only other All American win in grand prix racing came in 1921 when Jimmy Murphy won the French GP at Le Mans in a Duesenberg. However, Gurney's achievement also included a car he designed and built himself.
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND: Max Verstappen on his sixth DNF in 12 races, "I'm actually competing against Fernando [Alonso] in terms of retirements."
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND RUNNERUP: Although we believe the Safety Car call was the correct one because of all the potential tire puncturing debris leading into Eau Rouge, we still got a kick out of Lewis Hamilton's description, "I felt it was a bit like NASCAR, where they keep pulling out the Safety Cars for no reason."
SCHEDULE: Can the tifosi will Vettel to a win on a track more suitable to Mercedes power?
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