Driver of the Weekend
Daniel Ricciardo’s sensational podium and Nico Hulkenberg being best of the rest in sixth were both strong contenders, but look no further than the race winner for this award. Lewis Hamilton’s performance at Spa-Francorchamps this weekend was a real champion’s drive, that began even before yesterday’s race. On Saturday, he matched Michael Schumacher’s all-time pole position record of 68 with a perfect record-breaking lap of Formula 1’s most spectacular circuit. The triple world champion then followed this up the day after by keeping his main title rival, Sebastian Vettel, at bay for the whole Grand Prix.
His best moment, however, came after the Safety Car period, when Vettel was right behind him on much faster tyres. Despite severe pressure on the first lap of the restart, Hamilton held the lead and Seb wouldn’t get close for the rest of the race. It very much reminded me of Bahrain 2014, when Hamilton held off his then-teammate Nico Rosberg, even though he was on theoretically slower rubber. With the gap at the top reduced to just seven points, it was a very happy 200th Grand Prix for Lewis.
Fernando Alonso pulling off any overtake in that McLaren deserves a trophy, but it’s Daniel Ricciardo who claims this race’s Best Overtake award. There were’t any jaw-dropping moves, but I think that his manoeuvre to seal his podium finish was the best we saw in Belgium. After Kimi Raikkonen’s penalty, the Aussie found himself in fourth place at the restart. He found himself under pressure from behind but managed to come out on top in a three-way scrap up the Kemmel Straight. He would impressively never be challenged by Raikkonen, nor Valtteri Bottas, for the remainder of the race.
Egg on Face Award
No prizes for guessing that Force India have again picked up this award for another on-track clash between their two drivers. Like in Baku, the Pink Panthers got a little too close to one another, and to the unforgiving barriers, as they battled for position out on the track. Their first altercation occurred on the opening lap: while running down to Eau Rouge, Hulkenberg pulled alongside Sergio Perez, and Esteban Ocon saw his chance to get up to eighth. The Frenchman went for the gap on the right but got knocked into the wall and somehow avoided a hideous accident.
They seemingly didn’t learn their lesson, though, and at the same part of the track they collided once more but this time with disastrous consequences. Ocon took a wide line into La Source and had a great run on his teammate, but Perez forced him into the wall before Eau Rogue, damaging Ocon’s wing and puncturing his tyre. Perez would later retire as a result, while Ocon would clamber home in ninth and earn just two points for the team – when it should have been much more.
I don’t want to take sides in this battle because the finger should be pointed at Force India for failing to contain their drivers. The team have now said that they will be “separated” on-track so it appears as if they’re finally taking action.
The Sisyphus Award is given to the driver who, like the eponymous figure from Greek mythology, tries hard but ultimately fails time and time again. You might think that this is going to go to Max Verstappen for yet another terminal mechanical failure in a promising position, but you'd be wrong. If there's one man that is the F1 equivalent of Sisyphus, it's got to be Fernando Alonso.
The Spaniard had another great start, making it up to P7 from tenth on the grid. Slowly but surely, though, his McLaren-Honda let him down. First were the Force Indias, who passed Alonso in successive laps as if a Formula 2 engine was in the car, which prompted a typical radio outburst from the double world champion.
Alonso continued to fall down the order, every other power unit making a mockery of his Honda up the long Kemmel Straight. Predictably, another engine failure afflicted to Alonso just after the halfway mark.
Who else do you think deserves an award for their Spa break performance? Let us know in the comments below!
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