It was a weekend for everyone at Spa. What should happen to be a joyous and thrilling return in the month of summer vacations turned into a weekend at which the Formula 2 driver Anthoine Hubert was hurt in a accident on Saturday.
For those who didn’t know him, Anthoine Hubert had been also a star on the ladder to transplant 1. Anthoine took to the race track instead, winning the French F4 title in his very first season of racing although his Father Francois was a rally driver.
Drivers: ” We raced for Hubert
The 22-year-old Frenchman won the GP3 Championship last year and was rewarded with a contract using the Renault F1 team’s Driver Academy. Anthoine instantly impressed winning on home soil in France and at Monaco and graduated to F2 this year, and has been in line to get a seat with a few of the best teams at the show for the following year.
I didn’t know Anthoine – I had met him a couple of times from the paddock with some mutual friends, but by most accounts he was a young guy. I had been interviewing Charles Leclerc after Qualifying in the Skypad when the accident occurred and neither of us understood how bad it was in fact that it was. The reaction from greats such as Alain Prost and Lewis Hamilton advised you we are nowadays once we shed a driver.
There were a lot of people in the paddock – even in our Sky F1 team – and also on media who had been wondering how drivers can carry on taking the risks and driving at high speeds through the same corners. This ability to disconnect from the outside world when you place your helmet on, and focus is what makes drivers unique.
I have been lucky that in 18 years of driving race cars, I been engaged in a race in which someone has been killed. That was Allan Simonsen in Le Mans in 2013 and that I remember hearing about it as I’d put my helmet on and also my team-mate Brendon Hartley was coming to shift over and put in the vehicle. Possibly the simple fact that I had to drive away and keep focused for another 22 hours meant I – and all the other drivers in the race – managed to continue driving flat out we were carrying.
It’s a defence mechanism that their brain is engaged in by drivers. That feeling of’it won’t happen to people’ but every so often the sport reminds us of the threats lurking around the corner.
If you talk with Sir Jackie Stewart regarding the era he hurried in, he’ll tell you that losing friends and competitions almost on a monthly basis was not rare and it’s thanks to people like him and the FIA that we have not lost as many motorists in recent times. There will be a complete investigation of course and there’ll be lessons which all people can learn but motor sport is dangerous and also each and every driver – Anthoine included – accepts the dangers every time we get into the cockpit of a racing car.
In terms of the Grand Prix it was fantastic to visit Charles Leclerc finally get the win he’d. He’s driven all during this year and following the chance of losing wins in Baku Bahrain and Austria, it was great to see him get one over the line. Charles was catastrophic in Qualifying, beating on his four-time World Champion team mate for this time and the sixth Qualifying with a of a second.
In the race that he managed to split apart from Sebastian with both pace and tyre administration. It was a performance when Hamilton started to close the gap down, but it all got a bit tricky at the end.
More downforce was conducting than Ferrari and of course made it hard for them to overtake. It meant they and we had great speed and a cat and mouse game where one car was obviously faster than the other at various parts of the 40, respectively.
There’s not a lot more that Mercedes might have done – possibly a fresh stop would have decreased the deficit to Leclerc by a few seconds but it is not a race that you’re able to criticise them around a great deal.
Vettel seemed to suffer with tyre degradation more than his young team-mate and also I wonder if perhaps Ferrari could have attempted to run somewhat more downforce just to help him in the twistier middle sector of the lap since the benefit they had on the full power run through the first industry was absolutely massive.
Ferrari should have more of an edge, when we go to Monza next weekend. There are corners than we have only a couple of corners that’s where the Mercedes’ front end grasp is really a step better than the red automobiles. They would need to do next 21, something very wrong to not provide a victory in front of the adoring tifosi!
Lando Norris was unlucky to not get a great effect in fifth while Alex Albon inherited the location in the conclusion after a push from 17th on the grid. The Thai driver did a good job on his first outing with the group – he was less than three tenths slower than Max Verstappen at Qualifying before he aborted his lap in the conclusion because of the grid penalties which turned out to be an excellent attempt for his first session in the vehicle.
At the race, he then made strong progress in the second half to record a result and bided his time on.
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