• INSIGHT: Bonus Storylines from Belgium

A little extra insight into a weekend of ups and downs at the undulating Spa Circuit

Sounds Like a Broken Record

Lewis continued to rewrite F1's record books with a record fifth pole position at the majestic circuit in the Belgian Ardennes.

His fourth Spa pole in 2017 had put him in good company. Juan Manuel Fangio managed the feat in 1951-53-54 and 56, Alain Prost in 1982-83-85-93 and Ayrton Senna in 1988-89-90-91.

When Ferrari topped every practice session plus Q1 and Q2, it looked as if Lewis had his work cut out to go one better. But the weather Gods smiled on him for the third weekend in succession, as rain once again arrived at an opportune moment.

Even so, pole was no formality. "That was one of the toughest qualifying sessions I can remember," Lewis beamed. "It seems to get harder and harder all year long.

"I don't know if they (Ferrari) definitely had it (in the dry) because in Q2 Sebastian, Kimi and I were all split by half a tenth, so I was hopeful I could make that slight difference.

"But then the rain came. None of us had driven in the rain at any stage up to that point and I can't even express how difficult it was. I went off twice but I'm so glad I managed to keep it together!"

At Spa last year Lewis was delighted to equal Michael Schumacher’s record 68 F1 poles. This time he left Belgium 10 poles clear of the great Brazilian.

Pardon My French

Formula 1's summer break saw a number of movements on the driver market and one of those they impacted upon was Mercedes-affiliated Frenchman Esteban Ocon, currently partnering Sergio Perez at Force India.

The Force India team being rescued from administration by a consortium of businessmen led by Lawrence Stroll, father of Williams driver Lance, means that the young Canadian can be expected to switch from Williams to Force India - both of which enjoy Mercedes power - in the not too distant future.

Ocon had been widely rumoured to be on the verge of a deal with the Renault team until Daniel Ricciardo surprised most of the paddock by opting to leave Red Bull Racing to join the French works outfit.

Ocon qualified a fine third on a wet track at Spa and finished sixth, but the immediate direction of his future F1 career was unclear as the paddock packed up and headed straight for Monza.

Said Toto: "I have no doubt that Esteban will win races and compete for Championships in the future. We have seen the talent again this weekend again.

"We thought his future was clear around Budapest and it all changed within 48 hours. But it makes no sense to complain. Renault securing Ricciardo was a coup. It's a no-brainer. When you have the possibility of signing such a calibre of driver, you have to go for it.

"The way things panned out was unfortunate for Esteban but we will continue to help finding a short-term solution for him to drive. There is a lot of interest out there and it's just a matter of scanning the market in the next few days to choose the right option for him. I'm very optimistic for his future."

By George, It's Close!

The all-British fight for the Formula 2 title intensified at Spa when Mercedes reserve driver George Russell had his toughest race weekend of the nine rounds held so far.

He emerged with third and seventh places in Saturday's Feature race and Sunday's reverse-grid Sprint race respectively, while rival Lando Norris, who drove the McLaren in Friday's first F1 Free Practice session, managed fourth and second places to close to within five points of 20-year-old George in the Championship.

"Obviously we've had a few unfortunate race weekends, like Monaco and Budapest," George explained, "but in terms of pure pace I think this is the first time this year that we've actually struggled.

"I believe it had a bit to do with the track. Spa is a bit of an old-school track surface, very abrasive and a lot of the tracks we race on - Silverstone, Red Bull Ring, almost all the tracks in fact, have been resurfaced. I think that was the root cause and we need to sort it for Monza (next weekend).

"We really struggled with the tyres, especially in the Sprint race, so we've got some work to do. Generally, everyone has a bit of a joker weekend in terms of pace and this was ours. But I can definitely still get the job done.

"We class this as a poor weekend and came away with second on the grid, P3 and P7, so that shows what we can do on a good one!"

After Monza, the series has just two further rounds, in Sochi and Abu Dhabi.

Charity Begins at Home...

Valtteri used part of F1's summer break to compete in his own Duathlon, held in his home town of Nastola, Finland. He helped raise 10,000 Euros for charity Starlight Children's Foundation, which aims to brighten the lives of terminally and seriously ill children.

The event comprised a 5km run, followed by a 20km cycle and then another 3km run, with Valtteri placing 10th out of almost 200 competitors. A separate family event saw compatriot and twice World Champion Mika Häkkinen taking part.

"I love sports and my aim was to create a nice event with both competitive spirit and a relaxed atmosphere," Valtteri said.