Belgian GP 2020
AUGUST 30, 2020
Sunday Team Quotes
Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport
Lewis Hamilton (1st): "Spa is such a special circuit, I could just drive around here for lap after lap. It's not always been an easy one for me, so to come here and get pole and the win this weekend is fantastic. The first lap can be a nightmare, because of the huge tow down the big straight, but I managed to keep Valtteri behind me on lap one and from there I had a strong race. Of course, I'd love to be able to win every race wheel to wheel, but today was a different kind of race, it was all about managing the tyres and the gap to the cars behind. I was slightly nervous at the end that we might see a repeat of the tyre issue we had in Silverstone, but thankfully it held in there. Huge credit to the team, both here and back home in Brackley and Brixworth. No matter how much success we've had over the years, everyone just keeps their heads down and focuses on trying to improve. It's an incredible mentality to have and it's inspiring to be working in that kind of environment."
Valtteri Bottas (2nd): "The race was pretty straight-forward today; I was hoping to really get some good opportunities today in the first lap and at the Safety Car restart, but I couldn't use the tow going up to Turn 5 enough today. I was actually really close to Lewis out of the first corner, but the tow effect was much smaller today than it was in previous years. I'm not quite sure why, maybe that's because we had a tail wind going into Turn 5. I don't think there was really any other opportunity to catch Lewis; he was on pole, drove a good race and deserved the win today. Towards the end of the race, we had to really manage the tyres quite a bit; I was starting to get the same kind of vibration that I felt before the end of the race in Silverstone when I suffered the puncture. I had to reduce the pace quite a bit to save the tyres, but it worked out and I'm happy that this time I didn't lose the points. I was just told that this was my 51st podium - the same number of podiums that Mika Häkkinen scored in his career. He was my idol growing up, so it's great to equal him in that way, although he is obviously mostly known for his two titles."
Toto Wolff, Team Principal: "That was a great race. We had not won in Spa since 2017, so to come back with such a strong performance and very good pace on a track that troubled us before makes me really happy. The race was relatively straight-forward after the start, but it ended up getting very tricky towards the end, because the tyres were almost at the end of their life. We could see the same on Verstappen's car and at that point it was really about bringing our cars home safely. So we told our drivers to stay off the kerbs and lose quite a bit of pace. It gave us a bit of a headache because the memory of the punctures in Silverstone was still fresh and that's obviously what we wanted to avoid at all cost. So for us, the race wasn't over until both cars had really crossed the line - but luckily they did and secured this great one-two. We're really looking forward to go to Monza next week and then to Mugello - the races keep coming thick and fast and it just doesn't stop."
Andrew Shovlin: "Another great result for the team. The safety car was a bit earlier than we'd have wanted, which made it difficult to get the hard tyre through those last few laps. In the early part of the second stint we thought it was close between a one and a two-stop, but seeing the degradation on the hard, we realised that Verstappen on the two-stop would be a significant threat around lap 25 when he was close behind Valtteri. That caused us to get both drivers to drop the tyre management and put some quick laps in. They were both able to build gaps that meant we could cover if Red Bull did stop but the fast laps did take a bit out of the tyres and they were really dropping off in the last few laps. Overall though, it's been a good weekend for the team. The car hasn't had the same pace we've enjoyed at other tracks this year, particularly in qualifying, but the team has done a good job to get the most out of it and we've operated well throughout the weekend. We're looking forward to Monza, but we need to find a lower drag set-up as we're behind Red Bull on the straights already and the latest technical directive from the FIA on engine modes is going to cost us time in qualifying. But the team will be working hard in Brackley and Brixworth over the next few days to try and stay ahead."
Sebastian Vettel (13th): "It was not an easy race. We finished in the same place in which we started. We tried everything with both cars, but we were just too slow. I hope the situation on this circuit doesn't repeat itself. I think this track maybe exposed our weaknesses a bit more than others. I believe we can do a bit better next week. We must work to make sure that we take everything we can from this weekend, learn all there is to learn and go forward."
