Hamilton is still up against it and four other things we learned from Belgian GP

Five things we learned from the Belgian Grand Prix

Sport360 staff
by Sport360 staff
28th August 2017

article:28th August 2017

Lewis Hamilton halved Sebastian Vettel’s lead at the summit of the Formula One championship with victory in Belgium.

Hamilton will now head to Monza for the Italian Grand Prix on Sunday just seven points behind his title rival.

Here, Press Association Sport looks at the main talking points from yesterday’s race.

Hamilton’s still up against it

To all intents and purposes, Lewis Hamilton enjoyed a stellar weekend.

Twenty-four hours after matching Michael Schumacher’s pole position record, Hamilton, contesting his 200th grand prix, led virtually every lap to secure his fifth win of the season and reduce Vettel’s title lead.

Yet, the Spa-Francorchamps course was supposed to be one which suited Mercedes, and while Hamilton won, he will no doubt be alarmed as to how hard-fought his victory actually was.

Vettel did not give Hamilton a moment’s respite, and at a track where Mercedes were expected to dominate, the intensity of the battle, will be of cause for concern.

Indeed Hamilton’s team-mate Valtteri Bottas finished only fifth, and was off the pace for much of the weekend.

Hamilton’s display here was faultless, but whether that sort of form will be enough to stop Vettel and his impressive Ferrari team from winning the championship, remains to be seen.

Perez and Ocon feel the Force

Sergio Perez’s relationship with Esteban Ocon appears beyond repair after they collided twice in Belgium.

Ocon called Perez an “idiot” over the radio, then accused his team-mate of trying to kill him during his post-race media commitments, before reiterating his stance on Twitter.

“We were having a good race until Perez tried to kill me two times,” the 20-year-old Frenchman wrote.

Mexican Perez, seven years Ocon’s senior, then gave his version of events. “I am very disappointed to see his comments that l wanted to kill him,” Perez said.

“I am not that type of guy. I just want to tell the truth and move on.”

That might however, be easier said than done.

Renault apologise to Max

Four-time champion and Renault chief Alain Prost personally apologised to Max Verstappen after the Dutchman’s failure to finish in Spa.

Verstappen, running in fifth, came to a stuttering halt on the Kemmel Straight after his Red Bull-Renault engine expired. It marked his sixth DNF of a season which has become increasingly frustrating for the teenager.

The Spa-Francorchamps circuit last week played host to record-breaking crowds, due in part to the large army of Dutch supporters who travelled across the border to cheer on Verstappen.

“I am extremely disappointed, not just because of my retirement but for the fans also,” Verstappen said.

“They pay a lot of money to come and watch the race. I then retire after only eight laps so it must be frustrating for them.”

To make matters worse, Verstappen’s Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo claimed the final spot on the podium.

Luckless Palmer calls for Alonso penalty

Jolyon Palmer remains without a point this year after another frustrating weekend.

The 26-year-old Englishman appeared on course to out-qualify his Renault team-mate Nico Hulkenberg for the first time this term, only for a gearbox failure to thwart his progress.

Palmer was forced to start a lowly 14th, with Hulkenberg seventh on the grid.

He then failed to make his way through traffic before losing further ground after an altercation with Fernando Alonso.

“Alonso forced me off the track,” Palmer said.

“I don’t know if he will get a penalty, but he cost me two places.”

Palmer finished 13th, while Hulkenberg crossed the line in sixth. A case of what might have been for the Brit.

Schumacher Jnr rolls back the years

Mick Schumacher, the 18-year-old son of seven-time world champion Michael, wowed the crowds with a demonstration of his father’s title-winning Benetton.

Mick, who contests the European Formula Three series, completed one lap prior to Sunday’s race in the car which his father won his maiden championship in 1994.

The demo marked the 25th anniversary of Schumacher’s first of a record 91 career wins.

The 48-year-old has not been seen in public since he suffered brain injuries during a skiing accident in 2013.



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