Not only the F1 drivers were unanimous in agreement that Belgian GP did not take place, they also reckoned the points awarded were not deserved.
The F1 Belgian GP….well, in short wasn’t a grand prix, so to say! There was a delayed procession of three laps behind a safety car, of which one was counted. There were more than 60,000 thousand spectators who paid to see that. There are of course rules in place for this kind of scenario, but this was slightly unprecedented.
While all the F1 drivers agreed that a race was not possible in the conditions, but some of them were perplexed by the 2-3 laps done behind the safety car to give away half points as per the said regulation. Some of them who benefited from it, agreed that they did not deserve it, as there were no racing laps done.
The result eventually helped George Russell to register his first-ever F1 podium, while Williams had their first since 2017. The penalties and trouble for Red Bull’s Sergio Perez, helped the Ferrari duo and also Nicholas Latifi to end up in the points as well.
While Russell and co agreed that it was strange to get the podium in that matter, but he added that he will take it. Among the point scorers, Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel (P5), AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly (P6) and Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz (P10), were not too happy.
Vettel: “That’s a joke [to score points]. If you want to get a reward for qualifying you should get points for qualifying. What did we do in the race? I don’t know. I thought you had to do 25 percent of the race to get points? Regarding the delay, I think the priority is always we are safe. [The FIA had to take] tough decisions, not easy hanging in there, making the people wait. But as I said, probably the right decision. It doesn’t get any better and it was getting dark.”
Gasly: “I don’t know why I’m getting any points actually, because I didn’t race. I’ve just followed the safety car, but I mean we take the points. I think it brings us one point closer to Alpine, we lost the point to Aston Martin. I mean, it’s very very strange, I never had this situation in F1 and in the only race I had which was cancelled was in Suzuka in Super Formula when there was a typhoon. It wasn’t a typhoon at Spa, but looking the way they’re not far from it.”
Sainz: “I mean, it’s what it is. In qualifying, we struggled, but then we didn’t race and I got half a point for something that I think I don’t deserve to get half a point because I didn’t have a race to deserve half a point. So, this is the only thing maybe that we need to review because to have points for something that didn’t happen, which for me is not very.. it doesn’t make much sense, but it is what it is. Hopefully, we can review it for the future. If the second try was done just with the intention of awarding points, then I think it’s absolute nonsense.
“I don’t think we should do any laps just to alter the final result of a race. If it was done with the intention of actually running and re-starting the race, then yes, which brings me to the next point, which is how far into the race you call it a race, and if there were actually no race laps, no competition, why should points be given and any result be given, because there was basically no race, I didn’t race, so I didn’t deserve the half a point I got, so I don’t know why I got it.”
The non-point scorers had their say as well. McLaren’s Lando Norris, who on Saturday looked like he was on for pole position until he crashed saw the benefit for his team with Danny Riccardo’s result, but even then he felt it was not correct.
At the same time, Alpine’s Fernando Alonso eventually missed out in 11th, reckoned it was a Christmas gift for those who scored, which included his teammate Esteban Ocon in seventh. Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas’ Hungary trouble haunted him eventually at Spa.
Norris: “I don’t think any points should be awarded. I think for how little we did, X amount of racing laps, we go out and we race for X amount of the race, but to drive around behind the safety car and then for people to get points. Maybe I’d be saying the opposite if I was first and I’d got a good amount of points, I don’t know. I don’t feel like – even though it’s benefitted us, Daniel got a good amount of points comparing to Ferrari – I don’t feel it’s a deserved race for points because it’s not a race at the end of the day.”
Alonso: “It was terrible to be honest for everyone. Well, some of them probably, it was a little bit of early Christmas because there were some gifts I think given with some people because we didn’t race, but they still get the position and still they get the points, so it’s a little bit shocking I was P11 and I was one place to the points and I was never allowed to fight for those points, but they still give the point.
“So, as I said, its shocking in a way but it is the way it is. Its sad for the people I think. The fans they’ve been amazing all weekend with this weather, they’ve been always supporting and after the pandemic and after racing with no spectators for some part of the championship now to see them is so nice and when you cannot give them nothing in the race it’s terribly sad. So as I said it’s a very strange day.”
Bottas: “From my side, of course, I was out of the points so I had never had the opportunity to fight for the points. So I don’t think it was a race. It is what it is, it’s for sure a tricky call for F1 what to do and it’s what happened.”
The general consensus is the F1 drivers are as amused, bemused or embarrassed even by the events of the day, especially having scored points. They are employed to race and as per the top, there was not a race at all. As from a safety point of view there was no mishaps. Yes, ten driver’s did benefit from what happened. But as per some of they did not have to do anything.
The story was co-written by Neil Farell
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