Belgian Grand Prix 2020 LIVE: Lewis Hamilton wins, Valtteri Bottas 2nd as Ferrari struggle

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    Lewis Hamilton put in yet another dominant performance to secure the 89th win of his F1 career at Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix. The Mercedes driver led from pole to finish ahead of team-mate Valtteri Bottas and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen at Circuit de Spa Francorchamps.

    Renault enjoyed their best race of 2020 with Daniel Ricciardo and Esteban Ocon coming home in fourth and fifth respectively in the Ardennes Forest.

    Ferrari, though, will look back on a Grand Prix to forget after Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc were left marooned in the midfield by their off-the-pace SF1000.

    Credit goes to Pierre Gasly and Sergio Perez of AlphaTauri and Racing Point respectively, while McLaren’s Lando Norris put in yet another quietly assured performance.

    Express Sport delivered live coverage as the Belgian Grand Prix unfolded and you can relive all of the action below.

    Lap 43: Interesting battle for fifth between Albon, Ocon and Norris. It might be too late for the Renault and McLaren drivers.

    Lap 42: As it stands, Hamilton is on course for the hat-trick. He started on pole, has the fastest lap and looks set for victory. Two laps to go.

    Lap 41: « I don’t like the feel of this right tyre. » Is Hamilton in for a repeat of his British Grand Prix delamination? He’s fortunate Bottas and Verstappen have their own tyre troubles here.

    Lap 40: Hamilton almost seven seconds clear of Bottas at the front, with Verstappen a further six seconds further back. Better watch those tyres though.

    Lap 39: Norris now well clear of Stroll and closing the gap on sixth-place Ocon. Mercedes tell Bottas to avoid kerbs on his front right.

    Lap 38: Hamilton, Bottas and Verstappen all complaining about a lack of grip. Some late pit-stop drama might be on the way.

    Lap 37: Norris gets a warning for exceeding track limits in the middle sector as Stroll shuts the gap on him in the battle for seventh. Hamilton has a nightmare as he locks up and goes long at the Bus Stop but he’s still well clear.

    Lap 36: Perez goes past Kvyat at the top of the Kemmel Straight for ninth. Gasly, all over the back of his team-mate on fresher tyres, then passes the Russian.

    Lap 35: « Vibrations are getting worse. » Sounds like Verstappen will be back in the pits pretty soon. Leclerc passes Magnussen for 15th.

    Lap 34: Gasly passes Raikkonen for 11th. His AlphaTauri team-mate Kvyat is two places better off as it stands. Hamilton now 5.4 seconds clear in front.

    Lap 33: Perez up to 10th and back into the points positions as he overtakes Raikkonen on the Kemmel Straight.

    Lap 32: Gasly passes Vettel on the Kemmel Straight for 12th. « I have nothing left on these tyres, » says the German.

    Lap 31: « I have vibrations on these tyres. » Two-stopper on the cards for Verstappen. Latifi pits again for Williams to allow Leclerc to jump up to… 16th.

    Lap 30: Gasly on the charge again after finally pitting and he’s up to 14th. Mercedes still on for a one-two but there’s now 4.6 seconds between Hamilton and Bottas.

    Lap 29: Perez passes Vettel for 11th place at the top of the Kemmel Straight. If this weekend has been awful for Ferrari, how will they cope at Monza?

    Lap 28: « Everything you’ve got Valtteri. » It’s time to push for Bottas. Are they trying to cover in case Verstappen and Red Bull go for a two-stopper? Hamilton sets the fastest lap.

    Lap 27: Leclerc sets the fastest lap after pitting for medium tyres. But he’s not on course for a point for it as he’s running in last place.

    Lap 26: Ocon flies past Gasly on the Kemmel Straight. This AlphaTauri strategy doesn’t seem to be the right one given everybody else has pitted. Perez is now up to 13th, by the way. Hamilton sets fastest lap.

    Lap 25: Ocon now closing the gap on Gasly, who’s counting the cost of not being pitted yet. Leclerc is becoming exasperated with Ferrari on team radio.

    Lap 24: Albon passes Gasly for fifth place on the Kemmel Straight. Verstappen is closing the gap on Bottas in the fight for second.

    Lap 23: Albon well within DRS range of Gasly and we might see him pass the AlphaTauri on the Kemmel Straight next time around. Hamilton now three seconds clear out in front.

    Lap 22: Perez has closed on the back of the pack and overtakes are on the cards with Latifi, Magnussen and Grosjean the cars immediately in front of him.

