Lewis and Valtteri Score 1-2 Victory at Spa
Lewis took his 89th career victory today, his fourth at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps and fifth of the 2020 season
Valtteri came home in P2, completing a 1-2 victory for the team, and claiming his best result at the Belgian Grand Prix
Today’s result marks the 50th 1-2 finish for the Mercedes works team in the modern era (since 2010)
Lewis (157 points) leads the Drivers’ Championship by 47 points from Max Verstappen (110 points), with Valtteri in P3 (107 points)
The Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team (264 points) leads Red Bull (158 points) by 106 points in the Constructors’ Championship
Spa is such a special circuit, I could just drive around here for lap after lap. It’s not always been an easy one for me, so to come here and get pole and the win this weekend is fantastic. The first lap can be a nightmare, because of the huge tow down the big straight, but I managed to keep Valtteri behind me on lap one and from there I had a strong race. Of course, I’d love to be able to win every race wheel to wheel, but today was a different kind of race, it was all about managing the tyres and the gap to the cars behind. I was slightly nervous at the end that we might see a repeat of the tyre issue we had in Silverstone, but thankfully it held in there. Huge credit to the team, both here and back home in Brackley and Brixworth. No matter how much success we’ve had over the years, everyone just keeps their heads down and focuses on trying to improve. It’s an incredible mentality to have and it’s inspiring to be working in that kind of environment.
The race was pretty straight-forward today; I was hoping to really get some good opportunities today in the first lap and at the Safety Car restart, but I couldn’t use the tow going up to Turn 5 enough today. I was actually really close to Lewis out of the first corner, but the tow effect was much smaller today than it was in previous years. I’m not quite sure why, maybe that’s because we had a tail wind going into Turn 5. I don’t think there was really any other opportunity to catch Lewis; he was on pole, drove a good race and deserved the win today. Towards the end of the race, we had to really manage the tyres quite a bit; I was starting to get the same kind of vibration that I felt before the end of the race in Silverstone when I suffered the puncture. I had to reduce the pace quite a bit to save the tyres, but it worked out and I’m happy that this time I didn’t lose the points. I was just told that this was my 51st podium – the same number of podiums that Mika Häkkinen scored in his career. He was my idol growing up, so it’s great to equal him in that way, although he is obviously mostly known for his two titles.
That was a great race. We had not won in Spa since 2017, so to come back with such a strong performance and very good pace on a track that troubled us before makes me really happy. The race was relatively straight-forward after the start, but it ended up getting very tricky towards the end, because the tyres were almost at the end of their life. We could see the same on Verstappen's car and at that point it was really about bringing our cars home safely. So we told our drivers to stay off the kerbs and lose quite a bit of pace. It gave us a bit of a headache because the memory of the punctures in Silverstone was still fresh and that’s obviously what we wanted to avoid at all cost. So for us, the race wasn’t over until both cars had really crossed the line – but luckily they did and secured this great one-two. We're really looking forward to go to Monza next week and then to Mugello – the races keep coming thick and fast and it just doesn't stop.
Another great result for the team. The safety car was a bit earlier than we’d have wanted, which made it difficult to get the hard tyre through those last few laps. In the early part of the second stint we thought it was close between a one and a two-stop, but seeing the degradation on the hard, we realised that Verstappen on the two-stop would be a significant threat around lap 25 when he was close behind Valtteri. That caused us to get both drivers to drop the tyre management and put some quick laps in. They were both able to build gaps that meant we could cover if Red Bull did stop but the fast laps did take a bit out of the tyres and they were really dropping off in the last few laps. Overall though, it’s been a good weekend for the team. The car hasn’t had the same pace we’ve enjoyed at other tracks this year, particularly in qualifying, but the team has done a good job to get the most out of it and we’ve operated well throughout the weekend. We’re looking forward to Monza, but we need to find a lower drag set-up as we’re behind Red Bull on the straights already and the latest technical directive from the FIA on engine modes is going to cost us time in qualifying. But the team will be working hard in Brackley and Brixworth over the next few days to try and stay ahead.