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Martin Brundle: Max Verstappen enjoys Spa day as Fernando Alonso makes ‘unfair’ Lewis Hamilton jibe


The best event of the dramatic Belgian Grand Prix where Max Verstappen won from 14th place on the grid.

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The best event of the dramatic Belgian Grand Prix where Max Verstappen won from 14th place on the grid.

The best event of the dramatic Belgian Grand Prix where Max Verstappen won from 14th place on the grid.

You just never know with live sports. The starting streak at the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa promised to be an absolute thrill to race but in the end it was rather ordinary, albeit with a good return from Max Verstappen.

Another day, the smart, knowledgeable people on the morning of the race tell us, “I’m not sure what you’re going to say in the comment because we did 5,000 simulations last night and not much happened.” And then we have a racing sparrow.

It’s not Verstappen’s fault that he found himself at the top of the peak, and so with his Red Bull which, frankly, feels like he could have been sitting in the garage reading his bank statements when the race started, and won it.

After eight of the 20 cars took different penalties for the power unit and gearbox grille, then Pierre Gasly had an electrical problem, and so starting from the passenger lane as well, Verstappen actually started in 13th place along with championship rival Charles Leclerc. With just a quarter of the distance, he was leading the race after staying out of trouble in the opening rounds, picking up his victims in a lap.

Carlos Sainz, who started from pole position and drove well through a trouble-free run, would end up third for Ferrari but is close to half a minute behind. His fellow front rower, Sergio Perez, in his sister Red Bull, was 18 seconds behind Max who was also relatively cruising at the finish.

Red Bull's Max Verstappen talks about his winning performance at the Belgian Grand Prix.

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Red Bull’s Max Verstappen talks about his winning performance at the Belgian Grand Prix.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen talks about his winning performance at the Belgian Grand Prix.

Of course we will soon have some people complaining about one driver’s dominance, as we did with Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton, among others, rather than appreciating the level of excellence that Red Bull and Max offer.

Hopefully it will be definite on the track and that Ferrari and Mercedes will be closer in the next few races. Ferrari had to make its cars stiff in the suspension to work its air around the spa, and not let the underfloor hit the ground in high-speed pressure at the foot of the Eau Rouge, which made it difficult to drive especially over bumps and a corner inside the pavement.

Fernando Alonso continued his radio talk against Lewis Hamilton by rocking his finger at the Briton after their crash in the Belgian Grand Prix.

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Fernando Alonso continued his radio talk against Lewis Hamilton by rocking his finger at the Briton after their crash in the Belgian Grand Prix.

Fernando Alonso continued his radio talk against Lewis Hamilton by rocking his finger at the Briton after their crash in the Belgian Grand Prix.

Alonso made ‘miscalculation’ with Hamilton’s comments

Mercedes couldn’t run its tires in qualifying, but it would undoubtedly be better in a warm dry race. Lewis Hamilton didn’t get a chance to find out due to a rare mistake at Les Combes chicane when he simply pinch Fernando Alonso’s side while trying to turn outside and soar.

Ferrari's Carlos Sainz takes the lead on the first lap as Lewis Hamilton suffers a collision with Fernando Alonso and misses the race at the Belgian Grand Prix.

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Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz takes the lead on the first lap as Lewis Hamilton suffers a collision with Fernando Alonso and misses the race at the Belgian Grand Prix.

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz takes the lead on the first lap as Lewis Hamilton suffers a collision with Fernando Alonso and misses the race at the Belgian Grand Prix.

Luis said he couldn’t see Fernando in his blind spot, but honestly he had to be there somewhere, and the Spaniard did his best to stay inside and give space. Lewis saw the footage and immediately raised his hand and correctly accepted full responsibility.

Fernando’s radio comments, albeit fueled by anger and adrenaline, about Lewis only being able to win from the front, were in my opinion totally inaccurate and unfair. Lewis is one of the fairest and cleanest drivers in F1 history, he didn’t need to resort to many fouls due to his relentless speed, and he made you think back to Brazil last year to remember how he could wreck a field. twice.

This error in judgment will attract the attention of Lewis…

Lewis Hamilton was disappointed after colliding with Fernando Alonso, knocking him out of the race on the first lap of the Belgian Grand Prix.

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Lewis Hamilton was disappointed after colliding with Fernando Alonso, knocking him out of the race on the first lap of the Belgian Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton was disappointed after colliding with Fernando Alonso, knocking him out of the race on the first lap of the Belgian Grand Prix.

Mercedes’ fate was now in the very capable hands of George Russell, who drove beautifully and threatened to steal the podium from Sainz and Ferrari. Fourth place would be his reward, after a few seconds off that podium in a car that seemed reluctant to tackle the Spa circuit at all, and very consistent on the straights as well.

Ferrari-Leclerc gaffe ‘Painful to watch’

Charles Leclerc had another race to forget, unfortunately. A visor tore into the brake duct, said to have been likely ignored by Max Verstappen, forced him to dig under the deployed safety car when Mercedes Hamilton cried enough after her weather activities and forced Nicolas Latifi Valtteri Bottas to fall into a gravel trap.

These shreds need to be controlled and at least the driver’s name should be written on each one. Onboard cameras, like motorcyclists, have a plastic skid bar to restore visibility from oil, insects, spray, mud, etc., although this is likely to be too heavy for an F1 hood.

Somewhere in my memory bank these should have been put in a pocket or kept with Velcro inside the cockpit, because it’s not fair to throw them away and spoil someone else’s sweat.

Ferrari's Charles Leclerc talks about a disappointing result at the Belgian Grand Prix after finishing sixth.

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Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc talks about a disappointing result at the Belgian Grand Prix after finishing sixth.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc talks about a disappointing result at the Belgian Grand Prix after finishing sixth.

Leclerc was now out of sync with the race but still very much in fifth albeit struggling with the tyres. The team then decided (probably) to go to the fastest lap point which put him behind Alonso and needed to overtake, and missed the win on Verstappen’s fastest lap by six tenths of a second, attracting a lane-speed violation that saw him finish sixth. place. It was painful to watch.

Ferrari claims they need to change anything on the pit wall calls but if you keep doing the same, don’t be surprised when you get the same result. With all due respect we only hear select radio calls on TV, but it seems Ferrari wants Leclerc to make the final decisions on tires when he doesn’t have a full set of data because he’s somewhat busy driving.

He can’t make the last call on the solid composite frame without knowing who, if anyone, actually uses it, and how it performs. Leclerc is now third in the championship, 98 points behind, with eight races remaining. All things equal, I think we all know which direction this tournament is headed.

Fernando Alonso is reflecting on his frustration after colliding with Lewis Hamilton on the first lap of the Belgian Grand Prix.

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Fernando Alonso is reflecting on his frustration after colliding with Lewis Hamilton on the first lap of the Belgian Grand Prix.

Fernando Alonso is reflecting on his frustration after colliding with Lewis Hamilton on the first lap of the Belgian Grand Prix.

The Alpine team had a very strong day with Alonso finishing fifth and Ocon seventh which now puts 20 points between them and McLaren in the Constructors’ Championship. It was McLaren’s fourth pointless race of the season, as they also head into a battle for Oscar Piastre’s services for 2023 as I write this column. The midfield drivers market has been pretty wild since Sebastian Vettel announced his retirement, which by the way was a very tough race with Aston Martin on Sunday.

Alex Albon continues to impress Williams too, which is great to see.

And to determine all of this, the gorgeous spa is back on the calendar for 2023, but whether that turns out to be a new lease on life or a halt, we’ll have to wait and see.

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