Check out the latest Mobil 1 The Grid feature, in which Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo look ahead to the Belgian and Italian Grands Prix, and highlight their special connections with both events.
Lewis Hamilton is on cruise control mode, his steering wheel seems to have an extra hidden button, and the British found it and pressed it with his thumb. At the Italian Grand Prix, Hamilton took his 69th pole-position, he is now the driver with the most pole positions in Formula One, he also became the first driver, in 2017, who won two consecutive races and now he is leading the drivers’ championship by three points from Sebastian Vettel.
In Belgium, Lewis looked comfortable and unbeatable, even at the re-start, after the safety car, when Vettel made his move, the Britt managed to defend his first position and a couple of laps later he increased the gap between him and Sebastian Vettel. By seeing the final gap between the two drivers, after 44 laps, someone might assume that Vettel was pushing and was very close to Lewis, but the reality was totally different. The German, was close but still that was not enough for him to make his move and attack for the first place.
At Monza, the Tifosi were expecting to see a fast and competitive Scuderia Ferrari, but instead of that, Ferrari was not even close to Mercedes. The Silver Arrows, were not stopped by the rain and the hours of delay which took place in the FP3 and during the qualifying session. Lewis Hamilton claimed his 69th pole position, followed by Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo. Lance Stroll and Esteban Ocon qualified fourth and fifth respectively, but after the grid penalties which applied almost to every driver on the grid, Stroll promoted to the second position and became the youngest driver who started from the front row.
The two Ferraris qualified seventh (Kimi Raikkonen) and eighth (Sebastian Vettel), both drivers promoted to fifth and sixth respectively. Max Verstappen dropped down to 13th position, while his team-mate started the race from the 16 position.
Lewis Hamilton had a clean start and remained first after lights out, Lance Stroll lost his second position by Esteban Ocon and dropped down to third place. A few laps later Max Verstappen had a collision with Felipe Massa, Max suffered a puncture which cost him time and dropped him at the back of the grid. The stewards decided to take no further action for the incident between the two drivers. Verstappen managed to recover at the end of the race, the Dutch finished 10th ahead of Kevin Magnussen.
Valtteri Bottas, who qualified sixth, had a good start and gained two positions on the first lap of the race. He was behind Hamilton, Ocon and Stroll and it was a matter of time until he was able to attack the two drivers in front of him. The Finn, had a good pace during the race, he completed Mercedes’ 1-2 as he finished second behind his team-mate.
Daniel Ricciardo started the race from the 16th place and finished fourth, a few seconds, behind Sebastian Vettel. The Australian had an amazing race, he passed the slower cars on the first part of the race, while he was on softs. He had the advantage of fresher and faster tyres during the final laps of the Italian Grand Prix. Twelve laps before the chequered flag, the Australian made his move on Kimi Raikkonen, the Finn was unable to defend his fourth position, Daniel took the inside at the first chicane and with an incredible move, he promoted to fourth place. Ricciardo, was gaining on Vettel lap by lap, but he didn’t have enough laps to close the gap with the German, and finished fourth, about four seconds, behind Vettel.
Both McLaren’s drivers watched the end of the race from the garage. Vandoorne and Alonso retired on 33th and 50th lap respectively. Stoffel had electrical issues, whilst Fernando had problems with his McLaren’s clutch.
The next race will take in Singapore, a circuit which suits more to the Ferrari than to Mercedes, Sebastian Vettel is looking to win his fifth race in 2017 and retake the lead in the drivers’ championship. Lewis Hamilton from the other hand, has the momentum. The British driver, looks very strong, he will have to fight hard to keep his lead and his aim will be to expand his winning streak in Singapore.
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After a short break for the drivers and long for the fans, Formula One is back at our lives. The action returns to one of the most thrilling circuits on the calendar, at Spa in Belgium. Everyone is looking forward to watch a battle between Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton for the drivers’ championship.
Ferrari is willing to keep their driver line-up same for the next year, they started with Raikkonen’s contract. The Finn, extended his contract for one more season and he will remain with Scuderia Ferrari until 2018. Next on the schedule is Sebastian Vettel.
Mercedes will try to respond to Ferrari’s 1-2 in Hungary. The Silver Arrows, are aiming to gain points in order to extend their lead in the constructors’ championship which is currently at 40 points. Lewis Hamilton, has to win at least one of the two upcoming races (Spa, Monza) in order to stay close or even pass Sebastian Vettel. Valtteri Bottas looks confident and able to challenge the two contenders and win his first title in his Formula One career.
Toto Wolff – “The summer shutdown came at the perfect time for us to make a step back and take stock of our season so far. It has been a good one – and has shown a lot of the qualities of our team. On paper, people will assume that Spa should suit our car because it is a circuit where aerodynamic efficiency is extremely important. But assumptions are dangerous – we have seen too many times already this season that the form book can be rewritten from one weekend to the next. So we will be making no assumptions; we have to tick off the items on our work list and make sure we do the best job to maximise our potential points score. The motivation and determination in the factory are greater than ever. Hungary showed the strength of our team – and we intend to use the second half of this season to prove that strength.”
CIRCUIT DE SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS
Circuit Length: 7.004 km
Race Length: 308.052 km
Lap Record: 1:47.263 (Sebastian Vettel – 2009)
Tyre sets available: Soft (Yellow), Supersoft (Red), Ultrasoft (Purple)
Spa-Francorchamps is one of the most historic circuits on the Formula One calendar, hosted a non-championship race in 1924. Spa it is also one of the longest circuits (7.004 km), it combines a mix of long straight and fast corners which makes it an attractive and challenging track for the drivers. The most famous corner is known as “Eau Rouge” and it is one of the most technically demanding corners, because of the evaluation change and the high speed.
Fernando Alonso – “I love the first race after the summer break! It’s a great feeling to come back feeling rested, relaxed and recharged, and ready to go again for the second half of the season. I’ve enjoyed time away with family and friends, worked hard on my training and now I’m really looking forward to getting back in the car. Spa is incredible – for many of us it’s one of our favourite tracks. It’s got a legendary reputation and it’s totally deserved. The feeling when you drive Eau Rouge is completely different to any other corner on the calendar. You’re so low in the car and the gradient is so steep that as you go up it you can only see the sky – it’s completely surreal. As the season goes on we’re getting stronger and stronger, and I hope the second half of the year will bring us some more points-earning finishes. This race is a difficult challenge for the whole team – the engineers and the mechanics – as you’re on the throttle for almost three-quarters of the lap, which makes it’s a tough circuit for both the car and the driver. We know we’ll have to work hard to get any kind of result there, but it’s a long lap and there are plenty of overtaking opportunities, so we’ll keep pushing to get everything we can from the weekend.”
McLaren will try to repeat their success and score more points in Belgium, Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne finished sixth and tenth respectively in Hungary.
I am expecting a close battle between Ferrari and Mercedes, but the Silver Arrows might have a small advantage at the Spa.
Don’t miss our live race coverage on Sunday!