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The Roar

Jawad Yaqub

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Joined November 2013

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Motorsports writer, collector of caps (and fez) and one half of the 'Hit The Apex' F1 podcast. Follow me on Twitter @Doctor46th and or @HitTheApexMedia.

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Well, most of the midfield teams are doing the best job they can given the circumstances with the manufacturers dominating out front. It isn’t like a few years ago when even Sauber and Toro Rosso were sort of nothing teams and then the likes of Hispania and co weren’t even qualifying within the 107% time for the races.

The case for expanding the F1 grid

Yeah, the Mercedes junior programme isn’t really as up to scratch compared to others, as far as giving their drivers seats in F1. I am surprised that Williams didn’t earlier stick (or be told by Mercedes to) its hand up to accommodate Ocon. Both Ocon and Russell could very well comprise the line up at Williams next year.

The case for expanding the F1 grid

That’s why the idea of having that base Cosworth engine from 2021, which would be taken by McLaren and Aston Martin to be beefed up in house and badged as they please, was a really good idea. Cost wise, McLaren won’t want to develop their own power-unit in house, but if they were provided a base – they could certainly work off it. As much as their automotive business is enjoying success currently, their F1 team need to be back at the front.

McLaren's problems lie within the team and not the drivers

Given Ferrari’s strength this season, it would be great for Kimi to at least win one race in the remaining events on the calendar. But even one race seems to many, given Seb’s current championship predicament.

Ferrari drop Kimi Raikkonen to Sauber, but is it a demotion?

Not at all Keith, the coverage was fantastic. I’ve been a fan of the Fox Sports coverage since day dot and am one to say the sport has benefited from having Pay TV coverage, though hopefully when the next TV deal is done, there is more in the FTA package for the fans missing out.

The coverage has been that good on Fox Sports, that there were NASCAR bosses present for the Bend SuperSprint to investigate the Supercars TV model, to hopefully use in the US for their own product.

Supercars The Bend SuperSprint talking points

I can imagine that in the flesh that it would be even more impressive than it was through the TV images. Already from the GT race earlier in the year to the Supercars in August, the circuit has continued to develop.

Yeah, hopefully they bring the soft tyre next season given that there was no degradation with the conservative hard tyre this time.

Supercars The Bend SuperSprint talking points

That was the race that the championship needed then, with a response from Vettel and Ferrari. What will be the outcome in seven days time when F1 heads to Monza and the home race of the Scuderia?

Thanks again for tuning into this live blog of the Belgian Grand Prix on The Roar and until the next race in Italy, it’s good day!

Belgian Grand Prix: Formula One live blog

——– DRIVER’S ——–

231 – Lewis Hamilton
114 – Sebastian Vettel
146 – Kimi Räikkönen
144 – Valtteri Bottas
120 – Max Verstappen
118 – Daniel Ricciardo
52 — Nico Hulkenberg
49 — Kevin Magnussen
44 — Fernando Alonso
40 — Sergio Perez
37 — Esteban Ocon
30 — Carlos Sainz
28 — Pierre Gasly
27 — Romain Grosjean
13 — Charles Leclerc
8 — Stoffel Vandoorne
6 — Marcus Ericsson
4 — Lance Stroll
2 — Brendon Hartley
0 — Sergey Sirotkin

Belgian Grand Prix: Formula One live blog

—– CONSTRUCTOR’S —–

375 – Mercedes AMG
360 – Scuderia Ferrari
238 – Aston Martin Red Bull Racing
82 — Renault Sport
76 — Haas Ferrari
52 — McLaren Renault
30 — Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda
19 — Alfa Romeo Sauber
18 — Racing Point Force India Mercedes
4 — Williams Mercedes

Belgian Grand Prix: Formula One live blog

RACE REPORT

Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari have come out of the mid-season break firing, as they claimed an emphatic victory at the Belgian Grand Prix, to reduce the lead of Lewis Hamilton atop the championship.

Starting from second, having been out-qualified by the Mercedes AMG in a wet Q3, Vettel avoided the first lap chaos to immediately blast past Hamilton down the Kemmel Straight and then kept that lead following a Safety Car restart.

The Safety Car was brought out on the first lap, following a horrific crash involving Nico Hulkenberg, an airborne Fernando Alonso and the Sauber of Charles Leclerc, who’s Halo head protection device even suffered a whack.

All three drivers walked away from the crash, but the collateral from the first corner chaos spilled over to damage on Kimi Räikkönen’s Ferrari and even Daniel Ricciardo – who despite re-joining the race, had eventually retired.

A regulation one-stopper saw Vettel extend his lead over Hamilton to 10-seconds in the back half of the race, leaving the Silver Arrow gasping in the might of the Prancing Horse.

