It was a weekend for everyone at Spa. What should have been a yield from a month of summer holidays turned into a weekend at which the young Formula 2 driver Anthoine Hubert was injured in a accident on Saturday evening.
For those who did not know him, Anthoine Hubert had been a rising star on the ladder to Formula 1. Anthoine took to the race track winning the French F4 name in his first season of racing although his Father Francois had been a rally driver.
Drivers: We raced for Hubert
The Frenchman won the GP3 Championship last season and has been rewarded with a contract using the Driver Academy of the Renault F1 team. Anthoine instantly impressed winning on property in France and Monaco and graduated to F2, and has been in line for a seat with one of the best teams at the series for second year.
I didn’t know Anthoine – he had been a popular and lovely man, although I had just met him a few occasions in the paddock with some mutual friends. I interviewed Charles Leclerc after Qualifying at the Skypad neither of us understood how terrible it was and when the accident happened in fact that it was. You were advised by the reaction from greats such as Lewis Hamilton and Alain Prost we are nowadays when we lose a motorist.
There were a lot of people in the paddock – in our Sky F1 team – and on societal media who had been wondering how drivers can carry on accepting the risks and driving through the same corners at high speeds. This ability to detach from the world when you place your helmet , and concentrate is what makes racing drivers unique.
Where somebody was killed, I’ve been lucky that in 18 decades of driving race cars, I been involved in a race. That was Allan Simonsen at Le Mans in 2013 and that I remember hearing about it as I’d set my helmet and get in the car and my team-mate Brendon Hartley came into the pits for me to shift . The fact that keep focused for another 22 hours and I had to drive off meant that I – and the rest of the drivers at the race – managed to carry on driving flat out we were taking.
It is a defence mechanism which racing drivers engage in their brain. That feeling of’it won’t happen to people’ but every so often we are reminded by the game of the risks lurking just around the corner.
If you speak with Sir Jackie Stewart in regards to the age he raced in, he will tell you losing friends and competitions almost on a monthly basis was not uncommon and it’s thanks to people like the FIA that we have not lost as many motorists in recent times. There’ll be a full evaluation of course and there will be lessons which everyone is able to learn but regrettably motor sport is dangerous and each and every driver – Anthoine comprised – accepts the dangers.
In terms of the Grand Prix itself, it was great to watch Charles Leclerc finally get. He has driven all through this season and following the disappointment of losing potential wins in Bahrain, Baku and Austria, it was good to see him finally get one online. Charles was catastrophic in Qualifying, beating on his four-time World Champion team mate for this time and the sixth Qualifying by a of a moment.
At the race that he managed to break away from Sebastian with far better tyre administration and pace. It turned out to be a performance although it got a little tricky in the ending when Hamilton started to close down the gap.
More downforce was running than Ferrari and of course made it difficult for them to overtake. Additionally, it meant that they and we had very good speed and a cat and mouse game in which one car was quicker than another at various parts of the 40, respectively.
There is not a lot more that Mercedes might have done – perhaps a stop one lap earlier would have decreased the deficit with a few seconds into Leclerc but it is not actually a race that they can be criticised by you .
Vettel seemed to endure from tyre degradation more than his young team-mate and also I wonder whether maybe Ferrari could have attempted to run a bit more downforce merely to assist him at the twistier middle sector of their lap because the benefit they had about the complete power run during the first industry was absolutely enormous.
As soon as we go to Monza weekend, then Ferrari must have more of an advantage. There are corners than we have just a long corners that’s the point where the Mercedes’ front end grip is a step that is fantastic greater than the red cars. They’d need to do following 21, something quite wrong not to provide a victory!
Lando Norris was unlucky not to find a fantastic outcome time the location was endured by Alex Albon after a drive from 17th on the grid in the end. The Thai driver did a great job on his first outing with the team – he was three tenths slower than Max Verstappen at Qualifying before he donned his lap at the conclusion due to this grid penalties that was a very good attempt for his first semester in the vehicle.
In the racehe then made solid improvement in the second half to record a career best outcome and bided his time on.
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