QUALIFYING LIVE – 2018 Belgian Grand Prix
Race Weekend: FORMULA 1 2018 JOHNNIE WALKER BELGIAN GRAND PRIX
We’re back – we’re back! The summer break is officially over as we’re now getting ready for the Qualifying session ahead of the 2018 Belgian Grand Prix this weekend.
One of the stories which is making the round around the paddock is between Christian Horner (Red Bull Racing team principal) and Fernando Alonso who’s asking Christian Horner for an apology about denying contract negotiations and a potential drive for Fernando Alonso at Red Bull….
Despite the predictions for rain, the sun is shining but it’s very cool, almost cold with no appearance of rain – for now anyway.
Here is what Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel said in their press conferences.
Lewis Hamilton: “I wouldn’t want this any other way. Ferrari are a historic team, they haven’t won a championship in a long time and even though we have, I still feel we have the ability to continue and race closely with each other for the season.” (You can shop the Limited Edition cap from Lewis Hamilton Here)
Sebastian Vettel: “Before summer had started, the Mercedes was stronger than everyone but we were able to catch them again. In Hungary we were ahead – in dry conditions anyway and it will be close between us. The key is to have the speed and I think we will be as close as possible for the second part of the season.”
Toto Wolff on Niki Lauda and his operation.
Toto Wolff: “The operation (for Niki Lauda) went successfully, it is now an upward slope but we all know that he is a fighter, he is recoverer and recovering well even though it will take a little bit of time. He has his phone, he has a TV and he is watching and following what we do – he even has his WhatsApp and is telling us what to do (laughs).”
Drivers are now making their way to their cars and getting ready for Q1 – weather conditions have remained cool, no rain and the sun is shining but conditions are cool.
Q1 – QUALIFYING LIVE – 2018 Belgian Grand Prix
The green light has gone on and drivers are now making their way out of the pits and onto the track for Q1.
Kimi Raikkonen talking to the team through team radio about the cut-off time.
Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen are on the soft tyres, everyone else is on the supersoft tyres.
At the moment, Kimi Raikkonen is the fastest man on track followed by his team-mate Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton in third.
Lewis Hamilton now moves up to P2 – Raikkonen still topping the timesheets and Verstappen is another driver who’s looking strong with a lot of support this weekend.
Some drivers are now making their way back to the pits, Kimi Raikkonen is one of them – others are staying out and trying to improve on their time.
Team telling Ricciardo he can go for one more lap.
Most of the drivers are now back in track before making their way out onto the grid for the last drives before Q2.
Bottas now sets the second fastest lap time, in the meantime, his team-mate (Lewis Hamilton) is watching the lap times from the garage – he’s out of the car.
Daniel Ricciardo looks like he’s having a tough weekend – coincidence? We always see drivers doing worse when they announce a move….
Another driver who’s struggling much more – Fernando Alonso. He can’t even get out of the bottom 5!
Carlos Sainz saying he has no rear grip hence not being able to get out of Q1!
Q1 – Knock Out Zone
Q2 – QUALIFYING LIVE – 2018 Belgian Grand Prix
Drivers are now back in the grid, Fernando Alonso quickly gets out of his car, puts his cap on and makes his way out of the garage – not a great weekend, it’s things like this which make the sport sad. A worthy driver who can’t get out of Q1.
In other news, Kimi Raikkonen has topped the timesheets so if you’re a Raikkonen fan, this could be a great weekend for him however – keep an eye out for Vettel as he normally improves in Q3.
The light is on and drivers are now making their way back out onto the track. All the drivers are on supersofts – so far.
Lewis Hamilton: “There’s a subtle vibration in the tyres.”
These are the tyres the race will be started on – if it’s a subtle vibration, it can be re-balanced.
Kimi Raikkonen looking strong yet again – at the moment, it’s Raikkonen, Hamilton followed by Vettel but that all could change.