Max Verstappen started from seventh, but finished a lonely third, having avoided the chaos that ensued around him at the start of the race. The Dutchman, with the support of his army of fans in orange, wasted little time in passing the new Force Indias en route to the podium.

Having come to Spa as a new entry, Racing Point Force India have opened their new account with a solid fifth and sixth from Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon. With their constructor’s points having been reset to zero, the Silverstone squad has already jumped Sauber and Williams in one race.

A solid recovery effort from Valtteri Bottas has seen the Finn finish a commendable fourth, having started from seventeenth following a demotion to the rear of the grid – with a complete change of power-unit beyond the allocated three.

Double points for Haas complimented the range of midfielders who scored amidst the high-profile retirements.

Pierre Gasly was ninth for Toro Rosso, as the Honda power-unit held its own against the more powerful rivals. Brendon Hartley also proved to be competitive prior to his late stop, having had a spectacular exchange with Marcus Ericsson – who ultimately claimed the final point in tenth.

With a short turnaround to the next race in Ferrari’s backyard of Monza, Vettel has now cut Hamilton’s lead to 17-points – with the championship leader full of concern over the raw pace of the red car.

Belgian Grand Prix: Formula One live blog

POST-RACE INTERVIEWS – Hosted by Martin Brundle

VETTEL – “More wins than Alain…” “Seems like it was better this year and timing was crucial.” “As soon as I was ahead, I was relieved.”

HAMILTON – “Congratulations to Seb.” “He drove past me like I wasn’t even there on the straight.” “They have a few trick things going on in the car.”

VERSTAPPEN – “Initially it was a bit chaotic and we stayed out of trouble.” “Before we had been a bit unlucky and today I’m really happy.”

Belgian Grand Prix: Formula One live blog

RESULTS FROM THE 44-LAP BELGIAN GRAND PRIX

1 S. Vettel
2 L. Hamilton
3 M. Verstappen
4 V. Bottas
5 S. Perez
6 E. Ocon
7 R. Grosjean
8 K. Magnussen
9 P. Gasly
10 M. Ericsson
11 C. Sainz
12 S. Sirotkin
13 L. Stroll
14 B. Hartley
15 S. Vandoorne
16 D. Ricciardo
RET K. Räikkönen
RET C. Leclerc
RET F. Alonso
RET N. Hulkenberg

Belgian Grand Prix: Formula One live blog

SEBASTIAN VETTEL WINS THE BELGIAN GRAND PRIX!

It’s the championship leader in Lewis Hamilton who has to settle for second.

And in front of the adoring Belgian and Dutch fans, it is Max Verstappen who completes the podium for Red Bull.

Belgian Grand Prix: Formula One live blog

Lap 44/44:

FINAL LAP

Belgian Grand Prix: Formula One live blog

Lap 43/44:

Seb’s now all of a sudden extended his lead to 10 seconds over Hamilton! Such has been the speed advantage of the Ferrari during this race.

Belgian Grand Prix: Formula One live blog

Lap 42/44:

3 LAPS TO GO

Belgian Grand Prix: Formula One live blog

Lap 41/44:

Verstappen gets a bit of overtaking action then, albeit he is lapping the Toro Rosso!

Belgian Grand Prix: Formula One live blog

Lap 40/44:

The move complete then by Bottas going into Les Combes on this occasion. Perez drops to fifth.

Belgian Grand Prix: Formula One live blog

Lap 40/44:

5 LAPS TO GO

Belgian Grand Prix: Formula One live blog

Lap 39/44:

DRS engaged then for Bottas, as he doesn’t quite get close enough down the Kemmel Straight to Perez.

Belgian Grand Prix: Formula One live blog

Lap 38/44:

Bottas cuts the gap to Perez down to 1.5 seconds and is nearing the DRS range of the Force India.

Belgian Grand Prix: Formula One live blog

Lap 37/44:

VET HAM VER PER BOT OCO GRO MAG GAS ERI SAI SIR STR HAR VAN is the order then, with a handful of laps to go.

The retirees are Ricciardo, Räikkönen, Leclerc, Alonso and Hulkenberg.

Belgian Grand Prix: Formula One live blog

Lap 36/44:

Bottas honing in onto the Force India of Perez, with that 3 second gap coming down.

A stellar race it must be said for Force India, if they still finish fifth and sixth at the end of the race.

Belgian Grand Prix: Formula One live blog

Lap 35/44:

Hartley then had made his pit-stop a couple of laps ago and has dropped down to P14 now. A relief for Ericsson, who looks to be established in tenth now.

Belgian Grand Prix: Formula One live blog

Lap 34/44:

5 second lead now for Vettel over Hamilton, as it appears the Silver Arrow has no answer to the sheer pace of the Ferrari with 11-laps to go.

Belgian Grand Prix: Formula One live blog