Tag Archives: Spa

2016 Belgian Grand Prix Practice Review

F1 Grand Prix of Belgium - Race

Lewis Hamilton wins the German Grand Prix ahead of Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen. Ferrari, Williams and Force India all managed to gain some much needed points from the race.

The Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps is one of the classic Formula One tracks, but it is sometimes called “The greatest modern motor racing circuit in the world”. It is thoroughly enjoyed both by F1 drivers and spectators.

There are many reasons that drivers love Spa but mostly because it is fast, hilly, twisty, challenging and difficult to master. The circuit probably demonstrates the importance of driver skill more than any other track in the world. The Belgian Grand Prix is a challenge both in terms of car set-up and in predicting the weather.

Over the years, the Spa course has been modified several times. The track was originally 15 kilometers in length, today it is 7 kilometers with 19 sweeping medium and high-speed corners, 9 right turns and 10 left turns. It still retains much of its previous character and charm. Spa has the longest full throttle section in Formula One.

From the hairpin at La Source to the chicane of Les Combes at the top of the hill; the cars spend more than 20 seconds at full throttle. This period at full throttle includes the passage through the legendary Eau Rouge.

There are many reasons that drivers love Spa but mostly because it is fast, hilly, twisty, challenging and difficult to master. The circuit probably demonstrates the importance of driver skill more than any other track in the world. The Belgian Grand Prix is a challenge both in terms of car set-up and in predicting the weather.

Over the years, the Spa course has been modified several times. The track was originally 15 kilometers in length, today it is 7 kilometers with 19 sweeping medium and high-speed corners, 9 right turns and 10 left turns. It still retains much of its previous character and charm. Spa has the longest full throttle section in Formula One.

From the hairpin at La Source to the chicane of Les Combes at the top of the hill; the cars spend more than 20 seconds at full throttle. This period at full throttle includes the passage through the legendary Eau Rouge.

As the longest track on the Formula 1 calendar, Spa-Francorchamps has its unique problem. The place is famous for its unpredictable weather and it often rains at one end of the track while the surface is dry at the other which has given us some great races over the past few years.

Practices 1, 2 and 3

The main headline from the Practice sessions is that Mercedes and Ferrari look to have the driver-car package to beat this weekend as weather conditions and tyre management which will test the drivers, teams and the cars throughout Friday and Saturday practice sessions.

Nico Rosberg tops the timesheets in FP1.

Nico Rosberg tops the timesheets in FP1.

Practice 1 saw Nico Rosberg tops the timesheet with a time of 1.48.348 followed closely by Lewis Hamilton with a gap of 0.730 seconds behind, Kimi Raikkonen was in third with a gap of 0.799 seconds behind, Sergio Perez in fourth with a gap of 0.926 seconds behind and Sebastian Vettel in fifth with a gap of 1.420 seconds behind Rosberg.

Daniel Ricciardo is sixth with a gap of 1.434 seconds behind, Max Verstappen is seventh with a gap of 1.517 seconds behind, Nico Hulkenberg is eighth with a gap of 1.740 seconds behind, Valtteri Bottas is ninth with a gap of 2.046 seconds behind and Esteban Gutierrez is tenth with a gap of 2.235 seconds behind Rosberg.

With twenty-five minutes left in FP1, Renault’s Jolyon Palmer advised his team via the radio that there was a problem with the car and that the car “didn’t feel right” after exiting the Les Combes corner. Palmer managed to slowly but more importantly safely back to the garage in order for the team to fix the problem, despite him losing drive.

Max Verstappen tops the timesheets in FP2.

Max Verstappen tops the timesheets in FP2.

Practice 2 saw Verstappen tops the timesheet with a time of 1.48.085 followed closely by Ricciardo with a gap of 0.256 seconds behind, Hulkenberg  was in third with a gap of 0.572 seconds behind, Vettel in fourth with a gap of 0.938 seconds behind and Perez in fifth with a gap of 1.015 seconds behind Verstappen.

