2020 Formula 1 70th Anniversary GP @ Silverstone
Lap record 1m 27.087s held by M. Verstappen (2020).
Hül was again replacing Per. It was a fairly calm session with no major dramas except for a few spins & off circuit excursions. Vet had an engine failure spewing oil over the circuit causing a safety car deployment. Gio also pulled off with an engine problem session. Ham, Bot, Nor, Hül & Str were the top five.
Qualifying was calm but hectic. Ver gambled with the hard tyres with the race start in mind but only managed 9th place. Out went Rus, Gro, Sai, Vet & Oco. Ham, Vet, the incredible Hülk Ver & Ric were the top five. Oco was handed a 3 place grid drop for impeding Rus in Q1.
The leaders got away well. Ver passed Hül. Vet ran over the kerbs and sent him in a spin & dropping to the back of the pack. There were some great battles in the midfield with some position changes. The pit stops started with Bot on lap 14. Mag had an off and returned to the circuit aggressively for which he was handed a 5 second time penalty. Ver took the chequered flag. Ham followed after a Mercedes strategy change to aid the championship leader with Bot taking third step on the podium.
Mag was the only retiree for safety reasons suffering with vibration from the tyres. Ham recorded the fastest lap of 1m 28.451s on lap 43.
Formula 1 Aramco Gran Premio de España 2020 @ Circuito de Barcelona – Cataluña.
Lap record 1m 23.593s held by D. Ricciardo Red Bull (2018).
This was the 30th race to be held at this fantastic circuit that was constructed and first used as a world championship race in 1991, then known as the Circuito de Cataluña. The name changed in 2013 when the city of Barcelona was added to the title. Ham got his first F1 pole position & win at Cataluña. Schumi holds the record with 7 pole positions and 6 wins.
The FIA gave warnings regarding exceeding the track limits at the first two corners.
Per had a negative result from his COVID test and was allowed back to driving.
Vet was given a new chassis after they discovered a small fault with the previous one. Israeli Roy Nissany an F2 driver for Trident & Williams test driver replaced Rus.
First practice saw Kvy with a problem with his headrest. Ric had a new front wing fitted trying to improve the downforce. Nissany had a spin at turn 10 -just yellow flags. The new chassis in Vet’s car appeared to help a little. Overnight Sai had a new power unit fitted hoping to solve his cooling issues. Gro also had a new PU after losing power at the end of FP2.
Qualifying was a very calm, cool & collected until the last minute fight with all drivers hoping to get into the next phase. Ham got his 92nd pole position and his 150th front row start. Bot gave Mercedes their 5th front row lock-out of the season. Ver, Per & Str made up the top five.
Race day had some heavy black clouds looming in the distance. Ham got away very well. Bot had another poor start losing a couple of places at the first corner which as usual produced some very close wheel to wheel racing. Alb was the first to pit on lap 17 and the action began with some position changes. Lec had a spin when his engine shut down. He made it back to the pits, but after he had undone his seat belt forcing him to pit and the team was unable to solve the engine problem, he had to retire. The second round of pit stops caused a few more position changes and the last few laps were a bit hectic. Ham took the chequered flag for the 88th time in his career with Ver & Bot (his 50th podium finish) joining him on the podium. Kvy was handed a 5 second time penalty for ignoring the blue flags. Bot posted the fastest lap clocking 1m 18.183s on lap 66, being a new lap record.
Hitting the headlines is that Williams has been bought by a US based private investment firm Derilton Capital. The good news is that the team will continue to race with the Williams name and keep the chassis name. Sir Frank founded the team with Sir Patrick Head in 1977 and has been a family run business ever since.
All ten teams have signed the new concord agreement meaning stability in Formula 1 for at least 5 years. The budget cap and re-distribution of the funds will come into force next year with the new rules & regulations in 2022. This will aid the smaller teams and make closer and more evenly matched racing.
Four more races have been announced making a total of 17 for this disrupted season, going back to Istanbul for the Turkish GP on 15th November, being the first time a race has been held there since 2011. The Bahrain GP will follow 2 weeks later with another back to back at the same circuit and making up yet another triple header is the final race at Abu Dhabi on 13th December.
Formula 1 Rolex Belgian GP Spa Francorchamps.
Lap record 1m 46.286s held by V. Bottas Mercedes (2018).
The first F1 World Championship held here was round 5 on 18th June 1950. It included 35 laps on public roads through the wooded hills of the Ardennes South West of Liege and was won by J. Fangio driving an Alfa Romeo. The circuit boasts the longest straight on the calendar and the cars are on full throttle for 67% of the lap. Schumi still holds the record for most wins here with 6. Vet posted the fastest lap of 1m 46.409s on lap 36.
It was a cool 16ºC start to the weekend. Gro had a ‘sick engine’ and had to return to the garage, as did his team mate. Just a few minor off circuit excursions. Mag & Gro were both in the garage for a while still having work done on the cars and only appeared on track with 30 minutes remaining. Ric stopped on track with a loss of power causing a VSC, then session red flagged due to debris on the track.
Qualifying had no major dramas. Out went both Ferrari & Alpha Tauri drivers along with Rus. As per usual the top ten shoot out was short, sharp, fast and furious. Ham got his 6th pole at this circuit with a new track record. Bot, Ver, Ric & Alb made up the top five.
The day started on a sombre note remembering the horrific accident in the F2 race last year when the young 22 year old French driver Anthoine Hubert lost his life. As a mark of respect there was a 1 minute silence before the national anthem.
Sai had a problem on the way to the grid with smoke pouring out of his engine and returned to the garage. Ham had a very good start. Gio crashed into the barriers. His rear wheel flew off hitting the front of Rus causing him to crash into the barrier on the other side of the track. Safety car deployed & the pit lane was chaotic as most drivers went for an early tyre change. Safety car came in at the end of lap 14 after the flurry of pit stops and some position changes. It was a good exciting race with some close encounters and brave overtaking manoeuvres. Ham got his 4th win at Spa. Bot & Ver joined him on the podium. Ric posted the fastest lap on lap 44 with 1m 47.483s.