Charles Leclerc (14th): "It has been a very difficult day. I had a very good start and managed to make up several positions thanks to a good tow up to turn 5, but after that things started to get worse. First of all, we lost time during both pit stops due to some issues. During the second stint, we knew that we couldn't make any miracles happen so, seeing the position we were in, with a train of cars ahead and no possibility to overtake, we decided to try something different and go for a second stop. It's a shame that it didn't work out, but ultimately, today we just didn't have the pace we needed. The next race will be a difficult one for us, but hopefully from Mugello, it could get better. We have to stay united, react and work hard to come back to where we were before."
Mattia Binotto, Team Principal: "On a track that requires aerodynamic efficiency and power, we were severely lacking in both. Charles and Sebastian did their very best, both yesterday in qualifying and today in the race, but we couldn't even get into the points. We are disappointed and angry, as indeed are our fans and with good reason. It's a difficult moment in a season that we knew from the start would be a tough one, but it's at times like this that we need to stand firm and look ahead in order to get over this difficult period. It's the only way we will get out of this situation."
Red Bull Racing
Max Verstappen (3rd): "I love this track but the race was not really the most exciting from my side. It wasn't really much of a fight and I just tried to do my own race and maximise the result. On the medium tyre I didn't have a lot of grip and then on the hard I was initially trying to put pressure on Valtteri but he was told to speed up and was able to build a good gap, so after that it was a bit lonely. There was not much action up front unfortunately and the tyre wear was quite high so we couldn't really push. I had some vibrations towards the end of the race so I really had to manage my tyres, I took no risks and brought it home. Overall, we had a good weekend and the car balance was nice so we can be pleased with that. We are not here to finish third and we want more but it is always good to be on the podium."
Alexander Albon (6th): "It was a frustrating race and it was pretty tricky to do anything. We knew before the race that the Renaults would be hard to overtake with their low downforce and straightline speed and that proved to be the case. I felt pretty good at the start on the soft tyre and then we managed to jump Ocon in the pits when we changed to mediums, thanks to a good stop from the boys in the garage. I don't think we expected as much degradation as we got on that compound and maybe they weren't the right choice in the end but I pushed as hard as I could to try and do the overtakes and the tyres just dropped off. We'll have a look at it to see what we can learn before our focus shifts towards Monza in a few days but it's nice to move up to fourth in the championship which is a sign we're making progress."
Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "It was a tricky race today with tyre management but we managed to get solid points on the board with both cars. Max didn't quite have the pace to fight the Mercedes with tyre degradation in the second half of the race proving to be significant, so we were weighing up whether to one or two stop. Daniel's straightline speed was obviously very strong so we opted to stick with a one stop and Max managed to bring the car home for his sixth podium in a row. Meanwhile, Alex lost a place at the start to Ocon but managed to get it back through his pit stop when we elected to put him on the medium tyre which we thought was the best compound to attack the Renaults. He did a good job today defending hard throughout the Grand Prix but unfortunately the Renaults were just too fast on the straights with their lower downforce configuration and he lost P5 on the final lap. Alex is now up to fourth in the Drivers' Championship and he's had a very solid weekend so now we'll continue to work hard as a Team before we arrive in Monza next week."
Renault Sport Formula One Team
Daniel Ricciardo (4th): "What a race and definitely an excellent result for the team. We had a lot of pace today and fourth is a strong result. It's been a while since I've had the fastest lap of the race, so that was also nice. My engineer told me what the current fastest was and I thought 'I got this'! It was a proper big lap; I used all the track and went for it. Maybe it was better than my qualifying lap yesterday! This was a good track for us last year and Monza was even better. We'll see what happens, but we can go there with a lot of confidence."
Esteban Ocon (5th): "That fifth place was ours today, so I'm very happy to secure it on the last lap. It's fantastic for the team to have fourth and fifth today, we've been quick all weekend and fighting with the top cars. The race was pretty solid, we got Albon at the start and then lost it at the pit-stop. The guys did a great job on the stop, so we'll see where we missed out there. From there we had to keep working hard, close the gap and then find a pass at the end. It's positive that the car is performing well at these tracks, so we can go to Monza feeling ready to go again."