Rosberg is sixth with a gap of 1.076 seconds behind, Raikkonen is seventh with a gap of 1.159 seconds behind, Grosjean is eighth with a gap of 1.334 seconds behind, Button is ninth with a gap of 1.334 seconds behind and Gutierrez is tenth with a gap of 1.563 seconds behind Verstappen.

An hour and ten minutes into the FP2 session, Renault’s Jolyon Palmer was going slowly around the track with suspected vibrations on the car. Palmer during the break between the sessions was given a brand new gearbox and is not having the best of weekends at the moment.

This then brought out the Virtual Safety Car as Palmer was assisted by the marshals safely off the circuit and to get the car back to the pits.

Kimi Raikkonen tops the timesheets in FP3.

Kimi Raikkonen tops the timesheets in FP3.

Practice 3 saw Raikkonen tops the timesheet with a time of 1.47.974 followed closely by Ricciardo with a gap of 0.215 seconds behind, Vettel was in third with a gap of 0.323 seconds behind, Bottas in fourth with a gap of 0.530 seconds behind and Hamilton in fifth with a gap of 0.661 seconds behind Raikkonen.

Hulkenberg is sixth with a gap of 0.765 seconds behind, Rosberg is seventh with a gap of 0.768 seconds behind, Massa is eighth with a gap of 0.809 seconds behind, Perez is ninth with a gap of 0.941 seconds behind and Grosjean is tenth with a gap of 1.298 seconds behind Raikkonen.

You would be stupid not to bet against the Mercedes drivers of Hamilton and Rosberg to gain pole position again this weekend. As the Mercedes drivers seem to be performing brilliantly at the moment and the momentum is with them from all the track mileage and their strong form from the last race. Vettel, Raikkonen, Ricciardo, Verstappen, Perez, or Hulkenberg also cannot be discounted for the pole also as they are consistently within the top ten places at the moment.

However, I think that Toro Rosso, McLaren and Force India have shown that they could throw themselves into the mix and could qualify well here to be in the hunt for some decent points this weekend. We all look forward to the qualifying session of the Grand Prix with excitement…

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2016 Track Preview: Belgian Grand Prix, Spa-Francorchamps

All rights reserved to F1 Mix

All rights reserved to F1 Mix

Lewis Hamilton wins the German Grand Prix ahead of Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen. Ferrari, Williams and Force India all managed to gain some much needed points from the race.

The Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps is one of the classic Formula One tracks, but it is sometimes called “The greatest modern motor racing circuit in the world”. It is thoroughly enjoyed both by F1 drivers and spectators.

There are many reasons that drivers love Spa but mostly because it is fast, hilly, twisty, challenging and difficult to master. The circuit probably demonstrates the importance of driver skill more than any other track in the world. The Belgian Grand Prix is a challenge both in terms of car set-up and in predicting the weather.

Over the years, the Spa course has been modified several times. The track was originally 15 kilometers in length, today it is 7 kilometers with 19 sweeping medium and high-speed corners, 9 right turns and 10 left turns. It still retains much of its previous character and charm. Spa has the longest full throttle section in Formula One.

From the hairpin at La Source to the chicane of Les Combes at the top of the hill; the cars spend more than 20 seconds at full throttle. This period at full throttle includes the passage through the legendary Eau Rouge.

There are many reasons that drivers love Spa but mostly because it is fast, hilly, twisty, challenging and difficult to master. The circuit probably demonstrates the importance of driver skill more than any other track in the world. The Belgian Grand Prix is a challenge both in terms of car set-up and in predicting the weather.

Over the years, the Spa course has been modified several times. The track was originally 15 kilometers in length, today it is 7 kilometers with 19 sweeping medium and high-speed corners, 9 right turns and 10 left turns. It still retains much of its previous character and charm. Spa has the longest full throttle section in Formula One.

From the hairpin at La Source to the chicane of Les Combes at the top of the hill; the cars spend more than 20 seconds at full throttle. This period at full throttle includes the passage through the legendary Eau Rouge.

As the longest track on the Formula 1 calendar, Spa-Francorchamps has its unique problem. The place is famous for its unpredictable weather and it often rains at one end of the track while the surface is dry at the other which has given us some great races over the past few years.

