It was a cruise in the end for Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel in the 2018 Formula 1 Belgian GP ahead of Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton at Spa-Francorchamps.
Even though Hamilton took pole on Saturday in mixed conditions, the race panned out differently after Vettel overtook Hamilton on Lap 1 itself and dominated the proceedings to start the second half of the 2018 season in style.
Hamilton had to settle for second with Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen completing the podium after mayhem on Lap 1 which eliminated five drivers at one go. Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas fought well to fourth ahead of Racing Point Force India drivers.
Here’s a statistical highlight of the Belgian GP:
- It was Vettel’s fifth win of the 2018 season and 52nd overall to move ahead of Alain Prost in the all-time list to be behind Michael Schumacher (91) and Hamilton (67).
- It was also Vettel’s first Belgian GP victory since 2013 while Ferrari’s first since 2009 when Kimi Raikkonen took the winning honours. Vettel is now joint-third with three Belgian GP wins alongwith Hamilton, Juan Manuel Fangio and Damon Hill.
- It was Verstappen’s 16th career podium, his first podium finish in Belgian GP with the previous best of eighth place in 2015. It was the first time for Verstappen to be ahead of Daniel Ricciardo in the standings this season.
- Bottas started started from 17th due to grid penalty and recovered to fourth, thereby gaining 13 places. He also claimed the fastest lap of the race, fourth in the season and seventh overall after setting a new race lap record of 1m46.286s at Spa-Francorchamps beating Vettel’s 1m47.263s.
- Vettel, Kimi Raikkonen and Hamilton each beat the unofficial Spa-Francorchamps lap record of 1m41.770s previously set by Neel Jani’s Porsche 919 Evo. But all three drivers went quicker in the dry run in Q2 with Vettel posting a 1m41.501s to Raikkonen’s 1m41.533s and Hamilton’s 1m41.553s.
- Hamilton scored his sixth pole of 2018, career’s 78th. With Esteban Ocon in third, he equaled his best start after qualifying in the same position in 2017 Italian GP as well.
- The fastest laps between the two Racing Point Force India drivers was just 0.002s in qualifying as the team then opened its points account under the new entry scoring 18 on its debut weekend finishing fifth and sixth respectively. Interestingly the last time a new-entered team scored 18 points was Brawn GP in 2009 when it finished 1-2 under the old scoring system. Since then HRT, Caterham, Marussia/Manor and Haas joined the fray as brand new teams but only Haas managed to score on its debut weekend.
- The Lap 1 carnage saw retirements of Nico Hulkenberg, Fernando Alonso and Charles Leclerc immediately while Raikkonen and Ricciardo followed suit with the Australian retiring voluntarily despite covering a good distance in the race.
- Hulkenberg was subsequently given three penalty points and a 10-place penalty for Italian GP for the incident while Bottas’s clash with Sergey Sirotkin on Lap 1 as well was given two penalty points and a five-second penalty. Despite the hit, Sirotkin was able to finish 12th – his best F1 result till date.
- It was the first race for Renault since 2017 Mexico GP when none of the cars finished in points while Haas secured its third double points of 2018 which is one more than what they did in whole of 2017 season.
- Marcus Ericsson scored his fifth 10th place finish of his career and is yet to improve on his best finish of eighth place.
- It was the fifth race in succession for Red Bull where only one of its car has seen the chequered flag – interestingly all has come alternatively among the drivers. Even though Verstappen was classified in British GP’s race result owing to completing 90 percent of the race but the Dutchman did not see the chequered flag.
- Raikkonen’s retirement ended his five race podium streak.
[Check: Hungarian GP stats]