Cyril Abiteboul, Managing Director: "Today's result is dedicated to Anthoine Hubert who we think of on this particular weekend. We knew Spa would suit our package and there were big points at stake. We executed our plan all the way through the weekend. While we're satisfied with today, we have to stay focused. It's the same car that failed to be in the top ten in Barcelona and that shows a lack of consistency for competitiveness and improving this will have to be our priority. In addition to the strong finishing positions that brings us closer to the teams ahead in the championship, the fastest lap today by Daniel rounds off in style the result and I see that as a reward to everyone in Viry who has been working so hard for several years to get on top of the complexity of the power unit. We'll celebrate a little bit to give us the energy to attack what's coming next, but our focus is already on Monza and the milestone of the change to the qualifying mode that we must prepare with the highest possible care."
Haas F1 Team
Romain Grosjean (15th): "We wouldn't necessarily haven taken P15 this morning, if offered it, but what we would have taken is to be able to fight with Ferrari. For us, that's a benchmark, and in that aspect we did well. I thought I could keep Charles (Leclerc) behind me, but sadly on the last lap I had a bit of a lock up at turn one – anyway the tires were running out of life. It was fun in that aspect. We did the best behind Vettel and Leclerc; Alfa Romeo did a good job being in front of them."
Kevin Magnussen (17th): "We needed something to help us today, weather or something, but we didn't get any. I had another good first lap though, I'm really happy about that. But from there we just didn't really have the pace, especially on the first stint on the C3 tire. At the beginning of that stint I was very slow, just overheating the tires. I got that under control later on, then we pitted onto the C2 and it was a little bit like that again – just struggling a bit on the first part of the stint but getting better towards the end. I lost a position at the end when we pitted again. It's been a tough day but there was not much we could do."
Guenther Steiner, Team Principal: "I don't have a lot to say today. It was obviously a disappointing result but not unexpected. This is where we are right now. The only way forward is to get better."
McLaren F1 Team
Lando Norris (7th): "A good race in the end: P10 to P7, so I'm pretty happy. It was a tricky start – I don't know what happened at the end of the back straight, there was some water or a bit of oil on track or something and I completely lost the rear. It put me down a few positions more than I wanted and set me back – but the rest of the race was really good. I controlled my pace when I had to, knowing that the Racing Points and Renaults were quick when we had a similar tyre life. I knew I might've been able to overtake and that's what I did. I felt the car came on strong – it got better and better towards the end of the race and we managed to push forward a bit with some good pace. One more lap and I could've done something to get P6, but I'm still happy with P7."
Carlos Sainz (DNS, Exhaust): "I'm extremely disappointed not to race for a second-consecutive year here in Belgium. Having started from P7 and seeing how the race unfolded, we definitely missed a very strong chance to score big points and get a good result. So, I'm very far from happy. It's the second engine with issues this year and the frustration of losing points again is very tough. I strongly feel this is not the season we deserve so far. However, we'll put it behind us and switch our focus to Monza tomorrow. We move on."
Andreas Seidl, Team Principal: "It was damage-limitation today. Despite having a good race car here, we could only score six points. Carlos' race was over before it began with a PU failure on his reconnaissance laps-to-grid, which forced us to retire the car before the start. Lando unfortunately lost two positions during the first lap, which compromised his race. On a positive note, Lando drove a great race to fight his way back up to P7, and that result lifts us back up to P3 in the Constructors' Championship, taking points away from both Racing Point and Ferrari. The team in the garage and back at the MTC did an excellent job to stay focussed after the big disappointment with Carlos and executed Lando's race perfectly, including a very good pit-stop. Tomorrow we reset and prepare for the Italian Grand Prix. We've seen here that we can compete on the low-downforce tracks, which should put us in a good position for a fight with our closest rivals at Monza."
