Lewis Hamilton clinched a comfortable win at the 2020 Belgian Grand Prix at the the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium. Hamilton sealed his fourth win at this race and the eighty-ninth win of his career.
Valtteri Bottas finished ahead of Max Verstappen as the top 3 drivers limped home on worn tyres after an early pit stop under the Safety Car. It was another comfortable race for the dominant Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team.
Daniel Ricciardo and Esteban Ocon finished in fourth and fifth positions to a complete a good race for the Renault DP World F1 Team. Alexander Albon, Lando Norris, Pierre Gasly, Lance Stroll and Sergio Pérez completed the top 10 point scoring positions.
The race started under clear skies with the air temperature at 18 degrees C and track temperatures at 27 degrees C at Spa. Carlos Sainz did not start the race due to an exhaust issue. The Spaniard had qualified in seventh position. The top 3 drivers started on the medium compound tyres. All the other drivers in the top 10 were on the soft compound tyres.
Hamilton started from pole position and Bottas joined him on the first row. Verstappen and Ricciardo lined up on the second row. Albon and Ocon started on the third row. Pérez, Stroll and Norris lined up at the front of the grid.
Hamilton made a good start to stay ahead of Bottas and Verstappen and was outside DRS-range at the end of the first lap. Bottas, Verstappen and a fast-starting Ricciardo jostled for positions behind him. Charles Leclerc gained four positions to take ninth position at the start, but started losing ground lap after lap.
After the hectic start the order was Hamilton, Bottas, Verstappen, Ricciardo, Ocon, Albon, Stroll, Pérez, Leclerc and Gasly in the top positions.
On lap 11, Antonio Giovinazzi had a big shunt as he exited Turn 14. A loose wheel from his car hit George Russell’s car as he arrived at the scene and broke his front suspension and the Briton crashed into the barriers.
The Safety Car was deployed and all the leading drivers except Gasly and Pérez pitted. The race leaders put on the hard compound tyres.
Hamilton pulled away on the restart even as Bottas was under pressure from Vesrtappen. Gasly and Pérez were in fourth and fifth positions now. Ricciardo, Albon, Ocon, Stroll and Norris were behind them.
On Lap 16, Hamilton complained about a loss of power, but after advice from the pit wall, the problem was resolved. The Briton then steadily built a lead of over three seconds in front even as Bottas slowly pulled away from Verstappen.
On lap 21, Ricciardo overtook Gasly for fourth position. Gasly and Pérez pitted after a long first stint and battled through the field on a fresh set of tyres.
Ocon battled his way to fifth position ahead of Albon. With three laps to go, the race leaders were complaining about their tyres and managing the pace in front.
Ocon, Albon and Norris were all within DRS-range of each other and were in a battle for fifth position. Ricciardo was cutting the huge gap to Verstappen and managed to clinch the extra point for the fastest lap of the race on the final lap.
Hamilton led home a Mercedes 1-2 as he clinched the fifth win of the season. Bottas and Verstappen joined him on the podium.
Ricciardo and Ocon clinched fourth and fifth position for a creditable double-point finish for the Renault team. Albon had to be content with sixth position even as he resisted pressure from Norris in the closing laps.
Gasly drove another well-crafted race to finish in eighth position. Stroll and Pérez completed the top 10 positions in a sedate and processional race.
Hamilton has now opened a 47-point lead to Verstappen in the drivers’ championship. The Mercedes team has a 106-point lead over the Red Bull Racing team in the constructors’ championship.
The teams head to Monza for the Italian Grand Prix next weekend (04 – 06 September 2020). The effect of the ban of the “party mode” in qualification starting at this race at the “temple of speed” offers an interesting dimension to the championship.
Race Results of the 2020 Belgian Grand Prix:
|3||33||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing Honda||44||+15.455s||15|
|6||23||Alexander Albon||Red Bull Racing Honda||44||+42.712s||8|
|7||4||Lando Norris||McLaren Renault||44||+43.774s||6|
|8||10||Pierre Gasly||AlphaTauri Honda||44||+47.371s||4|
|9||18||Lance Stroll||Racing Point BWT Mercedes||44||+52.603s||2|
|10||11||Sergio Perez||Racing Point BWT Mercedes||44||+53.179s||1|
|11||26||Daniil Kvyat||AlphaTauri Honda||44||+70.200s||0|
|12||7||Kimi Räikkönen||Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari||44||+71.504s||0|
|15||8||Romain Grosjean||Haas Ferrari||44||+76.793s||0|
|16||6||Nicholas Latifi||Williams Mercedes||44||+77.795s||0|
|17||20||Kevin Magnussen||Haas Ferrari||44||+85.540s||0|
|NC||99||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari||9||DNF||0|
|NC||63||George Russell||Williams Mercedes||9||DNF||0|
|NC||55||Carlos Sainz||McLaren Renault||0||DNS||0|