Sebastian Vettel Wins The 2018 Belgian Grand Prix – REPORT AND DRIVER INTERVIEWS
Race Weekend: Belgian Grand Prix
The Belgian Grand Prix kicked off the second-half of the Formula 1 season in style and even though we didn’t have many overtakes or battles towards the end of the race, we definitely had a thrilling start to say the least!
On the opening lap – we had complete chaos (see the picture below) and this was down to Nico Hulkenberg who went straight into the back of Fernando Alonso who went over – yes, over Charles Leclerc ending all three of their races. Since the race, Nico Hulkenberg has been to see the stewards and has been given a 10-place grid penalty for the Italian Grand Prix next week.
Apart from the major accident, Kimi Raikkonen picked up a puncture who made his way to the pits behind the safety car, later retiring from the race. Another bad turn for Daniel Ricciardo who also had damage to his car which came from the opening lap and he also retired from the race.
A good start from Lewis Hamilton who maintained his place down the first turn however after that, Sebastian Vettel just picked up some incredible speed and got by Lewis Hamilton effortlessly. After that, the Scuderia Ferrari driver looked extremely comfortable all afternoon.
Lewis Hamilton did put pressure on Vettel throughout the race but not enough to claim the position back. Strategy wise – at one point it did look like Mercedes had the upper hand by bringing in Lewis Hamilton first however Ferrari brought in Vettel into the pits and everything went smoothly for the team as he went back out onto the track ahead of both Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton.
Lewis Hamilton managed to make his way past Verstappen and the top 3 stayed in the same position for the race.
Valtteri Bottas managed to make his way through the grid albeit slowly however despite his start, he got up to P4 which is a great result for the team and not too far away from what Bottas’ goal was before the race.
Overall, we saw battles however most drivers seemed to behave and a lot were managing their cars in the best way possible so we didn’t see a lot of overtaking which was expected however the start made up for the race with Sebastian Vettel brining his car home comfortably and staring the battle for the championship yet again.
One thing we do know, it’s going to be a tough season for both Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton – both of them are fighting for their 5th World Championships and both of them want to win so we’ll have some great races ahead.
Below, you can see driver interviews following the race and at the bottom of the post, you can see photos from the weekend to enjoy. 🙂
DRIVER INTERVIEWS – Sebastian Vettel Wins The 2018 Belgian Grand Prix
Sebastian Vettel: “I’m very happy because we had a great race, the car now has proved to be robust on all tracks and this weekend we got a little more power from the new engine, which I think also helped us down the straights.”
“At the start I tried to stay close to Lewis, getting a good exit out of Turn 1 and then taking advantage of the slipstream to get past. After the Safety car pulled out, it was just the other way round, so I looked after the exit of Turn 1 to stay ahead.”
“The first stint was very close, only a couple of seconds between us; but then the guys did a fantastic pit-stop, I could not believe the light had turned green so fast, and that gave our rivals no chance.”
“The second stint was ore about managing the car and the tires for both of us.”
“This is a great win for the whole team and hope in Monza it will be the same, but we need to keep fighting to be always up there.”
Kimi Raikkonen: “I don’t know what happened at the start: the only thing I know is that somebody hit me from behind and straight after that I got a puncture.”
“I had a lot of damage to the rear wing endplate and the floor; at that point I could not go fast and the DRS stayed open all the times, it was hard to remain on track.”
“It was pointless to continue, the damage was too big, so we decided to go back to the garage.”
Maurizio Arrivabene: “That was a fantastic win today with a great race from Seb and the whole team which both at the track and back in Maranello fought back from yesterday’s difficulties in a strong, calm and determined manner.”
“While the car showed all its potential, what happened to Kimi is a real shame and for that we might have had even more to celebrate and the Constructors’ classification would look a bit different.”
“Now, the important thing is to carry on working with determination and humility, without ever giving up. Now we come to Monza and right from Wednesday and we will get the chance to get close to our fans during the event at Darsena di Milano.”
“I am sure that will be able to count on the support of all our tifosi, as the championship goes on getting more and more interesting.”
“We hope that, come the end of the year, we can give them something to really smile about.”
Lewis Hamilton: “We gave it everything today but Ferrari just outperformed us and it was hard to match their times.”
“I think we lost the race in the first lap and at the Safety Car restart. After that, it was done. They were just faster on the straights and there was nothing we could do.”
“We came here with an upgrade, but unfortunately Ferrari were able to match us and even go faster.”
“We’ve got to find more performance and improve on the areas where they’re currently stronger than us. But the battle continues and for the sport this is really exciting. We will keep pushing.”
Valtteri Bottas: “Our goal for today was damage limitation and we’ve had a good recovery drive. I was hoping to maybe get the chance to be on podium, but I had a collision going into Turn 1 which damaged my front wing.”