Racing Point F1 Team
Lance Stroll (9th): "It was a difficult race today. We made a good start and gained a place, and we were looking comfortable in the first stint, but we had degradation in the second on the hard tyre and it was difficult to manage. We were running in P7 late on and I'm disappointed to have finished in P9 – but there was nothing I could do to hold onto a higher position. The positive is that we were able to score points on a challenging day regardless, and we've got a chance to improve and score more points next weekend at Monza. I think the circuit should suit our car, but we need to go away and analyse everything that happened today to find some solutions to ensure we hit the ground running at Monza."
Sergio Perez (10th): "It's important we go away and review the strategy, but I don't think it had a big bearing on the race as we were able to get both cars into the points – which is the positive from today. The task now is to go away and understand why we weren't able to maintain the pace we had at the beginning of the weekend through qualifying and the race. We were able to make up places after our pitstop and get back into the points, and it was nice to be able to make a few overtakes out there! But overall, we just didn't have enough pace today, so we need to make sure we come back stronger at Monza next weekend. It's a track that should suit us, and I'm hopeful we can score good points there."
Otmar Szafnauer, Chief Operating Officer: "Getting two cars home inside the points was the goal today, but we had hoped to be higher up the order at the end. We need to understand why we were not as strong in the final stages of the race where we lost some positions in the final few laps. I think strategically the safety car presented some difficult decisions for everybody. At the time it was questionable whether a one-stop race was possible at that point. That was why we kept Sergio out under the safety car in the hope that he would have a tyre advantage at the end compared to our competition. We will take away the lessons learned this afternoon to come back stronger in Italy next week. In terms of the standings, we're now fourth but we're only a couple of points off third, so we will work hard to reclaim that position in the coming races."
Alfa Romeo Racing
Kimi Raikkonen (12th): "I feel the result today is as good as it could have been. The car felt good but P12 is the most we could get, and that gives you no points: it's disappointing as we really gave everything we had. The start was bad, the car went into antistall at turn one and it put me at the very back. After that we had good speed but sadly not enough to make it into the top ten. I got stuck behind Kvyat, I felt I was quicker than him in the middle sector but couldn't get a run on him where I could try a pass. We'll try to make more progress in Monza."
Antonio Giovinazzi (DNF, Accident): "A disappointing ending to my race: I was pushing a lot to keep within DRS range of Sebastian [Vettel] and the car just snapped on the exit. I was on the limit and when you're there, sometimes mistakes can happen. I feel sorry for the team as they deserved a good result this weekend, and of course also for George [Russell] as his race was compromised as well, although I couldn't do anything about that. There are still some positives I can take from this race: I had another really good start, I made up a few places and I was able to be in a fight with the Ferraris, so we can build on that. Next race up is my home race in Italy, I'll need to reset and be in a better shape for next weekend."
Frederic Vasseur, Team Principal: "It was a race of two halves, unfortunately, but we showed some more competitiveness compared to previous rounds. Kimi lost some ground at the start but was able to make it back into 15th within a few laps, whereas Antonio had a really good launch and was putting pressure on Vettel's Ferrari. His race ended at lap nine, but both drivers were able to keep their rivals honest with some decent pace. Kimi had a strong race and ran in the points after the pit stops: unfortunately, we seemed to be quicker on the twisty part of the track, where overtaking is not that easy, and he couldn't make his way past Kvyat. In the end, P12 is the most we could have done today and, while points remain elusive, we can take a bit of encouragement from our performance."
Red Bull AlphaTauri Honda
Pierre Gasly (8th): "It was an important day for me because I wanted to do well for Anthoine after what happened last year. We decided to go for a different strategy, starting on the hard compound. It was better than expected and I was able to attack and overtake quite a few cars. The move on Perez was especially intense but very enjoyable! We knew a safety car between the start of the race and lap 20 would be a killer for us, but unfortunately, that's what happened and gave the other cars a free pitstop. We didn't give up because we had a great car, good pace, so I pushed as hard as I could. After our pitstop, we exited almost last and we had to fight back through the field, but I enjoyed it and to recover to P8 was just great! I reckon the safety car cost us a potential P5 today because I think we lost around 20 seconds there and finished seven seconds behind Ocon in P5. We had a big job ahead of us today, so to recover the way we did was great and I think we can be very happy with that. It's nice to be voted Driver of the Day, so thanks to all the people who voted for me and I'll try to put this kind of performance again and again in the coming weeks."
