McLaren's Schmeval has won a chaotic Belgian Grand Prix at the famous Circuit De Spa-Francorchamps as weather played havoc once again with the field. Qualifying saw dry conditions, but with the likelyhood of rain for the race, car setup would be critical and getting the balance just right for the race would be difficult.
McLaren and Williams were at it again as both teams looked like the ones to battle for pole after setting competative times in Friday night practice. Schmeval was the first to answer with a 1:45.825, nearly a second quicker than in practice, however Flukey quickly responded setting the bar even lower with a 1:45.350, a full 4 tenths quicker. The Williams driver capturing his 4th career pole by some margin. Force India continued their excelent single lap pace with 3rd after DaZzA set the quickest time in the 1:46's. While still a full second off the pace the he was comfortably in front of the McLaren of Tof in 4th.
Mercedes continued their excelent form as both Jasegp and steve088 locked out the 3rd row with 5th and 6th. It's been a revival of sorts over at Mercedes with the signing of Jasegp and the return of steve088 to the grid, and their excelent form has been the result of hard work as both works Mercedes drivers look equally matched. Likewise at Ferrari Intense and Mod locked out the 4th row, the pair separated by just 2 one hundreths. Loose in the Lotus was in 9th, but likely running a wet weather setup as was WebbyMoto for Force India rounding out the top 10.
The race would see a dry start as most got off the line cleanly. Small contact with what looked like the Red Bull of Flouncy and the Lotus of Loose nearly saw a dramatic accident out of turn one. With the Lotus sideways on the La Source straight. The Red Bull of Flouncy managed to keep his car intact after nearly sending it skyward out of the Les Combes chicane. It didn't take long for the rain to come as by lap 3 drizzle started to fall as teams now had to make the decision on tire strategy.
By lap 5 it was raining hard as the full wet tire was now the best tire. Lotus took advantage of putting on the full wet on their first stop allowing them to leap frog some cars in the pits. The battle for the lead was still between both the Williams and McLaren as nothing separated them in the opening stints. With the race looking to be won or lost in the pits it would be the McLaren garage who would nail their strategy edging out the Williams getting their car in front. However Flukey closed the gap and by the closing stages looked like passing Schmeval.
However some of the reliability issues that troubled the McLaren in Germany started to appear and with the Williams in good points scoring position was told by his team to back off. The story of the round was no doubt however Mercedes as they enjoyed their strongest race to date as Jasegp claimed only his second podium since China in season 5 with a gutsy and well judged drive, managing to hold off a fast charging Loose in the Lotus who made good use of setup and strategy to recover from his opening lap damage to finish 4th. Steve088 in the sister Mercedes also enjoyed a solid return with 5th, while WebbyMoto for Force India continues to score solidly since his return. It was a mixed day for McLaren has ToF finished 7th, while Ferrari with Intense finished 8th but had to retire his team-mate with a damaged steering wheel. Atomic Lambo finished in the points again for 9th as Eradicator after his podium finish in Hungary was 10th.
In only his second podium of his career we have to award drive of the round to Jasegp who backed up his excellent qualifying pace with 3rd.
|9||10||Atomic Lambo||Lotus||+1 lap||21||01:55.847||12||2|
|11||16||E.T.||Red Bull||+1 lap||21||01:56.625||13||0|
|13||15||Flouncy||Red Bull||+1 lap||21||01:55.753||11||0|
|DNF||8||DaZzA||Force India||+22 laps||0||01:54.054||3||0|