2019 Belgium Thoughts
ANTHOINE HUBERT: Jessi Combs earlier in the week. Anthoine Hubert over the weekend. Reminders racing and the pursuit of speed is still very, very dangerous. Sometimes we get complacent. This past week jolted us back to that reality.
THE BIG PICTURE: Silly season hit a crescendo at the end of the summer break. Mercedes went with the safe choice. Renault went for the future. Hulkenberg is left hunting. Haas and Alfa Romeo may be doing some looking.
EVENT: Spa promoters keep raising the concern of the Dutch GP taking customers (i.e., Max fans) away. We don't believe it. For starters, it is only 3-1/2 hours from the Netherlands. And if the reports of a million applications for Dutch GP tickets are even remotely true, there will still be a heck of a lot fans not getting into their home grand prix, looking to go elsewhere. Lastly, Dutch fans are known to follow their heroes all over the place, not just one time.
TRACK: An old style track with old style dangers.
QUALIFYING: Ferrari finally lives up to their FP performance locking up the front row, but it's the youngster beating out the veteran, Mercedes and Hamilton pull off yeoman's work after the FP3 crash, Renault performs well, and then grid penalties galore shake up the whole lineup.
RACE: Another interesting race with a nail biting ending while the midfield had a slew of great wheel to wheel battles.
START: Leclerc thanks Hamilton for splitting the Ferraris, Hamilton tries but can't do anything about Vettel's slipstreaming, Raikkonen never saw Verstappen, Verstappen didn't notice his left front suspension was obviously broken right away, and causes a horde of Dutch fans crying in their orange beer.
LECLERC: A bittersweet victory.
VETTEL: Completely outclassed by the supposed (but obviously no more) number two driver.
FERRARI: They couldn't possibly blow this race. Well, they did with one of their drivers, and barely hung on with the other.
HAMILTON: Almost pulled off another amazing victory. Even second initially seemed out of reach.
BOTTAS: Valtteri's new contract was about the only good news for him over the weekend.
MERCEDES: In the short term, Bottas was the right choice. We'll see if they bemoan the long term consequences.
ALBON: Did in his first race what Gasly could not -- finish behind the Mercedes and Ferrari duos, especially when Verstappen is unable to. Granted, Alexander was helped by Norris' last lap failure, but still an impressive drive from 17th.
VERSTAPPEN: Amazing this was his first DNF after 21 consecutive top five finishes.
RED BULL: Yet another midseason driver shuffle. This time, it will be very interesting how this all plays out.
GASLY: Meanwhile, Pierre has to wonder if he's just playing out the season before getting dropped entirely.
KVYAT: While Daniil has to be thinking is this it for his comeback?
TORO ROSSO: The true definition of a junior team.
PEREZ: That was a bit dirty.
SAINZ: Well, that was a useless birthday.
NORRIS: Well, that was a useless 43 laps.
MCLAREN: One out on the first lap. One out on the last lap. Which is more frustrating?
HAAS: Haas is just flat out frustrating.
GIOVINAZZI: It's now probably just a matter of running out the season for Antonio.
ERICSSON: Or is Marcus going to stick around the Alfa Romeo pits for more than just hanging out as an emergency replacement?
WORD OF THE WEEKEND: Pause.
STAT OF THE WEEKEND: 19 -- Anthoine Hubert.
HISTORICAL STAT OF THE WEEKEND: Peter Collins is one of a number of drivers who won their first F1 race at Spa. He did it in 1956 also driving a Ferrari. It was on the longer 8.774-mile circuit. It was also the first time Collins ever led a F1 race.
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND: Charles Leclerc on his friendship with Anthoine Hubert, "We were four kids who were dreaming of Formula One. We grew up in karting for many, many years, and to lose him yesterday was a big shock for me and for everyone in motorsport."
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND RUNNERUP: Lando Norris when asked what happened on the last lap, "Whatever was giving me power stopped giving me power!"
SCHEDULE: Off to another Ferrari favored track. This time the most important one of all, which they totally blew last year.
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