After their best ever qualifying, Renault were hopeful of a double points finish at Spa, but a high speed crash involving their popular Danish driver, Kevin Magnussen overshadowed race day and left the team in a race to rebuild his car before Monza.
Both drivers got off to a good start, with an in form Jolyon Palmer fighting his way into 7th place followed by Magnussen in 8th. However the good form was not to last too long as Magnussen bottomed out at the exit of Eau Rouge and suffered a crash that caused his headrest to fly off. The crash, which had many worrying for the safety of the driver, brought out a safety car and eventually a red flag to repair the damaged barrier. Magnussen, meanwhile, limped to the medical car and had been taken to hospital by the time to restart took place.
KEVIN MAGNUSSEN – DNF
It is common cause that the Danish driver was lucky to suffer just cut to his ankle after the high G impact at the exit of one of F1’s most spectacular corners. The image of his displaced headrest will raise concerns regarding the safety aspect of the open cockpit vs covered yet again, which of course, is likely to be the last thing on Magnussen’s mind as he looks to be fit to race at Monza.
JOLYON PALMER- Started 13th Finished 15th
The British driver has been somewhat of a tour de force recently and the initial stages of Sunday afternoon saw him continue the form. However tyre degradation in the high temperatures saw him lose grip and he slipped back down the field.
“We had our best qualifying here. Both cars had a great start and ran in the top ten for a while. We could have had a strong race but the safety car pulled a lot of people back into play. It’s a shame not to get better results in the end but this weekend has been better than we expected overall. I saw Kevin crash in my rear mirrors. It’s not nice to see because it’s a really, really fast part of the track. I’m glad he’s ok.”
Renault will look to the high speeds of Monza to maximise the full package that has seemingly found its sweet spot in the last few races. The concern is the fitness of Magnussen and the question of the car which looked to have suffered total damage in the crash. If Renault are able to tap into the right downforce balance, they are likely to be in with the bigger teams in race day.
Rhea Morar @RheaMorar