And here are the facts and figures heading into this weekend…

Facts and Figures

  • Belgium has hosted the Grand Prix since 1950.
  • Michael Schumacher is the most successful driver at the track with six wins.
  • Kimi Raikkonen is the most successful driver currently to win the Grand Prix with four wins.
  • Ferrari is the most successful constructor to win the Grand Prix with sixteen wins.
  • Race distance: 308.05km (191.41miles)
  • Number of turns:19
  • Top speed: 329kph
  • Lap record: Sebastian Vettel- Red Bull (2009)- 1.47.263

Winners from the last five Belgian Grand Prix:-

  • 2011-Sebastian Vettel,
  • 2012-Jenson Button
  • 2013- Sebastian Vettel
  • 2014- Daniel Ricciardo
  • 2015- Lewis Hamilton

My top five finishers of the Belgian Grand Prix:-

In no particular order, here’s my top five predictions for the Belgian Grand Prix as follows:-

  1. Nico Rosberg
  2. Lewis Hamilton
  3. Sebastian Vettel
  4. Kimi Raikkonen
  5. Valtteri Bottas

Based on what the top five drivers have managed to achieve in the first half of the season, I believe that Rosberg has to beat Hamilton this weekend again in order to show that he cannot be discounted for challenging Hamilton for the title.

Hamilton will also want to win this weekend at a track that has been kind to him over the years in front of his fans who will be attending this weekend and also maintain the small championship gap over to Sebastian Vettel who I believe could challenge the Mercedes pairing this year; provided that Ferrari keep going in the same direction they are currently. And finally, I believe that Raikkonen and Bottas could both have solid weekends provided that they are able to get the right set ups on their cars over the weekend.

Do you agree with my predictions for this weekend? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Sky Sports F1 are showing uninterrupted coverage of every Practice session, Qualifying and race for the Grand Prix (and every race of the season) and Channel Four also are showing coverage, details for both are below:-

  • Sky Sports F1:- Friday (Practice 1 and 2) 8.45am and 12.45pm [Replays throughout Thursday and Friday], Saturday (Practice 3 and Qualifying) 9.45am and 12.00pm [Replays throughout Saturday], Sunday (Race) 11.30am
  • Channel Four- Friday (Practice 1 and 2) 8.55am and 12.55pm, Saturday (Practice 3 and Qualifying) 9.55am and 11.55am, Sunday (Race) 12.00pm

 

Track Preview:- 2015 Belgian Grand Prix; Spa-Francorchamps

All rights reserved to F1 Mix

All rights reserved to F1 Mix

Sebastian Vettel wins the Hungarian Grand Prix ahead of Daniil Kvyat in second place (securing his first podium in the sport) ahead of Daniel Ricciardo in third place. Max Verstappen, Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton, Romain Grosjean, Nico Rosberg, Jenson Button and Marcus Ericsson also scored points for their respective teams from the event too.

Heading into the race weekend, Honda have announced that they are eying up Ferrari with regards to their planned upgrades to their engines this weekend and hoping that their hard work pays off for them with better results on the track.

We also have found out that two new teams have not passed the accordance checks that the FIA have in place in order to allow them onto the grid and that Gene Haas who enters the sport next season has his eyes on 5 drivers for two race seats including Nico Hulkenberg, Esteban Gutierrez and Jean-Eric Vergne.

Finally, yesterday saw the Ferrari team announce that they have resigned Kimi Raikkonen for the 2016 season. If you want to read more about this, then please read my article here:- https://jonesonf1.wordpress.com/2015/08/19/ferrari-re-signs-kimi-raikkonen-for-the-2016-season/.

The Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps is one of the classic Formula One tracks, but it is sometimes called “The greatest modern motor racing circuit in the world”. It is thoroughly enjoyed both by F1 drivers and spectators.

There are many reasons that drivers love Spa but mostly because it is fast, hilly, twisty, challenging and difficult to master. The circuit probably demonstrates the importance of driver skill more than any other track in the world. The Belgian Grand Prix is a challenge both in terms of car set-up and in predicting the weather.

