Grand Prix 2022 Belgian Grand Prix Practice, Qualifying & Race Discussion

The summer break is over, F1 is back. Hooray! The first race back is at Spa. Hooray! A circuit we all think of in terms of its history, the excitement of Hakkinen versus Schumacher, which was 22 years ago. Damon Hill's win for Jordan, which was 24 years ago, and two laps behind the safety car last year, in the pissing rain, as the FIA worked overtime to engineer a championship win for Max Verstappen.

Let's look back at the season so far, to bring ourselves back up to speed on where we are. Ferrari have designed the fastest car, but apparently couldn't organise an orgy in a brothel as far as race strategy is concerned. That, combined with engines that like to lunch themselves, has resulted in a miserly three wins for team leader Charles le Clerc, and one for journey man Carlos Sains jnr.

Mercedes went "big" on the new aero regulations and managed to produce a pig in a poke. Their "zero pod" concept (someone please tell me who comes up with these nonsense names) has resulted in a car which bounces up and down more than Stormy Daniels on a night in with Donald Trump. Even the greatest F1 driver of all time (probably), Lewis Hamilton, has been unable to make the car manage more than a few podium places. Meanwhile, everyone has been getting very excited at George Russell dragging his silver machine (I, just took a ride...) in the top 6 at every race, except at the one he probably wanted to.

Red Bull, as Red Bull do, have worked carefully and diligently to exploit the regulations to their fullest extent (this is not meant in a pejorative way) and at the beginning of the season had a competitive car in which both drivers could challenge for race wins. As they developed the car they discovered a way to make it go faster in the hands of Max Verstappen, so decided that was the best way to go (this is meant in a pejorative way). Max has now won more than half the races this season and looks almost certain to win his second Drivers Championship (or first, depending on your opinion of 2021).

What about the "also rans"? McLaren look to have the fourth best car, but Daniel Ricciardo has lost his mojo and spends most weekends driving round slowly looking for it. Lando Norris continues to impress, in particular (it appears) himself. It's not often an F1 driver seems so self-effacing. With Danny Ric pondering his future Alpine have worked their up to fourth in the team championship. And just as the team seems to be getting it's shit together, to build for the future, that paragon of team harmony, Fernando Alonso, has decided to bugger off to Aston Martin. Presumably after Lawrence Stroll waved a big suitcase of dollars under the Spaniard's nose. If only he knew they were Canadian Dollars.

Old big 'ead started the season blindingly at Alfa Romeo, revitalised after his period as butler to Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes. As the season has progressed his rookie teammate has started to catch him up. Quiet how long Valterri can continue to command a seat in F1 remains to be seen, but then there are worse drivers than him in a Formula one car at the moment. Which leads us to Williams. Just wow, how can a team have fallen so low from the heights they achieved in the 1980's and 90's. One journey man driver and one pay driver, neither of whom look even close to being of a suitable standard to be in an F1 car, and they can't even be bothered to paint the car so it looks like a Williams. The sooner the venture capital company flog it on the better. Either that or cut their loses and put a once great F1 team out of its misery. Perhaps Andretti should take the easy route in to F1 and buy the Grove team.

Time for some bad mouthing of another team, however I shall do no such thing about Haas and Kevin Magnussen. There aren't many positives to come out of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, but this is one. K Mag has been a delight, and his performances have shown just how bad things have got in F1 when a man who you probably wouldn't even trust to drive a taxi can buy a place in a Grand Prix car. Good riddance Nikita Mazepin. The other bloke at Haas really needs to up his game to justify his seat is beyond having a famous surname.

The last two. Alpha Tauri seem to have taken over from Red Bull in attempting to destroy the career of Pierre Gasly. Such a talented driver, such a crap team. I really hope he gets a move to Alpine, or someone else, to revitalise his time in F1. Yuki Tsunoda, however, seems to have found his level. Last, and probably least, Aston Martin. How long can the Stroll family drag this famous car brand down before we all cry "stop now, it's already dead"? Sebastian Vettel deserved better than this for the twilight of his career, Lance Stroll probably doesn't. Hope you enjoy your time in a British Racing green car Fernando!

If you have a subscription to Sky, here are the timings of the coverage. If you don't, look it up yourselves.

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The race is scheduled to take place over 44 laps, 42 more than last year (hopefully), and no sprint race. Hooray!
 
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cider_and_toast

Exulted Lord High Moderator of the Apex
Staff Member
Premium Contributor
I remember seeing Big Daddy wrestle someone looking like that on World of Sport on a Saturday afternoon.

Is it Kendo Nagasaki?
1_VARIOUS.jpg
 

racecub

Champion Elect
The Merc much better in race trim, a shame Lewis was out so early,
that said 😴, boring race.
perhaps we’ve been spoilt by some good races this year.
 

Il_leone

World Champion
This was a crushing defeat for the entire field the fact that Verstappen took a penalty and still won just shows you how dominant Red Bull was. So just how much additional money can Red Bull spend from the increased budget cap then?
 
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F1Brits_90

Champion Elect
max verstappen that was incredible, i would have to go back to sebastian vettel 2013 & schumacher 2004 for the last time i saw such domination in all qualifying & the race. absolutely untouchable, he was a second quicker than everyone. Verstappen doesn't have to finish on the podium for the rest of the season. it really is, when not if he clinches his 2nd world title. (edit - done some predicting, Max verstappen for me is world champion in japan)

lewis very disappointed you want to defend him but he was 100% at fault even Hamilton admitted this, he took too much speed into the corner & alonso cant just disappear
 
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Il_leone

World Champion
max verstappen that was incredible, i would have to go back to sebastian vettel 2013 & schumacher 2004 for the last time i saw such domination in all qualifying & the race. absolutely untouchable, he was a second quicker than everyone. Verstappen doesn't have to finish on the podium for the rest of the season. it really is, when not if he clinches his 2nd world title. (edit - done some predicting, Max verstappen for me is world champion in japan)

lewis very disappointed you want to defend him but he was 100% at fault even Hamilton admitted this, he took too much speed into the corner & alonso cant just disappear
I remember Mansell 1992 .

It was obvious after 5 laps who was going to win. Perez was a distant 2nd and Ferrari have fluffed up again with a ridiculous pit stop strategy for fastest lap and cost Leclerc more points
 

cider_and_toast

Exulted Lord High Moderator of the Apex
Staff Member
Premium Contributor
The Red Bull was absolutely on song here and Verstappen was untouchable in it.

There's no denying it, he's the best driver in the best all round car this season and he fully deserves his first World championship.

Let's just hope Mercedes, Ferrari or maybe one of the others can get their car right next season.
 

Chris Tea

Browser
There's no denying it, he's the best driver in the best all round car this season and he fully deserves his first World championship.
The best all round car seems to be Ferrari though. Except for Spa, Ferrari seemed to have a better balanced package in the first part of the season.
Max's talent and Ferrari's tendency to shoot their own foot made the difference so far.
 
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