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2022 Belgian Grand Prix: F1 Makes EPIC Return We All Hoped For

F1’s drama-filled weekend: Hamilton’s crash was Verstappen’s win
Andrew Goetz
August 29 2022

F1 returns after a brief summer break, picking up right where they left off. The octane was certainly high and the scene was electric at the iconic Spa-Francorchamps track, which, despite its story-filled history, until last night had a future hanging in the balance with discussions about the Belgian Grand Prix remaining on the 2023 schedule, given that the circuit’s partnership with F1 was ending after this season. (As of Sunday, F1 announced that the partnership was extended for the 2023 season.)

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Max Verstappen emerges from 14th to win yesterday’s Belgian Grand Prix (Associated Press)

Verstappen’s ultimate victory was hard-won,  taking his 9th Grand Prix win of the season thus far in a race that saw other drivers such as AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly, Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel, and Williams’ Alex Albon go home with desperately needed successes.

An Aston Martin F1 makes its way around Spa into a straightaway (Aston Martin Cognizant)

Like every Grand Prix race, there were also plenty of failures and underwhelming results elsewhere. Let’s take a look at what everyone is talking about.

Ouch - Hamilton out after first-lap crash with Fernando Alonso (The Sun)

Starting off with the winners: In one of his best performances of the year, Max Verstappen moved his Red Bull car from 14th place to first, a truly epic comeback. It truly looks like he’s going for gold in the driver’s championship, further cementing his lead over Sergio Perez and Charles Leclerc as a second title becomes more likely. In Formula 1, though, you don’t have to finish first place in order to win.

Competition happens all over the track regardless of place, and any improvement in performance is a success for the driver and team at large. After suffering some issues just before the formation lap, forcing him to pit his AlphaTauri, Gasly’s 100th Grand Prix race ultimately ended with him finishing 9th place, earning points for the first time since the Grand Prix in Baku.

Vettel delivered Aston Martin the most points since Baku, who is now trailing AlphaTauri by a mere 5 points. Although he is satisfied with his 8th-place finish, he wishes to improve his performance in qualifying with the hopes of starting higher on the grid.

As for Alex Albon, he was able to score a point after finishing 10th in a surprisingly good performance for the Williams team.

Lewis Hamilton in the garage after being knocked out of the race (Mercedes-AMG Petronas)

The sunny Sunday at Spa-Francorchamps was not-so-sunny after all for Alfa Romeo, Mercedes, and Ferrari, a team that continues their losing streak. Alfa has seen its fair share of news recently, stating that it will not only end its partnership with Sauber at the end of next year but also that its star driver Valtteri Bottas is looking to be a prospect for the Audi F1 team that’s set to join the league within the next few years. That was off the track, so what happened on the track? Bottas’s Alfa was unable to finish the race, leading to a DNF that was caused by engine overheating and cooling issues. Alfa made the decision to pit Bottas in order to save their engine and hopefully fix the problem before it got any worse.


Yesterday’s Belgian Grand Prix: In terms of sparks, the race did not disappoint (Crash)

As for Mercedes, Hamilton has a bit of a losing streak when it comes to Spa. Throughout his career, Hamilton was forced five separate times to leave a race after only the first lap, with three of the five occurring at Spa. On Sunday, that streak continued. Hamilton was involved in a collision with Fernando Alonso that took him out of the race. Alonso, who ultimately finished in 5th, shared harsh words with Hamilton who ultimately took the blame, explaining that Alonso was in his blind spot unnoticed as Hamilton began to turn. After touching Alonso’s car, Hamilton shot up into the air and landed outside of the chicane turn, a collision that also forced Lance Stroll to swerve off the track as well. Hamilton also shared that he was desperately working in the AMG garage past midnight to fix some issues he experienced during qualifying that culminated in poor performance.

Charles Leclerc at Spa just before facing a forced pit stop (Ferrari)

 Ferrari continues to face setbacks as their 2022 season drags on. Charles Leclerc’s luck was running on empty the entire weekend, facing penalty after penalty that forced him to start in a dismal 15th place. Even after moving up to 9th, his visor tear-off that became lodged inside of his brake duct forced him to the pits due to sensor failure, which also caused him to exceed the pit lane speed limit, giving Leclerc another 5-second penalty. In the end, Leclerc finished 6th place.

The summer break is officially over for F1, but it seems as if the heatwave just rolled in. What an epic return to F1 racing this was. As the world-class sport continues to grow in the U.S. and across the globe, stay tuned for more updates in F1 and across the auto industry.

When words don’t suffice - there’s always champagne (The Guardian)




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