    Lap 21: Ricciardo is back where he started as he breezes past Gasly on the Kemmel Straight for fourth. Albon is now closing the gap on the man he replaced at Red Bull last August.

    Lap 20: Perez is on the hard tyre after his pit stop but he’s way down in 17th as it stands. The Mexican is a master overtaker, though, so let’s see how this plays out.

    Lap 19: Hamilton extends the gap to Bottas once again. Remember, he’s going for a fifth win of 2020 here.

    Lap 18: « It will be a long stint. » Mercedes give Bottas an insight into their strategy for the rest of this race. He’s a couple of seconds adrift of leader Hamilton. Vettel and Leclerc fight at the top of the Kemmel Straight and the veteran just about stays ahead.

    Lap 17: Ricciardo passes Perez on the Kemmel Straight for fifth. The Renault man now has Gasly in his sights. Albon then passes Perez at the Bus Stop. Hamilton, Bottas and Verstappen remains the top three.

    Lap 16: « Loss of power, » says Hamilton in a worrying message to the Mercedes garage. Race engineer Bono reassures him it was just due to his energy pack charging down. He’s good. Bottas puts in the fastest lap so far and is in DRS range of Hamilton.

    Lap 15: We’re racing again as the safety car goes in and Hamilton gets away from the pack well. All of the remaining drivers make it through La Source without a problem after the restart. Stroll and Norris swap places as the Racing Point takes ninth.

    Lap 14: We’re still behind the safety car here. Ricciardo running sixth, with Albon, Ocon, Stroll and Norris behind him. Vettel 12th and Leclerc 14th for Ferrari. There’s some confusion over the strategy Ferrari want to use for Leclerc and he’s not happy.

    Lap 13: We’ve got a recalibrated running order after all those pit stops. Hamilton, Bottas and Verstappen still make up the top three but Gasly is fourth and Perez is now fifth.

    Lap 12: It turns out Giovinazzi went off the track first after losing his rear end and then debris from his Alfa Romeo hit Russell, leading the Williams to fly into the barriers. Thankfully both drivers are up and walking. The pack are following the safety car round as the debris is cleared.

    Lap 11: There’s carbon fibre all over the track here following Russell and Giovinazzi’s respective smashes into the barriers. Mercedes stack Hamilton and Bottas as Verstappen comes into the pits too.

    Lap 10: « Feels like I have no grip on these tyres, » says Verstappen on Red Bull radio. He might come in for hard tyres and try a one-stop strategy. Russell and Giovinazzi are out after going off in the final sector. Yellow flag conditions in force.

    Lap 9: Gasly all over the back of Stroll in the fight for seventh place. Hamilton is managing the gap to Bottas here and it’s now up to 1.8 seconds.

    Lap 8: Hamilton still in front, with Gasly providing the most excitement in this race. Meanwhile, five of the six cars with Ferrari engines now fill 12-15th. That’s really not where the Italian manufacturers want to be.

    Lap 7: Kvyat closes the gap on Leclerc in the battle for 11th and then flies past him on the Kemmel Straight. The Monegasque faces an afternoon of frustration on the straights. Vettel now just behind Leclerc.

    Lap 6: Hamilton putting the hammer down with the fastest lap point now in his possession. He’s grown the gap to Bottas – who wants to push his team-mate harder – again. Leclerc fighting Norris for 10th.

    Lap 5: Hamilton, Bottas and Verstappen fill the top three. Ricciardo and Ocon running in fourth and fifth for Renault. Albon, Stroll, Gasly, Perez and Leclerc complete top 10.

    Lap 4: « I’m struggling so much in the straights, » is the message from Leclerc to Ferrari. He’s now 10th, just in front of Norris. Hamilton leads.

    Lap 3: Gasly rattles his way past Leclerc on the Kemmel Straight to move up to eighth. He’s made up four places already. Bottas closes the gap on Hamilton ever so slightly.

    Lap 2: Incredible battle between Gasly and Perez unfolding as the AlphaTauri man passes the Racing Point on Eau Rouge for ninth. Hamilton leads by more than a second from Bottas and Verstappen.

    Lap 1: Hamilton makes the perfect start as everybody gets through La Source safely. Ocon passes Albon for fifth as Stroll overtakes team-mate Perez. Leclerc takes four places in superb start.

    2.11pm: « I’m not happy. » Sainz admits he’s gutted after exhaust failure rules him out of the Belgian Grand Prix. Says Spa is his favourite track on the F1 calendar. 

    2.09pm: Rain is looking increasingly unlikely with bright blue skies hanging over the Ardennes. That might just be music to the ears of pole-sitter Hamilton.

