Grand Prix 2020 Belgian Grand Prix Practice, Qualifying & Race Discussion

In an age where we talk of Tilkedrome's and debate which one of the three potential layouts of Bahrain will result in the least boring race, we should be grateful that we still have the outstanding Spa-Francorchamps circuit. Much like "The Ring" it remains a cut down version of its former glory however, what a glory it still is.

In the 60's Jim Clark won here 4 years in a row and taking a look at the list of past winners reveals multiple Spa victories by the cream of F1's world champions.

The old circuit as used in F1 from 1950 until the early 70's was 8.76 miles long and contained 21 turns. One turn, the Masta Kink, was once described by Jackie Stewart as the most difficult corner in the world. It was here in 1966 that Stewart's BRM left the track and ended up upside down in the cellar of the farmhouse on the outside of the corner. Footage of this race was used in John Frankenheimer's F1 film "Grand Prix".

One of the most astonishing performances by a driver in an F1 race occured here in 1963 by Jim Clark. Starting from 8th on the grid he roared away from the line and immediately took the lead which he proceeded to hold for the entire race. As the race progressed the conditions became more and more difficult with the last laps taking place in torential rain. Clark however, had lapped the entire field with the exception of second placed Bruce McLaren who Clark lead home by almost 5 minutes.

Pathe news captured the event (there is no sound with this clip)


Due to a number of incidents and growing safety concerns the track remained off the calender until the mid 80's when it returned in a stripped down form in the layout we know today. There have been a number of minor changes since then but the layout remains more or less the same. Today the most famous corner has to be Eau Rouge and although F1 cars now take this flat out due to the ever increasing levels of grip this has only been the case recently, prior to this it's provided some memorable moments.

One of the most well known was the bet between Zonta and Villeneuve in 1999 about which of the two of them could take Eau Rouge flat out. Resulting in both of them crashing in qualification:


Given that Spa rewards brave drivers who can maximise the performance of their cars, there really can only be one winner here this weekend and that will be Lewis Hamilton. The midfield battle should be as engaging as ever with a number of drivers looking at the top end of the points. If it rains then it could be game on for any number of drivers.

Either way, Spa often provides some of the best races of the season. Lets hope it's that way again.
 

Titch

Champion Elect
Premium Contributor
Exhausts often fall of road cars, but I would guess it wasn’t that type of problem on the McLaren
 

RasputinLives

Leave me alone I'm on Smoko
Contributor
Really enjoyed this today. I've been struggling to sleep over last week or so and it wasn't long after the lights went out that my eyes closed on their own and I had a lovely nap. It was made even better by the fact that I had no need to rewind it after I woke up because I knew who the top 3 were going to be before the race even started.

5 sleepy stars!
 

FB

Not my cup of cake
Valued Member
In the pre-race build up on 5 live there was a conversation about Hamilton's qualie lap (I didn't bother with qualifying, it was Record Store Day so far more important). Jenny Gow was talking about how Lewis was "in the zone" on his pole lap and how it was almost "super human". The sick coming up in my mouth at the sycophancy of the discussion was soon quelled and replaced by fits of laughter when she asked Jolyon Palmer what it was like to be in that zone, when taking pole.

Poor Jolyon tried hard to give a serious answer. It was clear he might have been in "a zone" at some time but never "the zone". Even Jack Nichols had to make a sarcastic comment.

Back to the race, what a load of crap.
 

F1Brits_90

Race Winner
it wasnt as bad as spain but it wasnt a classic. cant we all just have 2020 Mercedes next yr. for the last year before 2022 & have some excitement in 2021

interesting that the bottas has won 8 races in his almost 4 years & even if he won the next 7 races if lewis came 2nd. Lewis would still have the lead come Bahrain
 
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Brogan

🦶 Leg end
Staff Member
In the pre-race build up on 5 live there was a conversation about Hamilton's qualie lap (I didn't bother with qualifying, it was Record Store Day so far more important). Jenny Gow was talking about how Lewis was "in the zone" on his pole lap and how it was almost "super human". The sick coming up in my mouth at the sycophancy of the discussion was soon quelled
According to some it was a rather good lap.

His pole lap in Belgium on Saturday, the foundation for his win, was a work of art. Team boss Toto Wolff called it "extra-terrestrial". Others in Mercedes felt it was one of the best they had ever seen from him.
 

Galahad

Not a Moderator
Valued Member
It was dire. Bottas being told that he could use the overtake mode, but not against his team mate - the only car ahead of him - might be a new low?

Bottas, Albon, Ocon are all wasting their seats at this point. So is Vettel, but given how far behind both Ferraris were it scarcely matters.
 

F1Brits_90

Race Winner
i knew it was dire for bottas when something happened on lap 2. ive never hear before in my 22yrs.

brundle was actively cheering against the British driver on british TV "go on bottas, give us a race" which to be fair i have no issue with. ive said im a big fan of Hamilton as hes British. but he's so dominant there no joy. but that bit of commentary for me stuck out because it shows far his reputation has dropped. commentary has started patronising Bottas because they know that he isnt a threat anymore. when if Hamilton wins next Sunday. (on basis Hamilton would be 2nd) bottas would have to win all remaining races to become world champion
 
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Il_leone

Champion Elect
It was dire. Bottas being told that he could use the overtake mode, but not against his team mate - the only car ahead of him - might be a new low?

