Start, Spa-Francorchamps, 2020

Hamilton leads Bottas all the way in Mercedes one-two at Spa

2020 Belgian Grand Prix summary

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Lewis Hamilton won the Belgian Grand Prix at a canter, taking his fifth win of the year comfortably ahead of team mate Valtteri Bottas in a one-two for Mercedes.

Max Verstappen pursued the Mercedes drivers throughout the race but was never able to get within range of either, and was being caught by Daniel Ricciardo as the race finished. The Renaults came on strong at the end of the race: Ricciardo took the bonus point for fastest lap on the final tour, while team mate Esteban Ocon passed Alexander Albon for fifth.

Lando Norris was on the tail of the pair of them as the chequered flag fell. His team mate Carlos Sainz Jnr failed to start after a power unit problem on his reconnaissance lap caused an exhaust failure.

Although a fast-starting Charles Leclerc briefly got into the top 10 in the early laps, he soon slipped back and neither Ferrari was in contention for points. Pierre Gasly passed him with ease, the AlphaTauri going on to take eighth place.

The Racing Point drivers completed the points places. Sergio Perez, like Gasly, ran a long first stint, but wasn’t able to make much progress over the final laps, and followed Lance Stroll home 10th.

The Safety Car came out on lap nine after a heavy crash eliminated two drivers from the race. Antonio Giovinazzi spun into the barrier at the exit of Fagnes and George Russell, following close behind, was unable to avoid the debris from his car. Both climbed out of their cars unaided.

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2020 Belgian Grand Prix reaction

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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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72 comments on “Hamilton leads Bottas all the way in Mercedes one-two at Spa”

  1. Hays..

    Red Bull have gone Ferrari strategy again with Albon… Ocon had no business finishing ahead of him.. Ricciardo probably, but Ocon? Stop this with Albon. Not to mention that Norris just finished behind him.

    1. @krichelle Indeed. Red Bull should’ve put him on the hard like the drivers around.

      1. You sure about that? Put him on the hard and he may not have gained the ground he did after his stop. As Horner said, do the same and get the same. Those on hards were struggling in the end. Bottom line, they’ll be very happy with AA’s day and he is starting to fight higher up on the grid now. The Renaults were unusually strong today.

        1. @robbie did Albon actually gain any real ground?

          He started the race in 5th place, only to slip behind Ocon in the opening stages – he initially gained in the pits thanks to Ocon being stacked behind Ricciardo, allowing him to overtake Ocon, but that was through performance in the pits rather than on the tyres that they chose.

          When you look at his times, Albon wasn’t really any faster than those around him and he ultimately ended up losing his 5th place to Ocon. When you look at the times that the Renault drivers managed, Ricciardo was able to consistently pump in mid 1m48s lap times and Ocon set his best time on the final lap (a mid 1m48s lap) with a time that was three seconds faster than Albon could manage – which begs the question of whether the hard tyres were really hitting that many problems.

          Putting Albon on the mediums didn’t really benefit him, and there is a question of whether he might have had a better chance of holding off Ocon if he was on the harder compound and could have pushed harder over the duration of his stint.

          1. @anon Fair comment. That is possible too, but perhaps seen more clearly with the benefit of hindsight. Suffice it to say, there would have been no benefit towards Max nor the team via some Ferrari type strategy for Albon, as per the remark levelled towards RBR in the opening post above.

          2. @robbie the thing is, even before the race weekend began, most teams had been commenting that the hard tyre wasn’t that much slower than the medium tyre – which was backed up by the very competitive pace that Gasly had on those tyres in his opening stint.

            The initial pace advantage of using the medium tyres when everybody else was on the hard tyres in that situation was going to be limited at best – and if Albon has to then protect those tyres in an effort to run to the end of the race, realistically he’s highly constrained on how hard he can push to try and utilise that marginal pace advantage to begin with.

            If they were going to go for such a strategy, then the only way I can see it working is if Albon was told to go hard on the tyres and for the team to convert him to a two stop strategy, maybe using the soft tyres near the end to give him a bigger pace advantage.

            Otherwise, whilst Horner might have taken the attitude of “do the same and get the same”, realistically Albon was on the same strategy as those around him – a single stop strategy and eking the tyres out to the end – but on a tyre that was less durable than those around him.

