Belgian Grand Prix – The toughest Sunday
Scuderia Ferrari came away from the 65th Belgian Grand Prix empty handed at the end of a disappointing race, which saw both cars finish outside the points. Sebastian Vettel was 13th and Charles Leclerc was 14th. Although in reverse order, the two SF1000s finished where they started, which confirms the difficulties that beset the Maranello cars all weekend long.
Lightning start. The only bright point of the weekend was Charles’ start, which saw him move up three places and on the following lap take another when he got past Sergio Perez for eighth, no doubt helped by his Soft tyres. However, after that he began to struggle and had to give best to Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri,) Perez and Lando Norris (McLaren.)
Accident. On lap 10, the Safety Car was required after Antonio Giovinazzi crashed in the Alfa Romeo, an incident which also involved George Russell (Williams.) At this point, Charles pitted for Hard tyres. Sebastian came in next time round to switch from the Mediums to the Hards. When the race resumed on lap 16, Vettel was 12th and Leclerc 14th, but their pace was lacking to the extent that Sebastian was passed by Kimi Raikkonen in the Alfa Romeo. Therefore, at this point the team decided to split the strategies, bringing Charles in again on lap 24 to fit Medium tyres.
Final stint. At two thirds distance, Seb was 12th, five places ahead of Charles, who on his last set of tyres was again able to pick up the pace and began to make up ground. He passed Nicholas Latifi in the Williams and Kevin Magnussen in the Haas, climbing up to 15th spot, while Vettel was beginning to have tyre wear problems and had to give best to Gasly. Then, on the final lap, Charles was able to pass Romain Grosjean in the other Haas to finish 14th behind his team-mate.
Italian races. The 2020 Championship now moves on to the second race of this third triple-header, with the action resuming next week at Monza for the usual Italian Grand Prix. After that, it’s on to Mugello which hosts a round of the world championship for the very first time, the Toscana Ferrari 1000 Grand Prix.
Sebastian Vettel #5
“It was not an easy race. We finished in the same place in which we started. We tried everything with both cars, but we were just too slow. I hope the situation on this circuit doesn’t repeat itself. I think this track maybe exposed our weaknesses a bit more than others.
I believe we can do a bit better next week. We must work to make sure that we take everything we can from this weekend, learn all there is to learn and go forward.”
Charles Leclerc #16
“It has been a very difficult day. I had a very good start and managed to make up several positions thanks to a good tow up to turn 5, but after that things started to get worse. First of all, we lost time during both pit stops due to some issues.
During the second stint, we knew that we couldn’t make any miracles happen so, seeing the position we were in, with a train of cars ahead and no possibility to overtake, we decided to try something different and go for a second stop. It’s a shame that it didn’t work out, but ultimately, today we just didn’t have the pace we needed.
The next race will be a difficult one for us, but hopefully from Mugello, it could get better. We have to stay united, react and work hard to come back to where we were before.”
Mattia Binotto Team Principal
“On a track that requires aerodynamic efficiency and power, we were severely lacking in both. Charles and Sebastian did their very best, both yesterday in qualifying and today in the race, but we couldn’t even get into the points.
We are disappointed and angry, as indeed are our fans and with good reason. It’s a difficult moment in a season that we knew from the start would be a tough one, but it’s at times like this that we need to stand firm and look ahead in order to get over this difficult period. It’s the only way we will get out of this situation.”