Over the years, the Spa course has been modified several times. The track was originally 15 kilometers in length, today it is 7 kilometers with 19 sweeping medium and high-speed corners, 9 right turns and 10 left turns. It still retains much of its previous character and charm. Spa has the longest full throttle section in Formula One.

From the hairpin at La Source to the chicane of Les Combes at the top of the hill; the cars spend more than 20 seconds at full throttle. This period at full throttle includes the passage through the legendary Eau Rouge.

There are many reasons that drivers love Spa but mostly because it is fast, hilly, twisty, challenging and difficult to master. The circuit probably demonstrates the importance of driver skill more than any other track in the world. The Belgian Grand Prix is a challenge both in terms of car set-up and in predicting the weather.

Over the years, the Spa course has been modified several times. The track was originally 15 kilometers in length, today it is 7 kilometers with 19 sweeping medium and high-speed corners, 9 right turns and 10 left turns. It still retains much of its previous character and charm. Spa has the longest full throttle section in Formula One.

From the hairpin at La Source to the chicane of Les Combes at the top of the hill; the cars spend more than 20 seconds at full throttle. This period at full throttle includes the passage through the legendary Eau Rouge.

As the longest track on the Formula 1 calendar, Spa-Francorchamps has its unique problem. The place is famous for its unpredictable weather and it often rains at one end of the track while the surface is dry at the other which has given us some great races over the past few years.

Facts and Figures

  • Belgium has hosted the Grand Prix since 1950.
  • Michael Schumacher is the most successful driver at the track with six wins.
  • Kimi Raikkonen is the most successful driver currently to win the Grand Prix with four wins.
  • Ferrari is the most successful constructor to win the Grand Prix with sixteen wins.
  • Race distance: 308.05km (191.41miles)
  • Number of turns:19
  • Top speed: 329kph
  • Lap record: Sebastian Vettel- Red Bull (2009)- 1.47.263

Winners from the last five Belgian Grand Prix:-

  • 2010-Lewis Hamilton
  • 2011-Sebastian Vettel,
  • 2012-Jenson Button
  • 2013- Sebastian Vettel
  • 2014- Daniel Ricciardo

My top five finishers of the Belgian Grand Prix:-

In no particular order, here’s my top five predictions for the Belgian Grand Prix as follows:-

  1. Nico Rosberg
  2. Lewis Hamilton
  3. Sebastian Vettel
  4. Kimi Raikkonen
  5. Valtteri Bottas

Based on what the top five drivers have managed to achieve in the first nine Grand Prixs, I believe that Rosberg has to beat Hamilton this weekend again in order to show that he cannot be discounted for challenging Hamilton for the title.

Hamilton will also want to win this weekend at a track that has been kind to him over the years in front of his fans who will be attending this weekend and also maintain the small championship gap over to Sebastian Vettel who I believe could challenge the Mercedes pairing this year; provided that Ferrari keep going in the same direction they are currently. And finally, I believe that Raikkonen and Bottas could both have solid weekends provided that they are able to get the right set ups on their cars over the weekend.

Do you agree with my predictions for this weekend? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Sky Sports F1 are showing uninterrupted coverage of every Practice session, Qualifying and race for the Grand Prix (and every race of the season) and the BBC also are showing coverage, details for both are below:-

  • Sky Sports F1:- Friday (Practice 1 and 2) 8.45am and 12.45pm [Replays throughout Thursday and Friday], Saturday (Practice 3 and Qualifying) 9.45am and 12.00pm [Replays throughout Saturday], Sunday (Race) 11.30am
  • BBC- Friday (Practice 1 and 2) 8.45am and 12.45pm, Saturday (Practice 3 and Qualifying) 9.55am and 12.10pm, Sunday (Race and race highlights) 12.15pm and 7.00pm

Sauber looking forward to Ferrari engine upgrade in Spa this weekend

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It has been announced today that the Sauber team will finally run upgraded power units at the Belgian Grand Prix after waiting four races to take advantage of Ferrari’s token spend earlier this year.

Ferrari used three development tokens to upgrade its internal combustion engine at the Canadian Grand Prix in June, but Sauber decided not to use the upgraded power units at that time. The Sauber team has brought no significant upgrades to the C34 since the start of the season.

