Spa-Francorchamps, 2019

The race goes on at sombre Spa

2019 Belgian Grand Prix pre-race analysis

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With heavy hearts, the Formula 1 teams and drivers will return to racing today following the shocking crash which claimed the life of Anthoine Hubert in a support race.

Hubert was well-known in the F1 paddock beyond Renault, where he was a development driver. Several drivers on the grid competed against him earlier in their careers, including pole winner Charles Leclerc, a former karting rival, plus this likes of George Russell and Lance Stroll.

Today F2 race will not take place, and the grand prix has inevitably become of secondary importance. But as was the case at the Hungaroring four years ago after the death of Jules Bianchi, once the race begins the competitive instincts take over.

Leclerc dominated proceedings on Saturday, not only firmly eclipsing the Mercedes drivers, but putting team mate Sebastian Vettel in the shade as well. However questions remain over Ferrari’s long-run performance, which did not look strong on Friday.

Ferrari have locked out the front row of the grid and have a clear straight-line speed advantage. Will that be enough for them to see off the competition and deliver their first victory of 2019?

Mercedes are well-placed to attack and have seldom failed to exploit any weakness on their rival’s part so far this year. However with both Ferrari drivers ahead of them on the grid, they really need either Lewis Hamilton or Valtteri Bottas – or both – to get in between the Ferraris at the start.

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However Mercedes know they are unlikely to capture the lead at the start of the race and passing the Ferraris on-track will be difficult given the SF90’s top speed. There best chance therefore will come through strategy.

Pirelli suspects teams will have some flexibility. While the obvious default strategy is to start on softs and switch to mediums, running two stints on softs before switching to mediums is little slower. However this would likely still leave Mercedes needing to overtake a Ferrari on-track, albeit potentially with a greater tyre life advantage, as Hamilton exploited against Max Verstappen in Hungary.

The Red Bull driver could also be a factor. Verstappen has been plagued by niggling power unit problems all weekend, but the RB15’s core pace is strong.

A further key variable in the race will be the temperature. It is expected to be around 10C cooler today than yesterday, with ambient temperatures below 20C. Some rain has fallen overnight but dry conditions are still expected for the race.

But Saturday’s events have cast a tragic pall over the Belgian Grand Prix weekend. Whoever wins today, the more important consideration is that we have a safe race.

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Qualifying times in full


Q2 (vs Q1)

Q3 (vs Q2)
1Charles LeclercFerrari1’43.5871’42.938 (-0.649)1’42.519 (-0.419)
2Sebastian VettelFerrari1’44.1091’43.037 (-1.072)1’43.267 (+0.230)
3Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’45.2601’43.592 (-1.668)1’43.282 (-0.310)
4Valtteri BottasMercedes1’45.1411’43.980 (-1.161)1’43.415 (-0.565)
5Max VerstappenRed Bull1’44.6221’44.132 (-0.490)1’43.690 (-0.442)
6Daniel RicciardoRenault1’45.5601’44.103 (-1.457)1’44.257 (+0.154)
7Nico HulkenbergRenault1’45.8991’44.549 (-1.350)1’44.542 (-0.007)
8Kimi RaikkonenAlfa Romeo1’45.8421’44.140 (-1.702)1’44.557 (+0.417)
9Sergio PerezRacing Point1’45.7321’44.707 (-1.025)1’44.706 (-0.001)
10Kevin MagnussenHaas1’45.8391’44.738 (-1.101)1’45.086 (+0.348)
11Romain GrosjeanHaas1’45.6941’44.797 (-0.897)
12Lando NorrisMcLaren1’46.1541’44.847 (-1.307)
13Lance StrollRacing Point1’46.0001’45.047 (-0.953)
14Alexander AlbonRed Bull1’45.5281’45.799 (+0.271)
15Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo1’45.637
16Pierre GaslyToro Rosso1’46.435
17Carlos Sainz JnrMcLaren1’46.507
18Daniil KvyatToro Rosso1’46.518
19George RussellWilliams1’47.548
20Robert KubicaWilliams