  2. Mercedes simply making jokers out of their competition. Amazing to be honest. Would be even better if before every race they don’t hype up their competitors and be upfront about the fact that they will crush everyone. Demoralise the losers to the point that they work harder for next year.

    1. To be honest, they were slower in sectors 1 and 3, and Max thinks he has 10 WDCs on the trot, so nothing wrong with what Merc is doing.

      1. @Rott
        try it a little more unbiased, try it, would be nice
        it’s all pro Hamilton, and con Verstappen what you are doing, that’s all.

        on topic.
        Mercedes is impressive, but it takes the fun away.
        Maybe, just maybe, from Monza, teams could pick the wrong engine setting, and some changes can be seen, would be nice.
        Ferrari could try to run their engine to run maximum for 1 race, to get a podium or better, end take penalties for other races…

    2. Better for who? Doesn’t matter what Merc say, they will be criticised regardless. They do and say what works for them and BOY does it work! You crack on though. I’m sure Mercs PR team are considering what you have to say 😂

    3. Talking up the opposition is professional team sport management 101. No team manager has ever said “we’re going to destroy them tomorrow”.

      If Mercedes started boasting, everyone would be moaning about their arrogance.

  3. Checo should’ve pitted during the SC-period as well, and maybe also Gasly, but definitely the former. Weird choice not to pit at that time.

    1. …Heh, Checo actually ended up with some tyre issues at the end, and Stroll had major tyre issues of his own. That RP kills tyres. Perez probably stayed on softs one lap too much.

    2. @jerejj as was noted by the commentators, the timing of the safety car worked pretty badly for Gasly – it was too early in the race for him to want to take the gamble of trying to get the medium tyres to last until the end, but he couldn’t switch to a set of hard tyres because he’d started off on the hard tyres. I can understand his strategy – he was in a situation where the best he could hope for was to keep going and then rely on making up ground later in the race with fresher medium tyres.

    3. I wonder if RP were taking a gamble of the race being red flagged and them getting a stop for free. A red flag was my first thought when I saw the amount of debris on the track. Otherwise it really doesn’t make sense to have kept Perez out.

  4. I feel the crash happened at such a bad moment. It robbed us of diverging strategies, put most of them on the same. In addition, it made RIC (great job, bring on monza) too close to RBR to have a go at the mercs with a lap 30-32 stop for mediums.

    Enjoyed the slippery Renaults and GAS though. But zero excitement op front…
    If only the crash happened sooner. Of after some of the first pit stops…

  5. Giovinazzi must go. A pretty interesting driver on GP2, on F1 he has been an utter disaster. Very crash prone, and does not seem to be evolving at all.
    His car is certainly much better than the ones Russell has been driving but go count how many times each of them crashed.

    Hulk should take one seat there for next year, as it is unlikely Kimi will stay for another season and they hardly will keep the italian.

    1. You know, had it not been for his sill crash, the race could have got better ratings.

    2. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      30th August 2020, 16:29

      I agree that Giovinazzi is very poor and doesn’t deserve to be on the grid, but disagree that the car is clearly better than Willaims. Each race it varies between Williams, Haas or Alfa Romeo. Several times this year, even watching Kimi’s onboard when it looks to be a perfect lap, both Williams drivers have sometimes managed to beat him. The Alfa Romeo sometimes is better, but I wouldn’t say it it always it. And there are times when it clearly isn’t.

    3. That was a bad crash, it just looked like very poor car handling, grossly overcompensating for too much throttle.

    4. Ferrari do have an option on that second Alfa Romeo seat and it will be no surprise to see one of their junior drivers in that seat. Giovinazzi has proven to be a solid simulator driver and helped the Scuderia many times in optimizing their set ups between Friday practice sessions and qualifying. He will logically return to his old role.
      As for Hulk, that depends on Kimi Raikkonen’s racing plans for the next year.

    5. Hulk is jinxed. Best everyone stays away from him, just as why Cyril cited for his firing.

  6. Ricciardo has a stellar pace towards the end – that might be a signal for Renault to try and risk it at Monza which should suit them even better. Podium might be very realistic.