However in an statement to the media today, Sauber’s Head of Track Engineering Giampaolo Dall’Ara said that will change at Spa-Francorchamps this weekend. Dall’Ara stated the following:-

‘The Belgian Grand Prix can be considered the opener of the second part of the season, in which the Sauber F1 team is looking forward to stronger performances thanks to a number of upgrades that will be progressively introduced.

‘At Spa both C34 will be fitted with more powerful Ferrari power units and track specific wings. The track is an all-round favourite and demands high-speed cornering performance and straight-line speed, hence aerodynamic efficiency and power output.

‘Traction and braking, although, as usual, important, are second to stability and reactiveness, therefore rather specific set-ups are being worked out. As for the tyre compounds, medium and soft are expected to fit the event well.’

Boullier: We are backing Magnussen’s driving

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In an interview with Autosport F1 today, McLaren Racing Director Eric Boullier has backed Kevin Magnussen over his aggressive racecraft in the Belgian Grand Prix, despite the Dane getting a penalty and losing his points.

Magnussen was relegated from sixth position to 12th overall after being handed a 20 second penalty for pushing Fernando Alonso off track as they fought over fifth position late on.

Despite the controversy, in his interview with Autosport F1 today, Boullier defended Magnussen’s actions, saying that F1 should be embracing such exciting battles at a time when some are complaining the sport is boring. Boullier stated the following:-

‘I love it. This is racing. It is all what we are talking about, and I think we had an incident-packed race, so it was a great race.’

As Boullier says that is what we want to see, the best drivers in the world battling each other safely for the best possible result that they can achieved. Even though all eyes are on the sport and the aspect of the ‘show’ it provides its audience who watch it on television, it is clear that yesterday we saw another great race with lots of action and controversy.

Further on in his interview today, Boullier believes Magnussen has shown good progress over the course of the campaign, having bounced back from some early-year troubles. Boullier added the following:-

‘Obviously it is part of the experience he is gaining over the season. He is very motivated. He is new to the category and it is nice to see the big boys a pushing a little bit to show him ‘stay behind, kid’. It is part of the learning process, so it is good.

‘I think it is not easy to step into F1, especially with a top team. There is a lot of pressure in delivering when there is no more testing. It is not easy.’

As Boullier says, Magnussen over the course of the season is getting more experience and is using what he has learnt so far in order to get the best possible result on the track. It is clear that Boullier is happy with the progress that Magnussen is making and that he is not afraid to challenge drivers such as Alonso for position.

Boullier does make a valid point and the experience that Magnussen is gaining especially yesterday battling with Alonso will only help him develop his driving and also his racecraft. Even if Boullier believes that Magnussen did the correct thing yesterday and personally I think he did too, he will only improve and learn from this.

Overall, I think Boullier makes a valid point. It is not easy for young drivers such as Magnussen and also fellow rookie Danill Kvyat to enter into Formula One where there is limited opportunities to gain experience in the sport and also driving an F1 car.

But this season we have seen Kvyat and Magnussen show quite quickly that they are more than capable of delivering in the car when the opportunity comes their way and are able to show that they are definitely potential talents of the future. And the great thing is if they continue to improve like they are, then their future in the sport is looking very bright indeed.

In regards to Magnussen, I think Boullier is right to defend him. Even though Magnussen has been punished for the incident with Alonso, it is clear that Magnussen is a driver that is improving, is learning all the time and is also one driver to watch for in the future.

He may have lost his points, gained a 20 second penalty and two penalty points on his license for the incident with Alonso yesterday, but what is clear is that Magnussen has the potential ahead of him to be a future star of Formula One and has demonstrated that he can challenge and keep behind established drivers such as Alonso behind him and that is something that cannot be overlooked.

 

Bottas: I’m happy with third place

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In an interview with ESPN F1 yesterday, Williams driver Valtteri Bottas is happy with third place at Spa even if he was surprised with the pace Red Bull showed as Daniel Ricciardo won the Belgian Grand Prix.