    2.06pm: Plenty of overtaking should be on the cards today with plenty of opportunities for passes at Spa. Will we see any on Turn One this time around?

    2.04pm: « If Hamilton leads out of Turn One, equally out of Turn Five, he’ll go on and win it. » Sky Sports F1’s Paul Di Resta makes his prediction for today’s race.

    2pm: What’s the best Ferrari can hope for today? Leclerc and Vettel face a tough fight to get among the points from 13th and 14th respectively.

    1.59pm: « The exit of Turn One is really everything. » Hamilton knows what he has to do today as he leads the pack into La Source hairpin.

    He came out on top here en route to his 2015 and 2017 titles. Another win here would be a good omen as he chases a record-equalling seventh championship.

    1.57pm: We’re moments away from lights out as the traditional flyover takes place at Spa. Who are you backing today?

    1.55pm: The Belgian national anthem is sung as the drivers stay in position around the on-track memorial to Hubert. 

    1.54pm: A touching tribute to the late Hubert as the F1 grid and key personnel at the track pause for a minute’s silence around a mural of the Frenchman.

    1.52pm: Hamilton leads his fellow F1 drivers in protesting against racism before lights out. 14 drivers take a knee on the grid as the rest stand in solidarity.

    1.50pm: Former McLaren driver Martin Brundle offers his take on the Sainz situation. It really is a crying shame for the 25-year-old, who had qualified in seventh.

    « Carlos is having one of those years where if it can go wrong, it does go wrong, » said Brundle on Sky Sports F1’s coverage. « He’s driving beautifully.

    « We don’t have spare cars any more! It’s a great shame, it strikes me he’s had a turbo issue somewhere. There’s not a snowball’s chance in hell they can fix that before the race. »

    1.46pm: SAINZ OUT. The Spaniard’s race is over before it’s even begun due to an exhaust problem. He’ll be gutted.

    McLaren tweeted: « Unfortunately, [Carlos Sainz] will not start the #BelgianGP after an exhaust failure on the way to the grid. »

    1.45pm: Bottas needs a win today to keep his dreams of dethroning F1 king Hamilton alive. The Finn says he’s not worried about being second on the grid as starting at the very front of the Spa grid can be a disadvantage.

    « I’m actually not too bothered about missing pole, as starting second or third can be an advantage in Spa, » said Bottas. « We’ve seen it before that with a tow on the first lap you can overtake the leader going into Turn 5.

    « I hope there’s plenty of opportunity tomorrow to try and fight for a good result and I’m looking forward to an exciting race. »

    1.40pm: Tyre degradation due to warm weather shouldn’t be an issue today with mild temperatures being experienced at Spa. Hamilton has led calls for Pirelli to look at the compounds on offer and Mario Isola says they’re taking not of the complaints.

    « We listen to the drivers, » said Pirelli F1 boss Isola. « I don’t want to give the wrong impression, because every time the drivers are available to communicate, we listen to their opinion. And I am speaking not only on behalf of Pirelli, but also on behalf of the FIA. »

    1.35pm: Red Bull’s Albon ejoyed his joint-best qualifying performance of 2020 yesterday. The Thai-Brit racer starts from P5 and he knows the first lap will be crucial to his chances of success this afternoon.

    « The start is obviously important here with such a short run to Turn One so we’ll be looking for a good and clean getaway, » said Albon. « After that, we’ll see but with the possibility of rain it should be an exciting race. »

    We’ve now got cars out on track as they gear up to take their places on the starting grid!

    1.30pm: Hamilton can join Raikkonen and Jim Clark on four Belgian Grand Prix wins if he comes out on top this weekend. The Mercedes talisman last won at Spa in 2017 and Wolff has admitted it feels like his team have « unfinished business » here.

    The late, great Ayrton Senna won the race in Belgium five times, but Michael Schumacher remains the all-time record holder at Spa. The Benetton and Ferrari legend won six times at Spa and only enjoyed more success at Magny-Cours, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve and Imola.

    1.25pm: So, what do Ferrari make of their Belgian Grand Prix horror show? Sporting director Laurent Mekies gave his verdict yesterday afternoon.

    « A very difficult qualifying with neither driver making it to Q3, » said Mekies. « This follows on from an even more difficult Friday, when we never managed to get the tyres to work properly.

    « With very little grip, Charles, Sebastian and the team did what they could, turning the setup on its head to try and at least to get back to the performance level we had seen in previous races.

