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Not just another day at the Spa…Belgium GP thoughts

by on August 24, 2014

Quick thoughts on today’s Belgian Grand Prix before I hit the road and leave my keyboard behind for a day or two.

Spa-Francorchamps is one of my all time favourite F1 venues. It would be the perfect “Welcome back” from the summer break for Formula One and its fans. The Belgian GP normally provides an exciting race so why should the 2014 edition be any different?

Drama and excitement was present from before the start. The Mercedes duo were poised for another 1 -2 finish as they sat at the front of the grid before the lights went out. They remained confident with the knowledge that they were over a full second clear of the rest of the field in terms of pace.

The drama unfolded quicker than Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s linen napkin at dinner. Ferrari mechanic’s working feverishly on Alonso’s car beyond the warning before the parade lap cost the Spaniard a five second stop and go penalty. This would pale in comparison to the story about to unfold after the start of the race however. Hamilton and Rosberg tussling at the front eventually came together causing damage for both cars. A glimmer of hope shot across the chasing pack. It was obvious that Hamilton suffered the most damage as he limped back on a shredded Pirelli tyre for almost an entire lap. His race wasn’t just compromised, it would eventually be over before the end in a prudent move to save his power unit.

The race itself was entertaining. It was filled with comic book bravery and daft overtakes which brought fans to their feet off the edge of their seats. The racing action seems to have silenced the critics about the new F1 power unit “noise” and phallic inspired noses.

Important notes from today really are that despite having inferior power and pace, Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo claimed his third victory. The importance of this accomplishment in a season dominated by Mercedes power is truly worthy of a mention. Kimi seemed to have his breakthrough moment finishing ahead of Alonso and nearly missing out on a podium. Finally I have to congratulate Bottas for yet another podium for Williams. He’s handing Massa his ass in a sister car and showing well for his Grove based team. The young Finn appears confident and mature, interviewing calmly and well spoken. His comments about knowing that they are building for the future shows that neither he nor Williams are finished working toward their goals yet.

The podium was an unpleasant place for Rosberg as he was greeted by booing fans several times. It was awkward for Eddie Jordan as well as he conducted the interviews but nothing would wipe the smile off the face of Ricciardo who stood on the top step admiring all the Aussie flags waiving back at him.

After the race, more drama followed as expected. Most of us were awaiting the impending “ShitStorm” at Mercedes and of course, just when we all thought the worst had past, the media got its story. Comments made by Hamilton about Rosberg admitting to have had deliberately made contact to “prove a point” kicked the media into a dizzying frenzy. Toto Wolf later mentioned that Nico’s comments were misconstrued. It could be damage control or it could be genuine. Either way, the FIA should have an obligation now to investigate what happened.

Opinion:
There are clearly those that don’t have issues with fans booing. I completely understand and respect that fans and spectators have a right to their opinions, and have a right to express it. My view however is that some decorum should be exercised when doing so. Surely there are classier ways than booing during a podium interview. Sometimes, silence is the best way to make a point.

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