Over the summer break Williams targeted Spa and Monza as its best chances to win a race this year due to the team’s low downforce configuration. But Williams struggled in Saturday’s wet qualifying session and Bottas started sixth, before struggling to get past Sebastian Vettel at mid-distance after Red Bull’s low downforce set up saw it matching Williams for pace in a straight line.

Despite being happy with his fourth podium of the season, in his interview ESPN F1 yesterday, Bottas thinks the race showed Williams how big a job it needs to do to beat Mercedes and Red Bull in Italy. Bottas said the following:-

‘It was, again, a really nice race, nice to be in. Obviously yesterday the weather played a role in the qualifying and we knew that in the dry we would have better pace than in the wet, so we were really hopeful for today. I have to say that we are little bit surprised by the pace of Red Bull and Mercedes. They were quite a bit far away.

‘Of course our race was a bit compromised after the poor start. I was quite a long time stuck behind some other cars and couldn’t really go at the pace we had. But yeah, had some good overtakes. We had good pitstops and good strategy by the team and that allowed us to come up a few places and again to the podium.’

Once again, Bottas has shown just how talented he is and that he was in a position to score yet another podium for the Williams team. As Bottas says, the weather played a part in qualifying and he knows that his car performs better in the dry rather than the wet conditions and is glad that it was dry.

I think just like Bottas was, many were surprised with the performance of Ricciardo and Red Bull yesterday and have improved over the summer break. Even though Bottas had a bit of a bad start to the race, got held up by cars during the race, he still managed to fight his way through the grid and also his strategy helped him achieve his podium yesterday and it is a great result for him again.

Further on in his interview, Bottas thinks the team might have to re-assess its chances at Monza. Bottas added the following:-

‘We are still chasing for the highest step but for now, for this season, if we keep like this, it’s OK because it’s the future that matters. I think this season it’s going to be difficult. We definitely need to be lucky to achieve that. Mercedes is really strong and even on a track like this Red Bull was really, really quick, we couldn’t really challenge Ricciardo, so we have still work to do but we are on the right way.’

As Bottas says himself, even though Williams and himself want to be winning races as soon as possible, he is realistic that it could not happen this season but the prospect of winning in the near future is great and that it can be achieved. It is crucial that Williams want to achieve this, but they are in the right direction too. But Bottas is right, it will be difficult for them to achieve a win this season, especially with the performances of the Mercedes team and its drivers as well as Ricciardo but if the opportunity is there, he will grab it if he can.

Bottas managed to get past fellow Finn Kimi Raikkonen at the end of the race for third place, and in the latter stages of his interview, he says the battle with the 2007 world champion was a highlight of his race. Bottas said the following:-

‘I think it was a nice and fair fight. First I nearly had a go into Turn Five but wasn’t really quite as close, so then I just had to wait for a couple of laps to really prepare for it, then went for it and it was nice, clean racing with him. So, yeah, really enjoyed it.’

As Bottas says it was a nice and clear fight between himself and Raikkonen. Both drivers defended well and were careful and respectful towards each other too. It was great to watch on TV and even though Bottas got the upper hand in the battle, he had to work for it.

But overall, Bottas should be happy with third place yesterday. He has shown again that he can extract the pace and performance from the car and get himself into a position to fight and claim podiums. Bottas for me this season has shown that he is a very talented and gifted racing driver and it will only be a matter of time before his first victory in Formula One is achieved.

It might happen to Bottas this season if he gets the chance, it might not. But at the end of the day, if Williams keep on improving and stay on the level of direction they are on now, the chances of Bottas winning his first race is greatly increased. And I am sure that many would be happy if Bottas wins his first race in the sport as soon as he can and it would be a victory that would be well received with the fans too.

Question is; when Bottas win his first race in Formula One? Will it be this year or will it next year? Whenever it is, it will only highlight just how talented Bottas really is and that his future in Formula One is growing ever brighter and very quickly too.

Alonso: My penalty prevented me from getting a podium

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In an interview with ESPN F1 yesterday, Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso believes his hopes of a podium at the Belgian Grand Prix ended after the penalty incurred for the problems he experienced on the grid.