Kimi Raikkonen sets a lap time of 1:41.627 – it’s a new track record!
Marcus Ericsson is getting out of the car – it looks like he’s stopping here as drivers are now getting ready to make their way back out onto the track.
Valtteri Bottas now comes out onto the track – he’s in the knock-out zone at the moment, let’s see what he can do.
Raikkonen, Hamilton and Vettel are all on their out laps.
Kimi Raikkonen still topping the timesheets, he loves this circuit and at the moment, he’s looking like he’s the man to beat – setting a new track record too!
Wow – Vettel now sets a new time of 1:41.500, another wonderful time. Its now Vettel, Raikkonen, Hamilton and Bottas.
Q2 – Knock Out Zone
Q3 – QUALIFYING LIVE – 2018 Belgian Grand Prix
It’s raining – this could change everything!
Drivers are now back in the garage and waiting for Q3 to start – with the weather conditions, we could see a change in results and the rain which was predicted has now made it’s appearance over the circuit.
Stoffel Vandoorne: “I think I have proven in the past that I can win championships, there’s nothing much more that I can do to prove it and it’s a home Grand Prix here and it’s a shame that we don’t have the better machinery to put in a good show for them (the fans).”
Fernando Alonso: “The car felt good, the lap was enjoyable – driving in this circuit is good but when you cross the line and see that there is 16 people ahead of you, you don’t feel so good. I didn’t make the decision based on the results – I have had 17 fantastic years in Formula 1 and I have achieved more than I have dreamt of and I will always try to do my best, I will try and help the team as much as possible to help and develop the team for next year. For the last four or five years, there was only one car winning the championship and there are other drivers who are here to prove and for me, it’s the time to say ‘bye bye'”
The drivers are now lining up in the pit-lane, waiting for the green light to go out as they all want to set their times before more rain arrives.
Bottas spins! He spins and manages to save the car not going into the barrier. He now comes into the pits and other drivers are coming into the pits too, changing their tyres – there’s a lot of water on the track!
With the rain on track, you can see how much lap times are affected – now in the 2 minute zone. At first, Verstappen set the fastest time however Kimi Raikkonen topped the timesheet again with a 2:02.671
It’s a battle between the two Ferrari’s – Raikkonen sets the fastest lap time and Vettel then sets a faster lap time. Raikkonen now comes into the pits.
Hamilton drops from third to 5th with the Red Bull’s improving on their times – despite Max Verstappen going off track.
There’s around 2 minutes to go so we could see a change in times – and results.
Hamilton now sets the fastest lap time and Vettel in P2 with Ocon in P3! Raikkonen drops down to 6th position.
Wow – what a result for Ocon, he’s up in P3!
LEWIS HAMILTON ON POLE POSITION for the 2018 Belgian Grand Prix
Brief Driver Reaction
Lewis Hamilton: “This was one of the toughest qualifying sessions, it just gets harder each year – I’m not sure if Ferrari had it but I was hopeful. The rain came and I cannot tell you how difficult it is, you tip-toe and you don’t know what will happen. The last race, it was very wet but it was a different circumstance but I’m just so glad that I managed to get that together for the last lap – it’s a painful battle this year but that’s what’s great about the sport and it’s a beautiful place and incredible track to drive at.”
Sebastian Vettel: “I think we didn’t time it great but look, in these conditions you might as well take second but we had the pace but it was deserved for Lewis to get the pole and I hope that tomorrow we can get the result. When it starts to rain like this, you have a team that needs to manage two cars and now look – the sun is shining and it’s nearly dry again but I wanted to save the tyres. Maybe I wasn’t as calm as I can be in the car but we are happy with second and hopefully tomorrow we can have a good race.”
Esteban Ocon: “This is fantastic – hi to everyone! This is awesome, this is where we are starting now, we are fresh and definitely not a result that we expected today. We changed the tyre really quickly and managed to go out and I had a good lap and managed to get third!”