2020 Belgium Thoughts
THE BIG PICTURE: We criticized the other teams in the past for being the reason nobody can beat Mercedes. But, we also have to criticize the FIA who keeps putting in all these ridiculous development freezes, locking in Mercedes' advantage. Because of that, we already know how 2021 is going to play out...
EVENT: Once again, we sure missed those crazy Dutch fans.
TRACK: It's so thrilling to simply watch an F1 car negotiate Spa-Francorchamps. Just thrilling.
QUALIFYING: Mercedes enjoys party mode for the last time, Red Bull does their usual, Renault surprises with their speed, McLaren now trailed the factory team, Racing Point lost some speed since Friday, and Ferrari is just pathetic.
RACE: Well, yeah, not much to stay about this one. No rain. No tire blowouts. No unpredictability.
START: Ricciardo and Verstappen have a thrilling battle, Stroll gets another great start, Leclerc is even better, Albon falls back, Giovinazzi keeps his perfect record of gaining spots, and the Mercedes play it clean and avoid the slipstreamers.
HAMILTON: The restart lap shows you how dominate Lewis can be. To open up over a second lead, and thus out of DRS range, in one lap from a restart after the tires have cooled down is spectacular.
BOTTAS: Let's face it. Valtteri is no Nico Rosberg.
MERCEDES: And because there is no competition within the team, it makes it more boring than when you had Nico and Lewis going at it tooth and nail.
VERSTAPPEN: What can you say? Max will finish third every race unless something out of the norm happens.
ALBON: Alex just can't completely get the handle on a car that is very unstable, which his teammate doesn't mind.
RED BULL: For the first time, they acknowledge they may go out of their system to bring in a driver. If so, Nico Hulkenberg or Sergio Perez have a solid option.
RICCIARDO: Pierre Gasly may have been voted driver of the race by the fans, and we have no problem with that. However, we would have voted for Daniel. He showed his old brilliant self. And topped it off with a fastest lap on 33-lap old hard tires.
OCON: Another great weekend. But we can't shake the fact that Esteban can't outrun his teammate.
RENAULT: Another huge step forward. They should also look good at Monza.
GASLY: To think, Pierre should have finished even higher because the timing of the safety car ruined his strategy. He continues to be the most inspiring story of 2020.
VETTEL: Started 14th. Finished 13th.
LECLERC: Started 13th. Finished 14th.
FERRARI: How much more wretched can this team get?
RUSSELL: One of the worst fears for any driver is to suddenly see a loose wheel bounding in his path.
SAINZ: Last year, Carlos stalled on the Spa grid. This year, he doesn't even make it to the grid. Maybe next year, he should just feign an illness and stay home...
WILLIAMS: No longer a family owned team as they sell to a mysterious entity. But, will they still be a family run team...?
CONCORDE: It's good everyone signed the new Concorde Agreement. It's good the money distribution will be more equitable. It's not so good that Ferrari still gets the extra payout, but it's lower than before, and we can live with it. But, how in the hell does Libery Media allow Ferrari to keep their veto power? No other sport in the world would ever stand for such shenanigans.
F2: The series paid tribute to Anthoine Hubert in their return one year after the tragic day at Spa. Brit Callum Ilott only got one point on the weekend, losing his championship lead. Russian Robert Schwartzman regained the lead by 10 points thanks to a fifth and first.
F3: A sour engine caused American Logan Sargeant to drop down the field and finish eighth in the first race losing the championship lead. However, the reverse grid put him in an excellent spot to eventually grab the win on Sunday as well as the bonus points for fastest lap, reclaiming the top position. This time by seven points.
INDY 500: We had to wait a week to say this -- Sato-Mania!!
WORD OF THE WEEKEND: Predictable.
STAT OF THE WEEKEND: 1.744 -- The amount in seconds between the fastest Mercedes qualifying time and the fastest Ferrari qualifying time.
HISTORICAL STAT OF THE WEEKEND: In 1969, Ferrari was in regroup mode. After financial issues were solved when Enzo sold the road car division to Fiat, he set about rebuilding the famed F1 team. Thus, 1969 was a throwaway year. So much so, that Ferrari did not even enter the German GP. After entering the next race because it was the Italian GP (Pedro Rodríguez finished sixth), they did not even bother sending their factory team to North America for the last three rounds. They allowed NART (North American Racing Team) to field one of their cars for Rodríguez (who retired from Canada and finished fifth and seventh in the USA and Mexico, respectively). In all, Ferrari only finished four of the 11 races, scoring in three of them (Chris Amon got a third in the Netherlands).
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND: Romain Grosjean on the thrills of driving Spa, "Spa is absolutely mega. Even if you're 17th it feels fast!"
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND RUNNERUP: Daniel Ricciardo on not completely, 100% pushing the issue against Max Verstappen on the first lap, "I was keeping that one percent of maturity!"
SCHEDULE: Monza is an even more high speed, high horsepower track. Perhaps, it's a good thing the Tifosi can't attend...
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