Bottas, Albon, Ocon are all wasting their seats at this point. So is Vettel, but given how far behind both Ferraris were it scarcely matters.
I thought Ocon did well today and bear in mind he was out for 1 season
 

Il_leone

Champion Elect
i knew it was dire for bottas when something happened on lap 2. ive never hear before in my 22yrs.

brundle was actively cheering against the British driver on british TV "go on bottas, give us a race" which to be fair i have no issue with. ive said im a big fan of Hamilton as hes British. but he's so dominant there no joy. but that bit of commentary for me stuck out because it shows far his reputation has dropped. commentary has started patronising Bottas because they know that he isnt a threat anymore. when if Hamilton wins next Sunday. (on basis Hamilton would be 2nd) bottas would have to win all remaining races to become world champion
I think Bottas is almost racing to be 2nd in the championship given he was too cautious at the start to have a go at Hamilton. As much as Hamilton is dominant , Bottas has no answer to his relentlessness
 

Titch

Champion Elect
Premium Contributor
Once again I found stuff on my iPad that was way more interesting than the race, so the race just droned on in the background. I’m looking forward to a race that grabs my attention.
 

Dartman

Podium Finisher
The problem is not that Hamilton is unbeatable, we have had other unbeatable drivers, Fangio, Clark, Schumacher (team orders), the differnce is that reliability due to the engine and gearbox rules, single tyre manufacturer with stupid life spans, the aero is so controlled that just a out any car could be mistaken for any other if you changed the paint job. Time to free up the rules on inovation,
Colin Chapman would have given up 10 years ago as any new inovation is ruled illegal, whether it be aero or engine, Ferrari had a quick engine but deemed illegal, the only illegality should be oversized capacity, upto the team if it is overstretched.
Forget all the green crap, the pollution is infinitesimal compared to the spectators travel to the venue or even moving the circus around the world, it's a sport like any sport or event there is pollution attached to it, just get on and race with the best drivers and out of the box engineers, the tracks are so sanitised with run off areas that safety is no longer a concern regarding speed.
 

RasputinLives

Leave me alone I'm on Smoko
Contributor
I find it amusing that there seems to be a view that the tyre life is contributing to boring races when the only interesting race we had all season was because of the tyre life. The teams want it changed so it's one less unpredictable factor in their calculations. Don't do their job for them.
 

Dartman

Podium Finisher
I think there is a difference between life and unable to take the stress of the race and disintegrate, perhaps the should be markers that show whe the must be changed, in the past you stopped when the canvas showed, after that you were an accident waiting to happen.
 
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RasputinLives

Leave me alone I'm on Smoko
Contributor
As discussed previously Pirreli designed a new bunch of tyres specifically for this season due to the fact they believed this year's cars would disintegrate these tires too quickly. The teams rejected them and now are making out it Pirreli's fault. Neither fans nor media want to hold them accountable for this even though it's very easy to find information. It doesn't tell the right story you see.

I'm sure in the wave of team criticism and fan out cry Pirelli will design a tyre for next year that doesn't really go off - thus eliminating the variable the teams dislike. They have been trying to do this for years. More variables mean better racing. The teams don't really want better racing. They want to be able to predict everything.

Mercedes would like every Grand Prix to be a duplicate of Spa. Don't believe them when they go on about the show. If Man City win 4-0 you never hear them say they wished they'd won 2-1 with a last minute goal do you? You'd laugh at them if they did.

Sorry. Bit ranty today.
 
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F1Brits_90

Race Winner
RasputinLives is annoyingly correct ;)

but i came to conclusion that F1 few weeks ago weirdly at the 1st british gp that its going to be mostly crap. entertainment wise not talent wise, as lewis is proving he is 1 of best 5 drivers of last 40 years, mercedes have built an amazing car. but we are all on pause until 2022 F1 is just too broken too many factors have come to a head this year , i just got to accept it 🙁 & in a way F1 got alot in common with coronavirus. its a long & painful road. but hopefully there light at the end of the tunnel

sorry to start the day on a downer 😀
 
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RasputinLives

Leave me alone I'm on Smoko
Contributor
Just to finish my rant. There is not really much point laying the blame at the door of Mercedes either. Whilst I object and detest the business wall street type manoeuvres the teams pull off and the blatent lies in the press, there is, in fact only one place to lay the blame for the decline in the sport and that is the FIA.

It is the FIA's job to run and dictate the sport - not Liberty Medias (despite what they might tell you) and they need to get a grip on it. In fact they needed to get a grip on it about a decade ago. Letting the teams dictate the sport has led us to where we are now. We need an FIA that is not afraid to lose a big few names for the greater good. However I don't think we are going to get that. It's almost like they have given up on trying to rule F1 and are just pretending it's nothing to do with them.

As for the rule changes - F1Brits_90 I admire your optimism, I used to have that too - but all they will do is put another of the big 3 (or the same one) at the front for a few years, no one will really gain on them but it will be made out like they have, then a few years in they'll make some more rules changes (they will be the biggest changes the sport has ever seen blah blah blah) and then round we go again. Been like that since 2009.
 
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