Rain may have lent a hand to Lewis Hamilton for his fortuitous pole position, but Sebastian Vettel managed to grab the lead on the first lap of the 2018 Belgian GP at Spa-Francorchamps to bring in a much needed fifth victory this season.
The start of the Belgian GP will be remembered for the massive shunt by Hulkenberg that sent Fernando Alonso sailing on top of Charles Leclerc, with the front wing assembly clearly being deflected from contact with the Sauber driver’s head by the Halo device.
The first lap charge proved crucial for Vettel as the safety car period then prevented Hamilton from making a move. Vettel went on to keep the lead till race end, giving him his 52nd win and 107th podium, thereby beating the legendary Alain Prost’s record.
Hamilton still managed a strong showing through the race, but it seems like Ferrari have managed to work out the power delivery on their engine, more than matching anything the Mercedes had to show in dry conditions.
Red Bull pulled out another podium finish with Max Verstappen coming in third. Daniel Ricciardo wasn’t as fortunate. His first lap was marred by contact with Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari, resulting in him spending two laps worth of time in the pits having his wings changed. Raikkonen bore the brunt of the collision with damage to his wing and tyre, with the latter causing a puncture and a retirement.
The other team in the spotlight, the new Racing Point Force India F1 team, saw both their drivers bring in valuable points from their fifth and sixth position, with Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas pulling off a rather impressive run through the race to move from his penalty 17 position on the grid to a fourth place finish.
Sebastian Vettel said, “I’m very happy because we had a great race, the car now has proved to be robust on all tracks and this weekend we got a little more power from the new engine, which I think also helped us down the straights. At the start I tried to stay close to Lewis, getting a good exit out of Turn 1 and then taking advantage of the slipstream to get past. After the Safety car pulled out, it was just the other way round, so I looked after the exit of Turn 1 to stay ahead. The first stint was very close, only a couple of seconds between us; but then the guys did a fantastic pit-stop, I could not believe the light had turned green so fast, and that gave our rivals no chance. The second stint was ore about managing the car and the tyres for both of us. This is a great win for the whole team and hope in Monza it will be the same, but we need to keep fighting to be always up there.”
2018 Formula 1 Drivers
|Car No||Name||Team||2018 season||2017 season|
|33||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing||216||168|
|3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing||146||200|
|11||Sergio Perez||Force India||57||100|
|31||Esteban Ocon||Force India||49||87|
|10||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso||29||0|
|28||Brendan Hartley||Toro Rosso||4||0|
2018 Formula 1 Teams
|Team||2018 season||2017 season|
|Red Bull Racing||362||368|
|Force India Mercedes||47||187|
|Toro Rosso Honda||33||53|
2018 Formula 1 Races
|Mexico||28/10/2018||Max Verstappen||Sebastian Vettel||Kimi Raikkonen|
|United States||21/10/2018||Kimi Raikkonen||Max Verstappen||Lewis Hamilton|
|Japan||07/10/2018||Lewis Hamilton||Valtteri Bottas||Max Verstappen|
|Russia||20/09/2018||Lewis Hamilton||Valtteri Bottas||Sebastian Vettel|
|Singapore||16/09/2018||Lewis Hamilton||Max Verstappen||Sebastian Vettel|
|Italy||02/09/2018||Lewis Hamilton||Kimi Raikkonen||Valtteri Bottas|
|Belgium||26/08/2018||Sebastian Vettel||Lewis Hamilton||Max Verstappen|
|Hungary||29/07/2018||Lewis Hamilton||Sebastian Vettel||Kimi Raikkonen|
|Germany||22/07/2018||Lewis Hamilton||Valtteri Bottas||Kimi Raikkonen|
|Britain||08/07/2018||Sebastian Vettel||Lewis Hamilton||Kimi Raikkonen|
|Austria||01/07/2018||Max Verstappen||Kimi Raikkonen||Sebastian Vettel|
|France||24/06/2018||Lewis Hamilton||Max Verstappen||Kimi Raikkonen|
|Canada||10/06/2018||Sebastian Vettel||Valtteri Bottas||Max Verstappen|
|Monaco||27/05/2018||Daniel Ricciardo||Sebastian Vettel||Lewis Hamilton|
|Spain||13/05/2018||Lewis Hamilton||Valtteri Bottas||Max Verstappen|
|Azerbaijan||29/04/2018||Lewis Hamilton||Kimi Raikkonen||Sergio Perez|
|China||15/04/2018||Daniel Ricciardo||Valtteri Bottas||Kimi Raikkonen|
|Bahrain||04/04/2018||Sebastian Vettel||Valtteri Bottas||Lewis Hamilton|
|Australia||25/03/2018||Sebastian Vettel||Lewis Hamilton||Kimi Raikkonen|