Daniil Kvyat (11th): "I think that we didn't choose the right strategy today, so we will have to review our race. We couldn't have known it before the race, so we split the cars and unfortunately, I was on the wrong side of the strategy call. It would have been better to start on the harder compound, and I felt I was always in the wrong place at the wrong time today, because at a track like Spa, it's very hard to keep cars behind on old tyres."
Franz Tost, Team Principal: "After Qualifying, Daniil and Pierre finished in P11 and P12 - which is quite a good position because you can decide which tyres to begin the race - so we opted to split the strategy. Daniil started on the Prime, while Pierre stared on the Base. Both had a really good start; Pierre immediately started to overtake the cars in front, moving up to P8. Daniil was two places behind when a safety car came as a result of Giovinazzi's crash, so we decided to pit Daniil and leave Pierre out on the Base tyre, as for our strategy it was too early to pit him. Pierre did a very good job defending his position until, later on, other drivers managed to overtake him on fresher tyres, so we pitted him for Prime on lap 26. He then started a competitive comeback to close the gap and was able to overtake the Haas, Ferrari and the Racing Points to finish in eighth position. It was a fantastic drive from Pierre and without the safety car, our strategy to start on the Base would have paid off even more as I think Pierre could have finished higher up the order. Like many other drivers, Daniil suffered with the tyres at the end of the race, therefore he wasn't able to score points and finished in P11. Now we are looking forward to going to our "first home race" out of three in Italy, it's always nice to be back in Monza, where we have very good memories."
Claudio Balestri, Chief Engineer: "We had a good race today. We optimized our low downforce package during the weekend and it paid off. Our competitive top speed in the race permitted us to overtake many cars. The pit wall did a solid job in terms of strategy because we tried to maximize the advantage of free tyre choice. In the end, Pierre put in a fantastic drive, overtaking many cars which is very satisfying. Daniil was on different strategy, he pitted under safety car which was deployed for the crash between Russell and Giovinazzi, and similarly to most of the drivers we tried to go to the end with him on the base tyre. At the end of the race, Pierre finished P8 and Daniil finished just out of the points in P11. We now head to Monza with a bit of momentum to continue the fight for points"
Nicholas Latifi (16th): "Straight from the formation lap and the start of the race I didn't have a good feeling with the car, there was quite an imbalance. The conditions were different compared to the previous days and it was a real challenge out there. I enjoyed the last stint pushing flat out on the edge, chasing Romain and the Ferraris. Overall, it was a very tough race today."
George Russell (DNF, Accident): "It is frustrating, I was in the wrong place at the wrong time and there was nothing we could do. I went to the left to avoid Antonio's car and then his wheel came from nowhere and hit the front of my car which pushed me into the wall. It was quite a big impact, but I am ok. I feel very fortunate to have the halo on the car as it could have gone quite near my helmet. It was a very unfortunate set of circumstances, but that's just racing sometimes. Up until that point I was in a good rhythm. I had overtaken the Haas, but it would have been a long and difficult race out there for us."
Dave Robson, Senior Race Engineer: "We felt that we had made some progress with our race pace this weekend, but we didn't really get a chance to show it today. Both drivers started well and made places initially but were unable to hang on to them for the first lap. This put both out of position and ultimately meant that George was behind Giovinazzi when he crashed. George was forced to take evasive action but couldn't avoid the debris and ultimately the wall. Although very frustrating, we are relived that nobody was hurt in what could've been a nasty incident. Following the safety car, we opted to switch Nicholas to a two-stop race and in the final stint he showed good pace despite not being fully happy with the behaviour of his car and was quickly able to catch the cars ahead. When Magnussen pitted, we were able to keep him behind and continue to close on Grosjean and Leclerc. Frustratingly, we caught them on the final lap but didn't get an opportunity to pass. We learned a lot this weekend that will help us next week in Monza and we are keen to get the cars back on the track and continue to push the cars around us."