Incorrect Engine Mode Aided Hamilton Defence Against Vettel

Rufina Vignone
Agosto 29, 2017

The Mercedes and Ferrari pairings dominated the first four places with the Red Bull Renaults of Max Verstappen and Ricciardo fifth and sixth.

Yet, though the history books will show a lights to flag win for Lewis Hamilton on Sunday, the fact is that Sebastian Vettel was able to push him all the way.

Despite plenty of squandered points in Spa, Force India's fourth place in the standings doesn't look under threat but Chief Operating Officer, Otmar Szafnauer, confirmed he would no longer be allowing Perez and Ocon to race, confirming they will from now on follow team orders.

Hamilton argued that the safety vehicle was deployed even though there was no debris visible on the track, but his boss Wolff gave FIA officials the benefit of the doubt.

At the restart, Ricciardo, on supersoft tyres, muscled past Bottas' Mercedes on the exit of the scary 300km/h Eau Rouge corner, as did Raikkonen. Not only that, he quickly lost ground to finish fifth, unable to explain his lack of pace in his second set of new Soft tyres, as well as his general lack of speed with the Ultra Softs the whole weekend.

With eight races remaining, four-times champion Vettel has 220 points and Hamilton 213.

"Then the Safety Car came out and made the decision easier for us". The fans buy very expensive tickets to come and watch the race and then after eight laps it's finished.

"Initially it felt like that's a mistake, but in actual fact it was actually a really good thing, because if I came out of the last corner with that gap, he would have had the momentum, being three or four auto lengths behind, to really propel and really get a good tow, and come and slip past me".

Number of podiums Hamilton has been on in his 200 Formula One races. At this point, the leading teams Mercedes and Ferrari immediately called in its drivers for fresh tires.

That news ended speculation that the German, who would have been out of contract at the end of the season, could switch to Mercedes.

Another victory in next Sunday's Italian Grand Prix could give him the lead for the first time this year.

While Hamilton and Vettel were not engaged in much direct battling on-track, the Ferrari driver enjoyed going toe-to-toe with his championship rival.

Belgian-born Dutch 19-year-old wunderkind Verstappen, supported by almost 80,000 fans who crossed the border from Holland, again overstressed his engine and retired on lap 8.

If Force India thought that was bad, they had a thing coming, for two weeks later, in Baku, a couple of clashes cost the team more than a dozen points and a good shot at, at least, a podium finish. The Mexican couldn't avoid his team mate and his vehicle sustained heavy damage, while Ocon recovered thanks to the race stoppage to finish in sixth place. The Spanish driver has completed only three races so far.

After bumping on the track at the Azerbaijan GP in June, they did it again when they touched wheels as Ocon moved on the outside of the track shortly after the start, with Perez responding by squeezing the Frenchman against the barrier.

Drivers worry that their tires lose heat if they stay behind the vehicle too long.

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