    « Thanks to a lot of hard work from everyone, today was better than yesterday, but it was not enough to fight with our usual competitors. We also went for an aero setup aimed at tomorrow’s race, when the rain could be a factor.

    « Tomorrow we will do all we can and then work on finding out why we never managed to get our package working properly, right from the first free practice session. »

    1.20pm: Verstappen says he isn’t giving up hope of becoming the youngest champion in F1 history – especially given the looming threat posed by COVID-19. The Dutchman points to the example of Sergio Perez, who missed the two races at Silverstone after testing positive for the deadly virus.

    « With the coronavirus, no one can take anything for granted, » said Verstappen. « The Perez story showed us how everything can change. I don’t want to give up, but on pace and speed it’s tough to beat them – you have to be realistic.

    « Yes, we were hoping for more, but Mercedes did a great job and we have to accept it. We didn’t do badly, but they clearly did better. »

    1.15pm: Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff insists it would be much better for F1 if Ferrari were at the front of the grid. The Italians are facing a battle to finish third in the constructors’ standings at this rate, with Racing Point and McLaren ahead of them.

    « Of course, nobody in Formula 1 can be happy about what is happening with this iconic team, » said Wolff. « My opinion is that they should concentrate on their performance rather than [appealing Racing Point’s brake ducts penalty].

    « This is not good for the competition at the front. In the end you have to question the priorities that have been set and where the lack of performance comes from.

    « It’s wrong to say ‘Ferrari priorities’ because that drags everybody into it. It’s maybe the decisions that have been made by certain individuals of the team. »

    1.10pm: Ricciardo put in his best qualifying performance as a Renault driver yesterday and he admits he won’t mind if it rains at Spa. The weather has held up so far, but it could get wet later on given the forecasts this week.

    « I’m very happy with today’s qualifying, » said Ricciardo. « It was so close to the top three, but Max got me by a couple of tenths at the end.

    « My lap was clean and probably as good as it was going to get. I left it all out there and the second row is a big reward. The car works well in lower downforce and that was the same last year.

    « Tomorrow looks interesting. We have good pace in the dry, but if it’s wet, we’ve shown in the past we’re not bad either. If it rains, it creates more opportunities, so whatever the conditions, we’ll take it and aim to do the best possible job. »

    1.05pm: Pole-sitter Hamilton paid a touching tribute to Chadwick Boseman after securing pole for today’s race. The Brit said his prayers and thoughts are with the late actor’s family following his death at the age of 43.

    « What a humble man he was, portraying these iconic black figures, » said Hamilton. « As a kid I wanted to be Superman, and it’s so important today for young black people to have a superhero to look up to, who looks just like them.

    « It’s really not easy to perform at your best when you have something weighing on your heart, and to be truthful it was so difficult to shake off that negativity and channel it into something exceptional, but Chadwick showed that was possible. »

    1pm: Ferrari’s engine woes have again been shared by their customers Haas and Alfa Romeo this weekend. Kevin Magnussen starts at the very back of the Spa grid, with Haas team-mate Romain Grosjean also in the bottom five places.

    Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi and Kimi Raikkonen start from 18th and 16th respectively, with Williams’ Nicholas Latifi between the Italian and backmarker Magnussen. George Russell was beaten to a place on the seventh row by Vettel. Who thought we’d be saying that at the start of the year?

    AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly will start from 12th today after being outqualified for the first time this season by team-mate Daniil Kvyat. It’s an emotional weekend for the Frenchman, who lost close friend Anthoine Hubert here last year following a horrific F2 crash.

    This afternoon’s Belgian Grand Prix gets underway at 2.10pm and we’ll be providing coverage of the entire build-up.

    12.45pm: Good afternoon and welcome to Express Sport’s live coverage of the Belgian Grand Prix at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps! Lewis Hamilton starts on pole in the stunning Ardennes forest for the sixth time in his F1 career after blitzing the competition yesterday.

    Valtteri Bottas was half a second off the pace of his Mercedes team-mate but still qualified in second, while Max Verstappen rounds off the top three. Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo joins his former Red Bull team-mate on the second row of the starting grid.

    Alex Albon and Esteban Ocon complete another Red Bull and Renault line-up as they start from fifth and sixth respectively. Carlos Sainz, Sergio Perez, Lance Stroll and Lando Norris complete the top 10.

    Ferrari secured wins at the past two Belgian Grands Prix but it’s an altogether different story for them this weekend. The SF1000’s lack of pace was shown up in practice and qualifying, with Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel starting from 13th and 14th respectively.

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    SOURCE: https://www.w24news.com

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