It was a weekend for everybody at Spa. What should have been a thrilling and joyous yield from a few summer holidays turned into a weekend in which the Formula 2 driver Anthoine Hubert was fatally injured in a accident on Saturday.
For those who did not know him, Anthoine Hubert had been a rising star on the ladder to transplant 1. His Father Francois was a rally driver however Anthoine took on the race track rather, winning the French F4 name in his first season of racing.
F1 drivers: ” We hurried for Hubert
The Frenchman won the GP3 Championship last season and has been rewarded with a contract using the Renault F1 team’s Driver Academy. Anthoine immediately impressed winning on home soil in France and Monaco and graduated to F2 this season, and was in line for a chair with one of the best teams at the show for following year.
I personally didn’t really know Anthoine – he was a man, although I had just met him a couple of times in the paddock with a few mutual friends. I had been interviewing Charles Leclerc after Qualifying in the Skypad neither of us understood how terrible it was and when the accident happened or in fact that it was a friend of his who was involved. The response from greats such as Alain Prost and Lewis Hamilton advised you precisely shaken we are these days once we lose a motorist.
There were a lot of people of the paddock – in our Sky F1 team – and on media who were wondering how motorists can carry on carrying the same risks and driving at high speeds through the very same corners. This ability to detach from the external world when you place your helmet and concentrate is what makes drivers unique.
I’ve been fortunate that in 18 years of driving race cars, I been involved in a race where somebody was killed. This was Allan Simonsen in Le Mans in 2013 and that I remember hearing about it just as I had set my helmet and get in the car and also my team-mate Brendon Hartley was coming back into the pits for me to change over. Perhaps the simple fact that I had to drive away and remain focused for the next 22 hours meant I – and all the drivers in the race – managed to carry on driving flat out without thinking of the dangers we took.
It is a defence mechanism which all racing drivers participate in their mind. That feeling ‘it will not happen to people’ but every so often the game reminds us of the dangers lurking just around the corner.
If you talk with Sir Jackie Stewart in regards to the age he raced in, he will tell you that losing friends and competitions almost on a monthly basis wasn’t uncommon and it is thanks to folks like him and the FIA that people haven’t lost as many drivers recently. There will be a complete investigation of course and there’ll be lessons that all people is able to learn but sadly motor sport is dangerous and every driver – Anthoine comprised – accepts every time we put into the cockpit of a racing car to the dangers.
As for the Grand Prix it had been great to watch Charles Leclerc finally get. He’s driven all through this season and following the chance of losing wins in Baku Bahrain and Austria, it was good to see him finally get one online. Charles was devastating in Qualifying, beating on his four-time World Champion team partner with a substantial seven-tenths of a moment for this time and the sixth Qualifying.
At the race he managed to split with much better tyre administration and pace. It turned out to be a powerful performance when Hamilton began to close the gap down, but it all got a bit tricky at the ending.
More downforce was running compared to Ferrari and that of course made it difficult for them to overtake. In addition, it meant so we had a cat and mouse game where a single car was clearly faster than the other and that they had very great speed.
There’s not a lot more that Mercedes could have achieved – possibly a blank stop would have decreased the deficit with a few seconds into Leclerc but it is not really a race that you can criticise them around a great deal.
Vettel seemed to suffer with tyre degradation over his youthful team-mate and also I wonder if maybe Ferrari could have tried to run a bit more downforce simply to assist him in the twistier middle sector of their lap since the benefit they had about the complete power run through the first sector was absolutely enormous.
Ferrari must have more of an edge, As soon as we visit Monza next weekend. There are corners than we have at Spa and more importantly, only a few corners that’s where the front end grip of the Mercedes is really a step that is fantastic greater than the red cars. They would have to do following 21, something very wrong not to provide a victory in front of the tifosi!
Lando Norris was unlucky not to get a end outcome that is great time the location was endured by Alex Albon after a push from 17th on the grid at the conclusion. The Thai driver did a great job on his very first outing with the team – he had been three tenths slower than Max Verstappen at Qualifying until he donned his lap at the conclusion because of the grid penalties which turned out to be a very good attempt for his first semester in the car.
At the racehe then made progress in the second half to record a career best result and bided his time on.
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