Ahead of the race Alonso looked well-placed in fourth but, as the cars departed for the formation lap, the Spaniard was still raised on the jacks, with the Ferrari mechanics returning to his car as others pulled away around him. The Ferrari eventually got going before the last car had crossed the line, meaning Alonso could start from fourth, but he was given a five-second penalty for his first pit stop.

In his interview with ESPN F1 yesterday, Alonso says the problems related to the F14 T’s battery. Alonso stated the following:-

‘At the start we had problems with the electricity of the car, the power of the car. I think we had to replace some kind of battery in the last minute as we could not fire the car on, as it was stopped with everything off – no power.

‘We put in the extra battery, the portable they have on the grid, and everything was OK, but the battery inside the car was empty, I think. We managed anyway to start the car and do the normal start and the five-second penalty was the lesser problem at that moment.’

It would seem that Alonso had issues with his battery while he sat on his grid slot which meant that his mechanics had to fix it in order for him to start the race. But as Alonso says, he would rather take the penalty and race his way back through the grid rather than not start the race at all.

Further on in his interview, Alonso thinks it meant he dropped away from the likes of Valtteri Bottas, who finished third at a crucial point in the race through a relatively lenient penalty given to him. Alonso added the following:-

‘Without that I was in front of Bottas when I stopped, Bottas finished third and I could have been around those positions. At least we could finish and help the team with the maximum points that today I could make. I think the car was more or less competitive this weekend.

‘We thought we would be quite a long way from Williams and we were a little bit competitive than we thought. In my case the power was the biggest concern. We had all weekend a bit of a deficit on the power unit so this extra horsepower that we could have we were missing in the race probably. Over one race it was OK but it could not change the race from day and night. The battery at the start was the biggest price we paid.’

With the penalty Alonso received, it is hard to say if he could have finished ahead of Bottas but it would seem that Alonso feels that he would have been able to. But the main thing is that Alonso got the best result he could of achieved after taking his penalty and brought home some points for the team, even if they paid the price with the penalty.

Even though Ferrari are a long way ahead of Williams at the moment, but it would seem that Ferrari have made steps forward this weekend with their car and was rewarded with the results from Raikkonen and also Alonso too. As Raikkonen has stated in his interview, Alonso believes also that the engine that Ferrari have is not where it should and could be and it is affecting their chances of challenging at the front of the grid.

On the final lap Alonso lost his front wing after hitting Sebastian Vettel, which followed an entertaining duel with Kevin Magnussen which at one point saw him on the grass at Kemmel which gave Magnussen a 20 second penalty after the race yesterday. In the latter stages of interview, Alonso believes the frantic finish only made it more difficult to score a more competitive result. Alonso said the following:-

‘[Magnussen] was lapping one Caterham and we were all in the slipstream, and when he moved to pass I had the extra speed and tried to overtake and he closed a little bit too much maybe – I had half the car on the grass.

‘In the last lap I broke the front wing in the first corner touching with Sebastian. I lost around 10 seconds in one lap and luckily it was the last lap. All this action meant it was always an uphill race for us today.’

From what Alonso stated yesterday, it is clear that he feels that Magnussen while trying to lap the Caterham was only concentrating on getting past in order to keep Alonso behind him and you would expect that from him. And the stewards feel that Magnussen did not comply to the regulations and has been punished for him.

In regards to Vettel, it would appear that Alonso lost a lot of time as a result but is more than happy that it happened on the last lap and not earlier in the race where he could have lost even more positions and could have brought no points home from the race at all yesterday.

I would agree with Alonso that the penalty he received in the race did affect his progress. But as he says himself, if his mechanics couldn’t get his car to run, then he wouldn’t have scored any points yesterday and given Ferrari a encouraging weekend for them to build on for the rest of the season ahead. And that is all that matters.

With Ferrari battling Williams for third place in the Constructors championship, it is imperative that Alonso achieves the best result possible for the rest of the season and bring home the points to keep Williams behind them. And yesterday was a prime example of this and this should be Ferrari’s aim for the rest of the season while looking to improve the car as much as they possibly can.