  7. “Räikkönen leads Ferraris all the way in showdown of who should drive the manufacturer car in reality”

  8. Utter dismal weekend for Ferrari. They hadn’t had a result this poor when both cars finished since Silverstone 2010, a race in which Alonso was running 5th until he had to serve a drive-through under SC. On pure pace, Ferrari haven’t finished in such poor positions since Abu Dhabi 2009. And it will probably be even worse in Monza…

  9. Bottas, Bottas, Bottas…Bye.
    Speaking about winning a championship and what needs to be done is not winning a championship. If your team tells you to not to press boost, you do the opposite to win.
    Ah Scuderia! Ouch Scuderia!
    Car, Strategy, Pit Stops…nothing is working. Its a good thing that fans are not allowed because Monza may be painful.
    Good drive from Gasly, one that AH would be proud of. Had it not been for the safety car, it might have been different. Good drives also from Kimi, Ricciardo and Hamilton.

    1. Bottas clearly had a better exit after turn 1, also Hamilton had some oversteer.
      However there was no attempt of overtaking Hamilton at the end of the straight. So either he lifted I or it was a teamorder, too bad.

      1. If youbarevtalking about lap 1 you should watch it again and pay attention to what lewis Hamilton does. Hamilton slows down and forces bottas to back off. Hamilton done it to vettel a couple of years ago

      2. Hamilton stated in the after race interviews that Bottas was too close through eau rouge and had to lift before radillon – killing his momentum. Lewis used this tactic on Seb a few years ago to great effect – a gentle lift before eau rouge forcing his opponent to lift at the wrong moment to effect the slingshot.

        You have to admire his racing brain.

        1. LH learnt this from Fernando who used this trick against him in Brazil 2007 with devastating effect, ruining his race and his chances to win the WDC as a rookie.

      3. Hamilton had used that trick before on Vettel. He kills off the momentum of the car behind by going slow just before the climb uphill so it then becomes a drag race.

      4. I have a straw you can clutch if you like. I think most who watched knew exactly what Ham was doing on the way down the hill after the first turn.
        Shame you don’t know what you are watching.

    2. @pinakghosh

      Ah Scuderia! Ouch Scuderia!

      With 2 Italian teams on the grid, both using “Scuderia” in their name, it’s not really the best way to reference Ferrari. Sure, most will get it with the context, but still.

  10. I actually think this was one of Albon’s (relatively) better performances of the season. His strategy didn’t help much, but he did a decent job to save those mediums and finish 25 seconds behind Max (who seemed to be having issues of his own). Also, Renault were proper rapid this race, seriously…Ricciardo was just so strong towards the end, and so its not that unthinkable for Ocon to overtake Albon, especially as the latter was on very old mediums.

  11. Carlos Sainz was seen dejected, I guess both from not running this year and in anticipation of what will happen next year.

  12. Without a 2-stop strategy in mind, I have no idea what Red Bull was planning to achieve by putting Albon on mediums! At this point it looks like they want him to fail.

  13. Can we have reverse grids yet?

    1. No need.
      Mandate the harder tyre for qualifying and softer tyre for the race.
      That would be enough.

    2. When the title is done and dusted mathematically you can run all the silly gimmicks you like.

  14. So HAM now has 4 Spa wins to equal RAI.
    Big difference: Kimi never drove a car that was impossibly dominant over everyone else. Kimi’s wins were the stuff of heroes, not impossibly easy.
    Take his last Spa win in 2009. He started way down the pack, but picked off the leaders in a few short laps then kept a faster car behind for the rest of the race.

    * small reminder, as if needed: Rosberg won a title in that Merc.

    1. no. what really happened in Spa 2009 was : kimi had kers. He used it to gain 4 places in the first lap, placing himself on 2nd. That’s where he was going to finish, as fisichella was faster and would go out of reach. But then Grosjean crashed with Button and Hamilton, and the SC came in, giving Kimi a shot at Fisichella’s kers-less Force India for an easy overtake.

      From there on, he had kers to protect himself on the fast bits of the track and only needed to hold on. No hero stuff, no nothing. Just clever use of what he had in hand and a bit of luck.

      Apart from that, nobody cares if Kimi’s wins were more exciting. He won there 4 times, as did Hamilton. And Hamilton is probably going to win a couple more.

