This race was full of mixed emotions. Saturday was a tragic day for the sport, it lost one of its brightest stars in Anthoine Hubert. The drivers, with the entire F1 and motorsport community united in remembrance and dedicated their drive and the race to Hubert, it was a moving day. One in which we could see the effects on the drivers, especially the younger ones who had raced with Hubert from the start of their careers. So it was only fitting that Charles Leclerc took home the trophy, a victory that he dedicated to Hubert. It’s a day no one will forget.
A tribute attended by Hubert’s Mother and Brother took place before the race.
It was an interesting start to the race, Leclerc had a great start but Vettel could have had better. He did go wide and regained position in third behind Hamilton. Meanwhile, there was a collision in the first corner for Verstappen and Raikkonen. Verstappen had a bad start and tried to make up places by taking the inside, unfortunately, this was Raikkonen’s blind spot and the two ended up colliding. The blame had to be put onto Verstappen for that one. Verstappen then struggled with his steering and went straight into the wall, that was the end of his race and the end of the Orange Army’s celebrations.
Vettel very quickly overtook Hamilton with the great straight-line speed the Ferrari has, Leclerc was creating a very good lead. It looked like the Mercedes had no chance of catching up. However Vettel didn’t keep up the pace for long, Hamilton soon chimed in on the radio saying that Vettel was quite slow, and the gains by Hamilton proved this. Despite his lack of pace, however, the Ferrari still had the advantage in the straights which kept a good distance between Vettel and the Mercedes.
It wasn’t looking great for Vettel, Leclerc was safely making time but Vettel couldn’t up the pace. The predictions came in at a 45% chance of a Hamilton overtake. Ferrari took this as a good time to pit Vettel and the percentages soon tumbled, going down to a 4% chance of overtaking. This strategy didn’t look great for Leclerc. Was this going to be yet another strategy that puts Vettel ahead of Leclerc?
Everyone: “Would be great for Leclerc to win this race.”— Tom Bellingham (@TommyWTF1) September 1, 2019
Further down the grid Sainz had problems early on, he seemed to lose power and couldn’t carry on, he, unfortunately, was forced to retire. A tough DNF for the birthday boy.
His teammate, however, was having a great race. Norris had quickly made his way up to 5th. A very impressive performance.
Ricciardo looked like his race was shaping up, with some great battles in the midfield he was making good progress. But again Renaults strategy just isn’t there. Like, at all.
Now, this was a very important race for Alex Albon, his first with Red Bull and he needed to impress his new team. And that is what he did, we could see early all Albon was willing to go for the spaces and taking chances to make his way through the field. That is what Red Bull was expecting from Gasly, and it’s maybe something he lacked. Albon seemed to have confidence in the car and worked hard for it.
Meanwhile, Leclerc pits and comes out behind Vettel, he was told on the radio that he shouldn’t worry as it will all be alright in the end. So, is Ferrari using Vettel as a roadblock for Leclerc win?
What happened to Haas? They looked in great form running 6th and 7th but soon it looked like Magnussen was struggling to keep up as cars continued to pass him, it’s always just too good to be true for Haas at the moment. Perez was having a superb race, easily passing Grosjean.
It was starting to get tense in the top four. It seemed Ferrari were yet again behind with the strategy, Leclerc seemed to have more pace than Vettel but couldn’t do much about it. That is until Ferrari gave team orders, Vettel had to let Leclerc pass.
Bottas was having a great run today, he took the fastest lap on lap 26 with a 1.46.
Hamilton started to up the pace, constantly pushing to catch up with the Ferraris ahead. This looked like it scared Vettel, on his team radio he said Hamilton is “going to walk all over us”. Did not sound good for Leclerc.
Mercedes however still didn’t have the speed advantage so Vettel managed to hold Hamilton up, it looked at this point that Vettel’s sole job was to help out his teammate by blocking Hamilton, what a blow to the four-time world champion. Hamilton was persistent and soon Vettel’s worn out tyres got the best of him and Hamilton took the chance to pass. Bottas wasn’t far behind and now Vettel was down to fourth after they decided to pit him. Not a great race for the German.
No one could have imagined this would ever happen at the start of the year. But Ferrari are using Vettel right now as a roadblock to help Leclerc win the race. #BelgianGP— WTF1 (@wtf1official) September 1, 2019
With just 10 laps left it didn’t look great for Vettel, but maybe Leclerc could hold onto the trophy for Ferrari. Hamilton’s pace was great and Bottas was not far behind. They pushed Leclerc to the very end, right until Giovinazzi hit the wall pretty hard, meaning the yellow flag was announced.
The worst luck hit Norris, he had managed to hold onto 5th until the very last lap when his car decided to stop meaning Norris was out. Heartbreaking for the Brit. But, It did end with him being classified in 11th.
It was a great race for Albon, he finished 5th for Red Bull. The result I think we all needed.
Leclerc crossed the line taking 1st, Hamilton 2nd and Bottas 3rd. A triumphant first victory for Charles Leclerc, but unfortunately bittersweet for the Frenchman after the tragic loss of his friend Hubert. Its Leclerc first F1 win, one he will not forget anytime soon. If only it were under brighter circumstances.
LEC: “On the one a hand a dream I’ve had since I was a child has been realised, but on the other it has been a very difficult weekend. I grew up with Anthoine and I want to dedicate my win to him”#F1 #BelgianGP 🇧🇪 pic.twitter.com/NWBM5rtDWY— Formula 1 (@F1) September 1, 2019
Here are the final standings for the 2019 Belgian Grand Prix: