F1 Briefing of the Day: 2022 Belgian Grand Prix
The fourteenth round of the season, disputed on the legendary Spa-Francorchamps circuit, left us almost without a World Cup after the absolute domination of Red Bull, revealed Ferrari’s weaknesses again and took us back in time with the tense duel between Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton. Finally, it was Max Verstappen who was crowned on the Belgian scene after making the best comeback in his history in the premier category of motorsport.
Sandra Molina: “The return of the summer break launched Verstappen’s triumphal march”
It’s not just about Spa and this weekend, we were already witnessing the bloodshed of Ferrari compared to the start of the season. Those from Maranello self-destructed constantly and with great success, as only they managed to throw everything on the ground and put gold points on a plate for their biggest rivals.. Perhaps we had the illusion of a resurgence of Charles Leclerc and Ferrari, the desire to see the real battle for victories again and to find equality in the fight for the championship.
But Max Verstappen came back from the holidays in great shape, he’s not giving up on the fight and he looks comfortable in every aspect, both on and off the track.. Things come easily to him, it seems, and it ends up sapping the morale of anyone who tries to oppose him. More if in the attempt you keep making mistakes that cancel battles for you. It is inexcusable for a team like Ferrari to make a mistake when mounting their driver’s wheels.If they establish a plan, it is to follow it. How is a pilot going to try to fight if the guidelines change without knowing anything in minutes?
Ferrari remains the same as in recent years, at some point they lost their essence, that of the golden years. I imagine they will have to search their ranks for what is wrong, because it is clear that something is wrong. You can’t fight without a plan, make mistakes and focus on battles that don’t matter. To arrive first on Saturday does not give you points, to focus on that when you know you have no potential against your rivals on Sunday is to have a poor mentality. At least try to recognize it and do not fill hopeless headlines in vain. Every year that looks competitive, the same thing ends up happening and it doesn’t matter if your car is driven by Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel or Charles Leclerc. They destroy illusions and pilots in their quest to become champions again by working at half throttle.
Many of us grew up with Ferrari’s benchmark of greatness, seeing how they prevailed over others and won championships. What’s left of that? There are children, teenagers, even people who have reached adulthood who have not seen these exploits of Scuderia Ferrari. But that is part of the past, because 2007 was a disaster and the sequel is already distant history, because sport can only feed on history if all is errors and illusions truncated in the present.
The first lap of the Spa race was a bit chaotic, Carlos Sainz was doing perfectly, but he was going to have to pay the price of the tires later. Everyone wanted to gain places, Hamilton too and lost ground with Alonso. The British made a mistake by closing the door to the Spaniards and paid the price in the moment by having to leave. This set left a lot of controversy in the middle, Fernando Alonso harshly attacked Hamilton on the radio. It’s hot, okay, but everyone has made mistakes on the track at some point, everyoneAlonso too and he too won starting alone.
A mistake is no reason to respond with disrespect, fathers as some now call them, are nothing more than a circus that repeatedly makes situations look ugly. If there is an error, the following should be an apology, not to respond disrespectfully. And even worse that there’s offspring waiting for those answers to cheer and laugh on social media like aneuronal beings who don’t appreciate the beauty of sport, they’re just waiting for moments like this to nurture the controversy by starting to throw knives from the sofa through a small screen.
Another who made a mistake at the start was Nicholas Latifi, the previous laps did not help the Canadian to recognize the terrain and appreciate the existing dirt on the track. This one accumulates errors and keeps its place in the category for the moment. Latifi’s broken dishes were paid for by Valtteri Bottas. And, surprise, it stopped there. We ask for penalties based on what we think and the Race Direction still does not have a clear criterion in its decisions, they have changed the collar and that’s it, it can also be seen in the lower categories.
Focus on the best performance in the race, once Max Verstappen completed the comeback, the excitement of the Belgian Grand Prix was over, you might say. Well his race was to be applauded, solid and without any errors, the Dutchman is smooth, he said he doesn’t need to win races, just finish them. But it’s that seems the only candidate for victory, his pace is intractable and his car fits him like a glove. The differences with the others are insulting, but it is the result of the work done by the pilot and his team. They’re in perfect harmony and it doesn’t look like that’s going to change until the end of the season. It doesn’t look like much is missing to see the titles fall this season.
Cristian Rodríguez: ‘A stellar Verstappen highlights the historical evil of Ferrari’s holidays’
Disheartened and sorry. So I start writing these lines. And it is that the 2022 Formula 1 season is over. How is this possible?, you may ask. Because the title fight is over. Red Bull and Max Verstappen ridiculed their rivals at Spa, crushing them like a bulldozer stirring up sand, without hesitation, without taking prisoners; In cold blood. The Dutchman did not balk from the fourteenth position. On Saturday, he already showed his true pace, but in the race he made everyone falter as he wanted. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen such insulting superiority in a Formula 1 test. Max overtook his rivals one by one as if it were a video game (on easy mode, of course). I’ve said many times before that Hasselt is a cut above the rest at the moment, but what we’re seeing in Belgium is starting to cause concern.
He is extremely fast, talented, aggressive and intelligent. An explosive cocktail that brings the ’33’ to play in another league. And not only vis-à-vis the pilots of the other teams, but also vis-à-vis his garage companion, which he beat despite starting twelve positions behind. It is clear that Sergio Pérez has nothing to do with Verstappen, and even less now that the evolution of the single-seater is getting closer and closer to his driving style. Disappointing once again the performance of the Mexican, with lap gaps that become ridiculous for two men driving the same car. There is no doubt that Checo is doing the job it was hired to do: score points for the team and hinder your teammate’s direct competitors. At least he did well.
Because no, Carlos Sainz could not even tear his nails out to defend his leadership. Ferrari were aggressive in their tire choice and made two very good pit stops with the Spaniard, however, the F1-75’s pace was significantly lower than the RB18’s and this prevented the Madrid native from opening a gap from first place. Too bad, because you can’t blame his career. He started well at the start, did the same on the restart and kept the pace as long as he could against the melting tires of the red car. Good job from Carlos, who at least knew how to defend the podium against a George Russell who has once again demonstrated his ability to extract the maximum potential from his car. The young British pearl continues to give us great performances and has established himself as the most consistent man of the whole season, having finished in the top five of all Grands Prix, except Silverstone, where he retired. Hats off to him.
But going back to Ferrari, a separate mention deserves the decision to call Charles Leclerc to the pits with two laps to go, ignoring the Monegasque’s own criteria, who would later be sanctioned for speeding in the pit lane, losing thus the fifth position. If it is not possible. If we add to the overwhelming superiority of Red Bull the inefficiency of the Italians, the result is a ridiculous episode which once again reveals the poor management of the men of Maranello.
And we finally move on to the most commented part of the race, which is none other than the Alonso-Hamilton duel. What a gift for my eyes to see them fighting in close combat again, although unfortunately the battle did not last very long. As Lewis himself admitted, he didn’t give the Spaniard enough space, so most of the blame for the crash lies with him. However, what I want to talk about is what happened after, about this dialectical war that gives us so many moments of glory these days. The truth, without agreeing more or not according to which statements, I love that the two pilots are throwing darts at each other because it kind of takes me back to the year 2007 and it makes me fantasize about the two riders meeting at some point in the battle for the title. I know right now that’s nonsense, but what a fantasy that would be. Alpine’s growth is a fact, even if they are several steps behind Mercedes, at least in racing, and everything indicates that it will be difficult to track them down. Even so, it’s one of the most interesting things left in the campaign, seeing as we no longer have a fight at the top.
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