A matter of speed: F1 enters a decisive leg in Europe

by H. Mayor – photo: f1.com | Everything indicates Abu Dhabi will bare witness to an epic season climax but the European leg of the championship, at Spa last weekend and with the forthcoming Grand Prix in Monza next could be decisive. Those are two very speed and power demanding circuits and put the machines to the test in this decisive stretch of the championship. In Belgium Hamilton took the victory home on board a Mercedes which continues to improve technically. He also narrowed his distance with Vettel by another seven points despite the latter being very close to stealing the podium. Now there are just seven points between them with only eight races to go.

Vettel nearly changed the course of the race at lap 32 when, just after the safety car had gone off the track, launched an attack on the Kemmel straight. Hamilton managed to contain Vettel’s challenge but the way Ricciardo and a renewed Raikkonen took over Bottas behind, indicate that technically the battle between Mercedes and its rivals is going to be harrowing to say the least.

The show

Unfortunately the pulse of the show was turned down a notch when, before the eyes of 30.000 incredulous fans, Max Verstappen broke down at the start of the race. Fernando Alonso delighted everyone with an exceptional start and manoeuvre which got him into  seventh position only to be left far behind after the first straights where his car wasn’t up to the challenge. His frustration was clear on radio just before being forced to abandon the race once again after a sudden loss of power.

Good news for Hulkenberg who gave a great performance and seems to be reaping the fruits of his improved Renault. The Hass were also able to scratch some points. Not such a fine day for  Force India (accident included) and a great race for Carlos Sainz who was able to scrape one extra point on board a clearly inferior machine and within an outfit that doesn’t seem to be backing him up.

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