FAULTLESS QUALIFYING FROM HAMILTON AT SPA
As we approach the Belgian Grand Prix today, Lewis Hamilton remains in formidable form with another lap record under his belt in qualifying, while an exciting battle in the midfield is forecast along with the threat of rain.
Once again there was no rival for Hamilton, outqualifying teammate Valtteri Bottas by half a second with a 1:41.252 smashing the previous record. Dedicating his performance to actor Chadwick Boseman – who sadly passed away yesterday – there is no question that the British driver is currently in a league of his own.
Ferrari are without a doubt the hot topic for this qualifying in Belgium, neither driver even making it into Q3 placing 13th and 14th it was a new low for the team. The issue at Spa – as it has been all season – was the incredible lack of engine power as having straight-line speed is essential around this track and their only saving grace for the race is the chance of rain.
The most exciting part of the grid for today is that upper midfield with surprising placements for Renault and Daniel Riccciardo in particular up in fourth for their best qualifying of the season which was also his best ever at Spa.
The team has made a clear upgrade with their new low-downforce package with Ricciardo saying in an interview afterwards that the car felt much ‘happier’ when set up that way. They were much improved on the straights at times toping the speed gun timing charts.
This was a much-needed boost for the team after both drivers failed to make it into Q3 in their last qualifying outing in Spain.
Max Verstappen again got the best out of his car continuing to be the closest contender to the Mercedes’ just missing out on the front row by 15 hundredths of a second. Verstappen revealed that the team was expecting a difficult weekend and taking third was better than expected and they will surely be hoping for the rain to come as expected.
Further down the grid was another very impressive run from George Russell in the Williams, with the British driver himself saying he has ‘no idea’ where the performance came from. Going into the weekend Williams were not expected to do much more than finish dead last and this 15th place is another sign that Russell is beginning to establish himself as a future top six contender.
Rounding up the day was Racing Point who must be slightly disappointed with qualifying 8th and 9th. Losing out to both the Red Bulls and the Renaults is a step back from their recent form and probably more of a testament to how good the Renaults looked rather than an indictment on the pace of Racing Point. The battle for the midfield is wide open for the race and it’s expected that the first corner will bring drama especially if the forecast rain arrives before lights out!
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