      1. No. Many teams elected not to have kers, because the weight of it in many cases cancelled the gain you got out of it. That 2009 Ferrari was cumbersome, heavy, and not easy to drive, as Fisi found out for himself when he went to Ferrari and put on ten years in a week trying to drive it…

        1. bing….and why you said “no” to my post if you didn’t disagreed with anything i wrote?
          Kers was not mandatory and on some races it was just a nuisance, but not on power tracks like Spa.

        2. Rodber, that would be the 2009 race where multiple people complained about Kimi driving completely off the circuit at La Source on the opening lap in a move that allowed him to overtake multiple drivers and resulted in the FIA subsequently issuing a directive that any driver who repeated that move in future races would be penalised?

    2. what a load of rubbish. You should be embarrassed.

    3. What they ^ said about Kimi – and as for Rosbergs championship. Some skill, a bit of game playing and a bit of luck.

      He scored more points than Lewis, but I wouldn’t ever say he beat him.

    4. Don’t you get embarrassed trotting out this nonsense every race? You basically send out a message each race letting everyone know you haven’t a clue what you are watching.

    5. Dave (@davewillisporter)
      30th August 2020, 18:58

      So Kimi is better than Hamilton? Ahh, FFS! hamilton replaced Kimi at Mclaren and did more than Kimi ever did. 6 wdc including one at Mclaren in an evolution of the car Kimi drove. Outqualified every team mate. Kimi vs Vettel? You got nuffin!

    6. It’s actually 5 for HAM but he was robbed of victory in 08 while showing Kimi how it’s done in the wet. Dont give me this “heroic” Kimi Nonsense! Kimi is a hyped up 1 x WDC and has never been on Lewis level. 07 being an outlier. Alonso absolutely humiliated him in the same car. VET also humiliated him. Lewis would do the same and more.

    7. You obviously didn’t watch Lewis’s Spa win of 2008, which was subsequently stolen from him then.

  15. A bit off topic but I think Vettel will tell us in monza what he will do for next season. Just like Michael in ’06.
    Vettel didn’t follow Michael’s footsteps to become a champion in Ferrari but I think Monza has always been the place for Ferrari to tell something.

    1. I was going to comment on the race but it was quite dull and Ferrari need to get their act together. So it just got me thinking on the next race.

  16. Looking at Ferrari’s pace today, I wonder what was the reason behind the party mode ban that was to have taken effect by this race weekend and the following power circuits coming up.
    Ferrari was an embarrassment today. I know the pneumatic system in Leclerc’s car gave him an excuse, but they were never going to score points.
    How cash Honda who started so late be so far ahead of Ferrari. What happened to all the experience amassed in the previous seasons of the hybrid Era.

    1. That’s kind of weird to me: the speed loss because of the engine seems to be too much, it’s like they’re in 2014 again. What I’m asking is where went all the engine dept. experience amassed between 2014 to 2016, if not 2014 to 2018?!

    2. Covid 19 wrecked havoc in their factory.
      Shows you how serious this situation is.

      1. Hehehehe what a stupid excuse. Their car was ready long before COVID. You crack on though

  17. Awesome job by Lewis!!! Absolute domination and destruction of the pack.
    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    So good to see Daniel almost nicking p3 From over hyped Max.
    Another p3 for the lob sided redbull and it’s boring. Here’s to the rise of Daniel/ Renault challenge!!
    🦡

    1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      30th August 2020, 17:58

      I sometimes can’t work out if your comments are sarcastic. Verstappen isn;t overhyped. He isn’t as good as Hamilton, but easily 2nd best currently and there is a big gap between him and the next best driver IMO. Ricciardo isn’t very close to Verstappen overall and that was evident in the 2 full seasons at Red Bull.

      1. lexusreliabilty?
        30th August 2020, 18:50

        Ricciardo isn’t very close to Verstappen overall and that was evident in the 2 full seasons at Red Bull.

        Selective memory or what? 3 seasons as team mates- Ricciardo was victorious in 2 of those.

        1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
          30th August 2020, 19:24

          You have a go at my memory when I state “EVIDENT IN THE 2 FULL SEASONS HE HAD AT RED BULL”

          1, I was discussing those 2 latest seasons.