“After that P4 was the maximum we could get and it’s not a bad result given the fact that we started from P17.”
“I actually quite enjoyed the drive today, as I got to overtake a lot of cars. My favourite moment was probably the pass in Eau Rouge – that was a lot of fun.”
“Unfortunately, we couldn’t win the race today, but we scored more points than Ferrari, so that’s one positive.”
“They looked really strong this weekend, both in qualifying and in the race. We made a step forward with our engine for this weekend, but the Ferraris are still quicker so we need to keep pushing.”
Toto Wolff: “Today was a little bit deflating after the drama of qualifying. Lewis was pretty powerless on lap one – he got swallowed up by Vettel on the straight, but then couldn’t return the favour when Sebastian managed to break the tow on the restart after the Safety Car period.”
“From then on, we were chasing a quicker car and didn’t quite have enough pace to challenge for the lead.”
“On the strategy, we did the only thing we could – which was to try the undercut – and try to put some pressure on Ferrari, but they didn’t buckle.”
“They were deserved winners today. Valtteri put in a great drive from the back to claim P4, so the points total brings us a small advantage on the Constructors’ side, while Lewis lost some ground in the drivers’ standings.”
“But most of all, we need to stay humble and keep working hard to improve our performance at every race.”
Red Bull Racing
Max Verstappen: “After a bit of bad luck here in Spa in the past I’m very pleased to finally be coming away with a podium. There was a bit of first lap chaos to contend with but we made it through cleanly and managed to settle into a good pace right away.”
“From there on I managed to pass Grosjean up the hill and concentrate on chasing the Force Indias. I knew I would have to be patient and in the end I got close enough.”
“I was surprised by their pace, I thought with DRS I would be able to get by easily but they were very strong. This made it a bit more enjoyable to try and pass.”
“After this little battle it was quite a lonely race, it was good to push the car and learn from it but there wasn’t a lot more action for me.”
“Seb and Lewis were once again too quick for us but in terms of balance the car felt really good. It is always good to be on the podium but being on it here in Spa with so many Dutch fans is really special.”
“On the last lap I was able to take in the orange crowd and enjoy it. Monza shouldn’t be strong in theory but as you can see from today a lot of things can happen.”
“We will do our best and try to be there so if something happens our car can be in the running.”
Daniel Ricciardo: “I don’t know exactly what happened at the start, but I felt a tap and to be honest I just remember sliding and the next minute I hit the back of Kimi.”
“It was just a Turn 1 incident and apologies to Kimi if his retirement was down to me, but I’m pretty sure it all started behind me and was a chain reaction.”
“It was a big crash for quite a low speed corner and I think Hulkenberg hit Alonso pretty hard from what I heard. My rear wing was pretty much ripped off and the mechanics tried to get me back out with a new wing before we went a lap down; we just missed that but they did all they could.”
“We tried to stay out and hope for a Safety Car so we could get back on the lead lap, but we couldn’t just keep racing and hoping until the end, so we chose to retire with 14 laps remaining to save mileage on the engine and gearbox.”
“After the rear wing change there was still some damage on my car as they had to fix it so quickly, we overtook quite a few cars but we weren’t really that fast and we were just circulating.”
“Just one of those Sundays I guess. A lot of people would love my bad days, there you go, perspective. We will try again in Italy.”
Fernando Alonso: “I’m disappointed. We made a good start. There were a couple of possibilities of overtaking in Turn One – you play it cautious, you brake at the same point, then you look in the mirrors and see the guys behind you behaving as if this was the last corner of the championship.”
“I saw Nico in the mirrors coming with all four wheels locked, at a very high speed. He completely missed the braking point by a long way, not just a couple of metres.”
“There was no way I could avoid that, then I felt the impact and flew over Charles’ car. Nico played bowling a little bit with us today.”
“It’s sad to see this happening, because usually these kinds of accidents have major consequences, but on the positive side, everyone involved is fine, especially Charles, as I flew over his car.”
“Not that we needed any proof, but the halo showed again today it is a very good thing to have on the car. Now I feel okay, but we need to wait a couple of hours to see how things develop when it cools down.”
Stoffel Vandoorne: “It was a pretty boring race to be honest! I was on my own all the way. It was a very unfortunate crash on lap one, luckily everyone was unhurt so that’s the most important thing.”
“We tried to do something different with the tyre strategy and pit behind the Safety Car, and unfortunately that didn’t really pay off. I think the race in general was quite boring for everyone, there wasn’t much overtaking and for us there were no miracles today.”
“Whatever we did there was nothing much we could get out of it. Whether pitting the second time was the right thing to do is hard to tell, but it didn’t make much difference.”
“We more or less confirmed our pace anyway and we aren’t very quick at all. The only chance we had for a good result was to try something completely different and it didn’t work, but I don’t think we lost anything by doing it.”
Photos From The Weekend