From Hungary, teams flew to Belgium for the famous Belgian Grand Prix at the Spa-Francorhcamps circuit. The Belgian Grand Prix dates back to 1925 and Michael Schumacher still holds the most wins, with six. Daniel Ricciardo won the Belgian Grand Prix last season and all eyes were on him to see if he could replicate this result. However, in the end, it was Lewis Hamilton who took the chequered flag, his sixth win this season. He was followed by Nico Rosberg and Romain Grosjean. Ricciardo unfortunately had to retire in lap 19.
The two Mercedes drivers continued to dominate qualifying, with Hamilton posting the fastest lap time in the first and third round and team mate Rosberg the fastest lap in the second round. Qualifying was marred by numerous problems. Kimi Raikkonen stopped in the middle of the circuit in the second qualifying round due to loss of power. Max Verstappen also suffered problems with his car. Neither were able to set a time for the second round. Top ten grid positions were as follows: Hamilton, Rosberg, Valtteri Bottas, Grosjean, Sergio Perez, Ricciardo, Felipe Massa, Pastor Maldonado, Sebastian Vettel and Carlos Sainz.
Several penalties were handed out after the qualifying. McLaren exceeded the number of power units allowed for the season, even after receiving one additional power unit this season. The team received 105-place grid place penalty, a new record in F1.However, due to a recent rule change, they will only have to start at the back of the grid during this race, with no further time penalties. Verstappen also received a 10-place grid penalty for using a new power unit, with the same handed out to Grosjean, who received a five-place grid penalty and Raikkonen with a five-place grid penalty.
During the formation lap, first Hülkenberg and then Carlos Sainz stalled their cars, caused the need for a new formation lap and shortened the race to 43 laps – however, Hülkenberg ended up not being able to start and although Sainz drove the race, retired in lap 32 due to power unit failure. After the green light, Hamilton got a good start off pole position, but team mate Rosberg was not so lucky, he got overtaken by Bottas, Ricciardo and Perez in one shot! Vettel quickly moved up three places to sixth. First retirement of the race was Maldonado, who hit a curb fairly hard in the first lap and cited power unit failure. Next retirement was Ricciardo in lap 19 with electrical problems. Hamilton remained in the lead, followed by Rosberg, Vettel, Grosjean, Daniil Kvyat and Perez. Hamilton continued to extend his lead over team mate Rosberg, to 7.4 seconds by lap 32.
With just over 10 laps left in the race, Vettel started putting the pressure on Rosberg. But he in turn was pressured by Grosjean, who was eager to get a podium finish. At this point, Hamilton’s lead was 4.6 seconds, but Vettel’s gap with Rosberg a massive 20 seconds. By lap 41, both Mercedes drivers reported power problems and then the unthinkable happened. Vettel suffered a hug rear tyre blow out and he was suddenly out of the race. This was a lucky break for Grosjean, who finished in third place and Mercedes yet again posted a 1-2 finish. Needless to say Vettel had a few words to say after the race to tyre supplier Pirelli.
The top five Drivers’ Championship standings remained unchanged. Hamilton remained in first place with 227 points, followed by team mate Rosberg with 199 points. Vettel remains in third place with 160 points and Raikkonen in fourth place with 82 points. This still left two drivers yet to score points this season: Roberto Merhi and Will Stevens.
The top four Constructors’ Championship standings also remained unchanged – Lotus-Mercedes moved up one place to fifth. Mercedes continued to charge ahead, aided with the 1-2 finish and now with a total of 426 points – this is 184 points ahead of second place Ferrari, who are in second place with 242 points and Williams-Mercedes in third place with 161 points. Red Bull remained in fourth place in 108 points. Lotus-Mercedes’ third place finish in Belgium moved them up into fifth place with 50 points. Only one team had yet to score any points, Marussia-Ferrari.
Full Race Results
- Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1:23:40.387s
- Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) +2.058s
- Romain Grosjean (Lotus-Mercedes) +37.988s
- Daniil Kvyat (Red Bull-Renault) +45.692s
- Sergio Perez (Force India-Mercedes) +53.997s
- Felipe Massa (Williams-Mercedes) +55.283s
- Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) +55.703s
- Max Verstappen (Toro Rosso-Renault) +56.076s
- Valtteri Bottas (Williams-Mercedes) +1:01.040s
- Marcus Ericsson (Sauber-Ferrari) +1:31.234s
- Felipe Nasr (Sauber-Ferrari) +1:42.311s
- Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) retired, lap 42
- Fernando Alonso (McLaren-Honda) +1 lap
- Jenson Button (McLaren-Honda) +1 lap
- Roberto Merhi (Marussia-Ferrari) +1 lap
- Will Stevens (Marussia-Ferrari) +1 lap
- Carlos Sainz Jr. (Toro Rosso-Renault) retired, lap 32
- Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull-Renault) retired, lap 19
- Pastor Maldonado (Lotus-Mercedes) retired, lap 1
- Nico Hülkenberg (Force India-Mercedes) retired, lap 0