          2, I used the words “full seasons” and they were the only two full seasons he had. You go to the trouble of quoting what I said and imply I am wrong and then appear to not notice that you have misunderstood it yourself.

          Seems almost as if you don’t remember that he didn’t have a full season at this team in 2016. I’m not including this one and you should consider that Ricciardo had a significant experience advantage in the sport and the team having been at Red Bull since 2014. he was clearly better than verstappen that year, but not by that much. Verstappen’s qualifying pace the next 2 seasons was significantly better. Pace wise on the whole he was a fair bit better.

          https://www.racefans.net/2017/12/19/2017-f1-driver-rankings-2-verstappen/
          https://www.racefans.net/2017/12/15/2017-f1-driver-rankings-5-ricciardo/

          And Verstappen’s advantage grew the next season despite having a pretty awful start. but his pace advantage was very clear.

          https://www.racefans.net/2018/12/18/2018-f1-driver-rankings-2-verstappen/
          https://www.racefans.net/2018/12/16/2018-f1-driver-rankings-5-ricciardo/

          This below is from part of a post of mine from another page comparing their qualifying when they both had a decent run over those two years: https://www.racefans.net/2020/08/15/hamilton-leads-all-mercedes-front-row-as-verstappen-lines-up-attack-from-third/

          2017:

          Bahrain: Ricciardo by 0.142
          Russia: Ricciardo by 0.256
          Spain: Verstappen by 0.469
          Monaco: Verstappen by 0.502
          Canada: Verstappen by 0.154

          Austria: Ricciardo by 0.087

          Hungary: Verstappen by 0.021
          Belgium: Verstappen by 0.483
          Italy: Verstappen by 0.139
          Singapore: Verstappen by 0.026
          Malaysia: Verstappen by 0.054
          Japan: Ricciardo by 0.026
          United States: Ricciardo by 0.081
          Mexico: Verstappen by 0.873
          Brazil: Verstappen by 0.405
          Abu Dhabi: Ricciardo by 0.369

          2018:

          Australia: Verstappen by 0.272

          China: Verstappen by 0.152
          Azerbaijan: Ricciardo by 0.083
          Spain: Verstappen by 0.002

          Canada: Verstappen by 0.179
          France: Verstappen by 0.190
          Austria: Verstappen by 0.156
          Great Britain: Verstappen by 0.497

          Belgium: Verstappen by 0.170
          Singapore Verstappen by 0.662

          Mexico: Ricciardo by 0.026

          Abu Dhabi Ricciardo by 0.188

          This is just qualifying. But in the races, verstappen’s ability was clearly higher than Ricciardo in both of these seasons and he did a better job. Hopefully this is enough for you to realise I haven’t just remembered what I chose to. Looking at their performances, other than 2016 in the part season, Verstappen has overall quite clearly outperformed Ricciardo.

          1. Verstappen is an outlier ala Senna, Schumacher, etc.
            It would be bad for F1 if he got his hands on the fastest car.

            Ricciardo is pretty awesome though. Love to see him in the other Merc.

          2. How are you determining a “decent run”?

          3. An outlier? Yet you omit Lewis from your”list”. Quite telling.

          4. lexusreliabilty?
            30th August 2020, 20:23

            @@thegianthogweed

            I was discussing those 2 latest seasons.

            So already you admit you are being selective. Why not include 2016 from Spain onwards? Why declare those results null and void? I know- it’s because it doesn’t support your dubious opinion and as opposed to giving more perspective on Verstappen vs Ricciardo as team mates. Man you Max fanatics really are quite something hey?

            Ricciardo had a significant experience advantage in the sport and the team having been at Red Bull since 2014.

            Fernando Alonso had a “significant advantage” in the sport as you claim and it didn’t stop a certain rookie from outqualfying and outclassifying him to the point where Alonso had to blackmail his team and cost them $100m because they didn’t give him prefential treatment. At the end of the day if Max “wasn’t ready” he shouldn’t have been in that Redf Bull. I bet you have no qualms with Max winning his 1st race for the senior team- he was more than ready for that but not the races that followed? Shambolic argument on your behalf.

            And Verstappen’s advantage grew the next season despite having a pretty awful start. but his pace advantage was very clear.

