2022 Belgium Thoughts
THE BIG PICTURE: Who knew that during the summer break, the most action of the year would occur? Retirements, shock team switches, soon to be rookies spurning offers, firings, and enough legal wrangling to fill a law library. Now, we're back to that mundane racing stuff...
EVENT: Spa will be back. Spa will be back! Spa. Will. Be. Back.
TRACK: Changes for safety without messing with the character. Brilliant. And the sand traps eliminated the track limit whining, though it did increase the likelihood of a full course yellow.
QUALIFYING: Verstappen wins qualifying, but not pole. The number twos (Sainz, Perez) line up on the front row. Former teammate foes (Alonso, Hamilton) are on the second row. Friends from their junior days (Russell, Albon) grab the third row. Ricciardo still struggles on his way out. Bottas' streak ends as he doesn't make it out of Q1 for the first time since Monaco 2015.
RACE: Once Verstappen took the lead -- well, actually before that -- it was over. However, the track and midfield battles saved the day.
START: Perez's angular attack fails miserably, Alonso finds himself in second until Hamilton moves down on him reigniting 2007, all while Sainz pulls away.
VERSTAPPEN: Sure, it's nice to have the fastest car, but combined with the maturity Max has shown this year compared to the past should make the rest of the field shake in their racing boots.
PEREZ: Started 12 spots ahead of his teammate, and finished nearly 18 seconds behind Verstappen. That's got to sting.
RED BULL: They timed the engine penalty perfectly. Now, expect them to do the same for Perez (as Ferrari will for Sainz) at Monza.
SAINZ: In some ways, Carlos was lucky to hold onto third.
LECLERC: Forget about first. Charles is now in third.
FERRARI: Let's see, what unique way can we screw up the strategy this week...?
RUSSELL: George just continues to string together those top fives.
HAMILTON: Good thing Lewis owned up to it, because that was a colossal screw up.
MERCEDES: So much for the new regulations helping them out.
ALONSO: So, Fernando, you really want to go to Aston Martin? Oh, that's right, you "enjoy" making the wrong moves at the wrong time.
PIASTRI: Pretty ballsy behavior for a guy who has never turned an F1 lap in a race.
ALPINE: Their moment of reckoning comes this week.
VETTEL: Back to a strong drive.
ALBON: The rocketship straight line speed sure helped Alex out this weekend.
RICCIARDO: So sad. But Daniel just wasn't working at McLaren.
BOTTAS: Got Latifi-ed. The wrong birthday present.
LATIFI: So much for the self proclaimed "judge me on the next three races" in trying to keep his ride.
AUDI: Welcome back to grand prix racing since the days of Auto Union.
F2: Liam Lawson went from fifth to first inside the first two laps to win the sprint race. Jack Doohan won the feature race while Brazilian Felipe Drugovich extended his points lead.
F3: Just two points separates the top three: Isack Hadjar (106), Oliver Bearman (105), and Victor Martins (104). While Arthur Leclerc is three points behind third. There are two weekends left so four races: Zandvoort and Monza.
WORD OF THE WEEKEND: Comeback.
STAT OF THE WEEKEND: 0 -- The amount of rain which fell on Sunday which equated to 100% racing.
HISTORICAL STAT OF THE WEEKEND: The last time a driver won a race starting from 10th on the grid or lower in back to back races was long ago -- the season finale in 1959 (USGP at Sebring) and the 1960 opener (Argentine GP). Bruce McLaren in a Cooper-Climax started 10th in America and took the lead when Jack Brabham ran out of fuel 400 yards from the finish. In South America, McLaren started 13th before winning by over 26 seconds. In both races, Stirling Moss had the pole. In both years, Brabham won the world championship. Typical in those days, many of the spots McLaren gained were due to mechanical misfortunes of his opponents.
TWEET OF THE WEEKEND: The official Formula 1 account tweeting what was music to the ears of all F1 fans -- BREAKING: The #BelgianGP will return in 2023.
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND: Fernando Alonso showed what he perhaps actually feels about Lewis Hamilton after their first lap collision, bringing back dark memories of 2007, "This guy only knows how to drive when starting first."
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND RUNNERUP: George Russell nailed it after qualifying,
"Max will slice through and win the race probably pretty comfortably. He and Red Bull are miles ahead of everyone."
SCHEDULE: We go from the Orange Wave at Spa to the Orange Tsunomi at Zandvoort.
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