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Race analysis GP Belgium 2018: will the Halo Leclerc save your life?

Race analysis GP Belgium 2018
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R Halo Leclerc saved that Life?

After a few seconds, the fans in Spa-Francorchamps caught their breath. Fernando Alonso sailed over Charles Leclerc's car after a neat push from Nico Hülkenberg. The McLaren rose from the stern and scraped past the cockpit before making its approach on the other side of the cleaner. Traces on the Halo protective bar clearly showed that the orange racer was not flying far from the head of the Monegasque rookie.

Halo proponents like Alonso then celebrated the titanium ring as a lifesaver. Former champion Nico Rosberg also spoke up: “We can now end the discussion about the halo. It will save lives. ”And Leclerc himself also had a clear opinion:“ I was never a big fan of the Halo, but I have to say that today I was very happy to have it over my head. ”

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The traces of battle were clearly recognizable on the Sauber von Leclerc.

How close the McLaren Leclerc helmet would really have come, however, cannot be said. “The onboard video is unfortunately blurry. The FIA ​​still has to evaluate the small high-speed camera on the edge of the cockpit, ”explained Sauber team manager Beat Zehnder. FIA race director Charlie Whiting took a first look at the images mentioned immediately after the race, but did not give much hope for new findings.

The FIA ​​still wants to have the fastening bolts examined to see whether the halo warped on impact. “At this point it would be speculative to say that Halo Leclerc saved life. But it doesn't take a lot of imagination to imagine thatthe tire prints would have been on Charles's helmet without a halo. It would be almost a miracle if not. The marks on the surface are more than clear, ”said Whiting.

Why did Hülkenberg crash into Alonso?

Was the trigger for Fernando Alonso's involuntary flight Nico Hulkenberg. The Rhinelander crashed the McLaren full cannon into the stern as it approached the La Source hairpin. The FIA ​​referees then gave it a starting place penalty over 10 positions for the upcoming race in Monza. The person who caused the accident accepted the judgment. 'I destroyed the race for others and myself.'

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Hülkenberg has to return 10 starting places in Monza.

But Hulkenberg is actually not known as a rowdy. How could the Renault driver so miscalculate? “It's unbelievable how much the grip level changes on these cars when you drive in a crowd. You lose a lot of grip, especially on the front axle. I only touched the brakes lightly and the wheels locked directly. From the outside, of course, it doesn't look particularly great. That was just a miscalculation on my part. '

Alonso, who torpedoed the Ricciardo-Red-Bull in addition to the Leclerc-Sauber, found clear words for his German opponent:' At such a level, this is allowed a mistake just doesn't happen. He completely missed his braking point. The consequences were pretty severe. Fortunately, nothing happened to anyone. The next time he should think twice in a situation like this. ”

How big is Ferrari's power advantage?

In addition to the start-up crash, that was Ferrari dominance the most hotly debated topic after the race at Spa. In contrast to Hockenheim and Budapest, Sebastian Vettel was finally able to convert the speed advantage into a victory. The key to success was the overtaking maneuver on the first lap: “I was in the same situation last year and didn't make it past. This time I came up with a plan. The timing is crucial ”, explained the pilot.

Vettel left a little more distance in the Eau Rouge valley so as not to be in front of himto run up. With a lot of momentum, the power advantage of the Ferrari and the slipstream, Vettel flew easily past the Mercedes. “I couldn't defend myself. Ferrari can simply call up more power, ”complained Hamilton. “When restarting after the safety car phase, I could have attacked him on the home straight. But then he would have easily caught me on the long straight again. That's why I left it. ”

When analyzing the power advantage of Ferrari, the top speed comparison on the straight is not entirely meaningful. Not only did Vettel catch up massively on the Silver Arrow from Hamilton in the first attack, the two Force India also pulled at least the same height in tow. And as is well known, they have a Mercedes engine in the rear. The decisive factor in this case was the slipstream and not the drive power.

Mercedes sports director Toto Wolff was able to contribute more to the analysis. “In the GPS data you can see that Ferrari has a small power advantage in certain parts of the route. Then there was our weakness in slow corners. That was almost a double knockout, when the disadvantages of traction and power come together, then something like that happens in lap 1. '

How did Bottas move forward despite the start-up crash?

Bottas made a mistake similar to Hülkenberg in the first few meters. The Finn crashed into the rear of Sergey Sirotkin's Williams when braking into Turn 1. The front wing broke, which threw the pilot, who had started in 17th place due to an engine penalty, all the way back. But after a weak initial phase, the fourth place in the World Cup got better and better. Especially the courageous overtaking maneuver against Toro Rosso driver Brendon Hartley in Eau Rouge tore the fans from their seats. In the final laps Bottas also cracked the two Force India of Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez at the end of the long straight.

'Fourth place was the maximum possible today', praised Toto Wolff. “The wing damage certainly didn't make life easier for him. In addition, he had problems overtaking at the beginning. He found it difficult to get past cars that were two seconds slower. But suddenly things went much better with the second set of tires. Valtteri even drove the fastest lap of the race. ”

After the race, Bottas had to tremble for a moment. The FIA ​​surprisingly opened a last-minute investigation into the crash with Sirotkin. 'We hadn't noticed that in the chaos of the first round,' apologized Charlie Whiting. In the end, however, the verdict with a 5-second penalty was somewhat mild. It didn't change the result.

Why was Force India better than HaasF1?

The Force India fiddled big in Spa. Ocon even briefly thought about attacking Vettel.

Spa is a good place for Force India. Except the pilots drive each other in the car like last year. This time Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon stayed away. Their duel was decided on the opening lap when braking into the Les Combes curve. In a surprise attack, Ocon wanted to steal the lead from Sebastian Vettel on the inside lane. He ran out of space. Perez had the better line on the outside.

After that, the team no longer had to worry about stable management. “Perez was a bit faster than Ocon. There was no reason to debate, ”reported team boss Otmar Szafnauer. Before the race he had told his drivers: “We're starting with zero here and need a maximum of points from now on. You have to drive for the team and not for yourself. ”

Despite the turbulent summer break with bankruptcy and rescue, Force India was number 4 in the field. Before HaasF1. The pink cars with their Monza wings flew away from everyone on the straight. “Still, we didn't look bad in the corners. And the balance was perfect from day one, 'said Perez.

HaasF1 team boss Guenther Steiner said:' We were similar in terms of lap times. But Force India had too good a top speed. Only if we could have kept up the pace that Magnussen set after his pit stop could we have annoyed Force India. ”Magnussen caught up with teammate Romain Grosjean by 11 seconds.

Force's command post India waited for the direct opponent to decide. “When Grosjean came in, we responded with Ocon. There was no rush because we were five seconds ahead. We waited another lap with Checo so as not to get onto the track behind Gasly ”, explained Sazafnauer. Force India jumped from a standing start to 9th with 18 points. And what is possible under the best conditions? Optimistic announcement: “6th place ahead of McLaren.”

In the gallery we show the best pictures of the race and the spectacular starter crash from different perspectives.


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