            Again with the selectiveness. No one reasonable person would argue that Ricciardo had more raw pace than Verstappen. But Formula 1 is about more than just raw speed. See Seena vs Prost, Piquet vs Mansell, Button vs Ham, Rosberg vs Ham, and yes you guessed it- Verstappen vs Ricciardo.

            But in the races, verstappen’s ability was clearly higher than Ricciardo in both of these seasons and he did a better job.

            Man delusions galore. You probably would have been better off arguing that Max was quicker. But to claim that even in the races Verstappen was superior? Even if we take your argument at face value- you haven’t accounted for Ricciardo’s dismal record from Hungary 2018 onwards when he announced his departure. Up until that point Ricciardo was showing Max the way until his car couldn’t even get to half distance.

            You very much remind me of posters who talk about how Button “outscored” Hamilton, but have an issue with using the same metric when it comes to Alonso “outscoring” Button. How to be selective 101. Polticians would be proud of yor work mate.

          5. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
            30th August 2020, 20:50

            I do not like Verstappen at all personality wise. But you seem to be the complete opposite to what you think I am when it comes to defending Ricciardo. You are not even mentioning the two detailed articles reviewing their seasons where both had valid reasons that described why verstappen was better in both of these years.

            The reason why I didn’t include 2016 was because it is sort of to be expected that a driver that was already in the team would beat a driver that suddenly switches mid season. But it was closer than expected and from then on Verstappen overall looked better. You think I’m a Verstappen fan but to me it seems like most of you that have commented are somewhat over rating Ricciardo’s seasons if you think he was better.

          6. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
            30th August 2020, 21:28

            My take is Verstappen’s fans don’t give Ricciardo enough credit and Ricciardo’s fans don’t give Verstappen enough credit. My take is that Verstappen is a special driver but he’s also mercurial. Ricciardo is also a fantastic driver who is more mature than Verstappen. If you are choosing between the two, you’re in a pretty good spot.

  18. I feel so bad for Ferrari that I pity them, it’s like their world is crushing and no respite whatsoever from their woes, and the pain carries on to next season with the freeze to car changes to come. It’s just embarrassing when everyone know you cheated, even if it’s secret, and you suffer because of it.

    1. Feel no pity for these fools. They are responsible for their own demise and deserve much more! Removal of all points from 2019 as a minimum

  19. The only way Lewis can lose this title now is if he has a positive COVID test like Checo and has to sit out a couple races. Bottas is hopelessly adrift.

    1. And if that happens, the F1 forums will be ablaze the next few years with talk of how Bottas beat Lewis in 2020 – because he ran Lewis “close” most times, and was as fast as any driver on his day.

  20. Antonio Giovinazzi spun into the barrier at the exit of Fagnes and George Russell, following close behind, was unable to avoid the debris from his car.

    I’m sure I heard Christian Horner say something like “If you do the same you should expect the same” during that race. We have the same tyre barrier placed right beside the same lump of concrete as last year, so where’s the evidence showing us to expect a car crashing into that same arrangement would have a different outcome? Wouldn’t the same outcome be to see a car bounce back onto the track like happened last year?! That is exactly what we’d expect and that’s exactly what we got! Looking at replays of Antonio’s crash show not just how the front left wheel broke free from being tethered to his car, rolled across the track, and collided with the Williams, so putting George out of the race, but that Antonio’s car bounced right across the track from the right hand side to the left hand side as well. It was a miracle this didn’t end up exactly the same as last year’s crash.
    Is putting a tyre wall abutting the concrete barrier the best way of stopping a car that looses control and spins off a track? Isn’t this a replay of how Anthoine Hubert’s car ended up stuck in the middle of the track last year? I know somewhere in the system the person in charge of this race track would have guaranteed this circuit was much safer than last year’s one, and that these tyre barriers which can’t flex because of the concrete barrier behind them are approved by the FIA, but is this really the best option for a high speed motor racing track? As far as I can tell the consequences after Antonio’s loss of control were entirely predictable because they put a concrete barrier right behind the tyre wall, just the same as last year. While it was probably Antonio’s fault he lost control of his car, what happened after that is the responsibility of the FIA, and they need to show this is the best and safest arrangement for a tyre based crash barrier, which obviously I don’t think is true. Wouldn’t some sort of decent spacing between the tyre wall and the concrete barrier be better?

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