Grand Prix 2016 Belgian Grand Prix Practice, Qualifying & Race Discussion

People have different opinions about most of the F1 circuits but if there is something everybody agrees on is that SPA-Francorchamps circuit is great, for many their favourite.

How could it not, you've got the Ardennes forest, the very high speed, the ups and downs and iconic turns like La Source, Eau Rouge and Raidillon, Stavelot, Bus Stop. Could it be the motorsport heritage? For as long as cars have gone racing, Spa is associated with velocity. Of course at the turn of the 20th century they used the original circuit of 86km (or was it 118km?).

Even after it was shorten to 15km and then 7km, it kept its pedigree, its spirit. As the race comes closer, the anxiety continues to build in F1 fans; a 4-week summer break may be deserved for the drivers and teams but creates a void that cannot be filled with race reruns or silly season discussion. And it's mind-boggling that they have kept it as is but they've added more and more races (currently we are at 21) making each result of little relevance is the great scheme of things.

It is also Spa back in 1991 the race that saw the debut of F1 most successful driver ever, one Michael Schumacher. He never raced there before and went around the circuit in a bicycle to get to know it, before posting the best 7th time and running as high as 6th when his clutch gave up.

That was then but back to 2016, as it has been the case the past 3 years, Mercedes are the clear favourites. At the beginning of the year it seemed like this was going to be Nico Rosberg year, 4 victories in the first 4 races, a testimony of that, yet after his retirement in Spain the German has failed to recover his mojo and instead Lewis Hamilton seems destined to win his 4th championship (3rd in a row) with 6 victories in the last 7 races. It doesn’t seem likely that Rosberg is going to be a challenge for the remaining of the year which is a shame but confirms he’s not really a top-drawer driver.

Even though mathematically Mercedes can still lose the championship this year, it won’t happen and they have decided to go with a conservative approach to the race, having the fewest sets of supersoft tires. And why wouldn’t they, at the beginning of the year it seemed like Ferrari was mounting a challenge but they have clearly faded away. Also, after a stellar debut with the Scuderia last year, Sebastian Vettel seems to be at odds with the team. No longer have a quick smiled ear to ear but rather a wry one (if any); the German is conflicted by the lack of performance of his car and the off camera politics that are at play and seem to be more prevalent than ever. Almost the opposite can be said of Kimi Raikkonen who seemed to have recovered some of his flare, especially after his contract has been renewed for yet another year.

RedBull has taken over as the challenger to Mercedes but they are a few ways down the road when it comes to challenging the Silver Arrows. However the intra-team battle has been really interesting; Ricciardo the established lead and Max Verstappen the newcomer, very little separate them when it comes to qualifying and race results. If anything the young Dutch has allowed Daniel Ricciardo to shine again with superb performances in the past 2 races. Will the Aussie be able to capitalize and win a race this year? Let’s hope it is at Spa to mix it up a little bit.

Summer break also brought news of Manor racing demoting one of their drivers, Indonesian Rio Haryanto in favour of French DTM and F1 test driver Esteban Ocon, a moved caused by Haryanto’s inability to pay the 6.5 million pounds required to keep his seat. This in turn has lost Pertamina as Manor sponsor.

One of the best f1 weekends is just around the corner but the shadow of terrorism is upon it and the race organizers have made sure security takes centre stage. This is not really comforting for fans but it’s the new 2016 reality.

What are your predictions?
Jos the Boss yes I was very impressed with Alonso's drive. I Don't think he's been as good as people have said he's been this season but the drive on Sunday was faultless. Best I've seen him in years. It would have been interesting to see how Button had compared.
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They were both obvious blocking moves meant to keep the other driver behind. Is there a valid reason they shouldn't be compared?
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RasputinLives The two incidents were completely different, in that Rosberg didn't have a frigging clue what he was doing and Verstappen was fully cognisant of his actions.

My feeling is that Verstappen is entirely predictable and that selling him a dummy will pay dividends and is the best way to deal with this behaviour until he susses it out and formulates a new modus operandi.
Having been away for the weekend I've not seen the Verstappen incident.

As for comparing previous incidents, it's always interesting to contrast but it depends on what you're looking for?

If you are looking to contrast purely to castigate one driver and ignore the potentially similar negative qualities displayed by another or to establish a controversial argument for the purpose of inviting criticism, then the only outcome would be confrontational in nature.

There are however, a number of factors that could be compared. Motive, cause, outcome, peer comments, wider opinion etc.

All of this should be undertaken to the letter of and not just the spirit of, the site rules

Or I will have no hesitation in inviting people to take a short break from posting.


C_A_T the moderator.
I've not been on this thread since the Grand Prix, but thinking back, I can't think of a race where the stewards were so inactive. I can think of three incidents that would have been investigated at previous races:
  • First corner incident
  • Alonso's possibly unsafe release, and certainly unsafe behaviour at the pitlane exit
  • Max Verstappen's chop across the front of Raikonnen.
  • Someone (I think it was Verstappen) barging the Williams of Massa out of the way, leaving tyre marks on the sidepod
Normally, I would have expected to have seen, at the very least, a notification, on screen, of "Incident involving cars... being investigated" - but I don't recall seeing any! Were the stewards just having a nice nap all afternoon?

Having looked at the FIA site, the only incident they penalised, or looked at, was Nasr gaining an advantage between turns 5 and 6.
Rosberg didn't have a frigging clue what he was doing.

I certainly don't believe that, and Nico himself claims the contrary. And even if that were the case, I can't see how that makes it any better.

There are however, a number of factors that could be compared. Motive, cause, outcome, peer comments, wider opinion etc.

Quite right. Comparing blocking incidents from the same season is incredibly commonplace. And if Rosberg avoided a penalty in Spain then there is absolutely no way Max was going to receive one in Belgium. Especially when you consider the drastically different outcomes.
I have to say at one point during this race I thought Hulkenberg was finally going to break that podium duck of his. Still his best drive in ages.

One thing that's not been talked about much was how the length of time it took for the red flag to come out effected the race. It basically promoted those who didn't use the safety car to stop for tyres. I know it's the luck of the draw but wouldn't it be better to do a full grid start again in the running order of the lap prior to the accident?
Lewis was's "Driver of the Day" for Belgium - Vote

I will admit that coming from the back of the grid to the podium is quite some feat but I'm not sure his performance deserves this accolade. Fernando's 7th, in the shit box McLaren, from dead last was pretty damn good. Both the Force India drivers did pretty well. Danii Kyvat and Jolyon Plamer both finished (which must be some sort of record) and Estaban Ocon managed to get to the end without making a dick of himself.

Just goes to show that these polls are, ultimately, meaningless really. Anyway, well done to Lewis with a great piece of damage limitation. Do you think the silence between him and Nico in the cool down area was more Rosberg wondering "what the **** are you doing here?".
On engine penalties the solution is absurdly simple. One place = 1 second if the place can not be dropped due to running out of grid spots.

So, lets say you qualify on pole but have to take a 50 grid space drop. You drop 22 spots to the back of the grid and start the race from the pitlane where you will be held for 28 seconds before being alowed to start.

Simple !!!
But why should the penalty be at the beginning of the race? After all, a safety car would wipe out that 28 seconds gap...

My personal view is that it should be a case of "You are allowed to install a maximum of 2 engines per weekend. If both go bang, then sorry sonny, your weekend is over!". After all, if an engine lets go during the race, it's game over; why should it be any different in, say, qualifying.
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