Sector times

DriverSector 1Sector 2Sector 3
Charles Leclerc29.904 (2)44.319 (3)28.193 (1)
Sebastian Vettel29.897 (1)44.357 (4)28.375 (2)
Lewis Hamilton30.498 (7)43.970 (1)28.586 (6)
Valtteri Bottas30.767 (14)44.078 (2)28.570 (5)
Max Verstappen30.684 (11)44.395 (5)28.611 (7)
Daniel Ricciardo30.376 (3)45.206 (8)28.404 (3)
Nico Hulkenberg30.379 (4)45.338 (9)28.488 (4)
Kimi Raikkonen30.515 (8)44.936 (7)28.620 (8)
Sergio Perez30.480 (6)45.463 (12)28.678 (10)
Kevin Magnussen30.450 (5)45.400 (10)28.888 (14)
Romain Grosjean30.536 (9)45.504 (13)28.757 (11)
Lando Norris30.720 (12)45.461 (11)28.666 (9)
Lance Stroll30.567 (10)45.713 (15)28.767 (12)
Alexander Albon30.787 (15)44.852 (6)28.970 (16)
Antonio Giovinazzi30.766 (13)45.824 (16)28.822 (13)
Pierre Gasly31.305 (17)45.661 (14)29.469 (18)
Carlos Sainz Jnr31.194 (16)46.351 (18)28.962 (15)
Daniil Kvyat31.469 (19)45.853 (17)29.196 (17)
George Russell31.465 (18)46.600 (19)29.483 (19)
Robert Kubica31.722 (20)46.810 (20)38.318 (20)

Speed trap

PosDriverCarEngineSpeed (kph/mph)Gap
1Sebastian VettelFerrariFerrari317.7 (197.4)
2Daniel RicciardoRenaultRenault316.9 (196.9)-0.8
3Charles LeclercFerrariFerrari316.0 (196.4)-1.7
4Nico HulkenbergRenaultRenault315.6 (196.1)-2.1
5Sergio PerezRacing PointMercedes314.6 (195.5)-3.1
6Lance StrollRacing PointMercedes313.9 (195.0)-3.8
7Kevin MagnussenHaasFerrari312.7 (194.3)-5.0
8Romain GrosjeanHaasFerrari312.5 (194.2)-5.2
9Kimi RaikkonenAlfa RomeoFerrari312.2 (194.0)-5.5
10Lando NorrisMcLarenRenault310.9 (193.2)-6.8
11Antonio GiovinazziAlfa RomeoFerrari310.7 (193.1)-7.0
12Valtteri BottasMercedesMercedes309.9 (192.6)-7.8
13Max VerstappenRed BullHonda309.7 (192.4)-8.0
14Lewis HamiltonMercedesMercedes309.6 (192.4)-8.1
15Alexander AlbonRed BullHonda308.3 (191.6)-9.4
16Pierre GaslyToro RossoHonda306.2 (190.3)-11.5
17Carlos Sainz JnrMcLarenRenault304.9 (189.5)-12.8
18Daniil KvyatToro RossoHonda304.6 (189.3)-13.1
19George RussellWilliamsMercedes302.9 (188.2)-14.8
20Robert KubicaWilliamsMercedes298.2 (185.3)-19.5

Drivers’ remaining tyre sets

Lewis HamiltonMercedes101004
Valtteri BottasMercedes101004
Sebastian VettelFerrari101004
Charles LeclercFerrari101004
Max VerstappenRed Bull011004
Alexander AlbonRed Bull101032
Daniel RiccairdoRenault011004
Nico HulkenbergRenault011004
Kevin MagnussenHaas011004
Romain GrosjeanHaas011014
Carlos Sainz JnrMcLaren101032
Lando NorrisMcLaren101014
Sergio PerezRacing Point011004
Lance StrollRacing Point011023
Kimi RaikkonenAlfa Romeo011004
Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo011032
Daniil KvyatToro Rosso102022
Pierre GaslyToro Rosso011023
George RussellWilliams101113
Robert KubicaWilliams102022

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Over to you

Will Ferrari finally take their first victory of 2019 today? Share your views on the Belgian Grand Prix in the comments.

2019 Belgian Grand Prix

Browse all 2019 Belgian Grand Prix articles

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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7 comments on “The race goes on at sombre Spa”

  1. Will Ferrari finally take their first victory of 2019 today? – No.

    1. They seem to be slower on race pace but if they can both stay ahead of Mercedes on the first lap they should be able to do it by staying ahead of them on the straights

    2. The race will be very straightforward I fear. Ferrari have a straight-line speed advantage and the tires are too hard for strategy to become a factor, so after the first lap not a lot will happen at the front.

  2. @jerejj Such certainty its a shame to go to waste. Take a huge a bet or something.

    1. A Tenner says Ferrari-Ferrari collision at LaSource

  3. If Lewis can’t do anything with that slipstream after eau rouge the Ferrari duo will set sail and in the back of my mind I have a feeling we’re gonna hear, “ okay Charles, Sebastian is quicker than you”.

Comments are closed.