Lewis Hamilton dominated at Spa, dedicating his win to Chadwick Boseman. Will his run end at Monza?
With no one coming close or even attempting to challenge the Englishman, Hamilton led a processional Belgian Grand Prix and secured victory for a fourth time at the scenic circuit.
It was a lights-to-flag display of dominance, and only Pirelli’s uncertain tyre life threatened to spoil the Mercedes party. But when third-placed Red Bull’s Max Verstappen radioed in reporting vibrations on his tyres too, the drivers turned their focus to nursing the cars home, not racing flat out.
This tyre-management exercise was an anti-climax to a race that had promised a lot in its build up — the probability of rain, multiple Safety Car periods or the long Kemmel straight where usually the pole sitter would lose his advantage to cars in his tow. However, none of this happened, and car number 44 cruised home unchallenged for all 44 laps.
Lewis Hamilton recalled when the great Michael Schumacher was dominant between 2000-2004 and reminded fans that he was aware dominance can get boring to watch! “Having been a fan growing up, having lived in different eras, watching the Schumacher era, of course, I know what it’s like. I was a
teenager. I would have woken up, had my bacon sandwich and probably watched the start and gone back to sleep and then woken up to watch the end,” he said.“If I was watching today I would do the same most likely and watch the highlights, ’cause it’s much shorter,” Hamilton, added with a laugh.
Yet, Ferrari’s no show on the points board at one of Formula 1’s fastest tracks is a bigger problem than the Briton rewriting the record books.
Both, Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc were left to defend P13 and P14 from midfield teams that were powered by customer Ferrari power units! Although Leclerc made an unbelievable start running as high as P8 initially, when the fuel levels came down and pit stops were done he fell back, powerless. The Italian team needs a fix, quickly. Before their home grand prix.
Unlike Ferrari though, the RS20 Renaults of Daniel Ricciardo and Esteban Ocon found remarkable pace in medium downforce trim, hauling 23 points and claiming fastest lap too!
Next up is Monza, the temple of speed. Who can stop the dominant black Mercedes! Or, should we call them the black panthers?
The writer is a motorsports enthusiast who will cover the 2020 FIA Formula One® season exclusively for Indulge.