Double podium for Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport at Spa-Francorchamps. Lewis Hamilton finished the Belgian Grand Prix in P2 after starting third. Valtteri Bottas came home in P3, thus completing a double podium for the team. Today’s result marks the 200th podium place for Mercedes in Formula One as well as Valtteri’s 50th points finish for Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport. Lewis (268 points) leads the Drivers’ Championship by 65 points from Valtteri (203 points). Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport (471 points) lead Ferrari (326 points) by 145 points in the Constructors’ Championship.
It’s been a very difficult weekend for everyone in motorsport and today I raced with Anthoine in my thoughts. In general, it’s been a wobbly weekend but to have a solid Qualifying and then a solid race today, I’m really happy. Of course, you always want to win on a race day, but I gave it absolutely everything I had. Ferrari were a very strong force but for us to be that close at the end means there are plenty of positives to take. I’m happy for Charles, he did a fantastic job all weekend so congratulations to him. We’ve got a lot work to do to try to catch up to Ferrari on the straights in the next four days, but if anyone can do it it’s this team. Hopefully we can have another close race next weekend in Monza.
It’s been a tough weekend for everyone after yesterday’s sad news. I was trying as hard as I could out there but not many opportunities came my way. The race pace felt OK, but Ferrari were stronger on the straights as we expected. I was maybe lacking a bit at the end of the first stint with tyre drop off but the second stint was strong. However, there was no other opportunity for me to attack before the end of the race, so we decided to save the engine and the gearbox. Spa has normally been a difficult track for me, but we made up a position with better strategy and I actually think this has been my best performance here. Now we look to Monza where we expect Ferrari to be quick again, but we’ll push hard to fight them.
Overall, this was a weekend of damage limitation for us in terms of the championships, so we can be satisfied to come away with a double podium finish and two strong drives from Lewis and Valtteri. We had a quick race car this afternoon, pulling back lots of time through the second sector as the tyres degraded, but you could see the straight line speed of our competitors – even with the DRS and the tow, we didn’t really have enough of a speed delta to put them under pressure lap after lap. When you finish so close to P1, of course you look back at what you could have done better – perhaps the optimum stop lap for Lewis would have been one earlier, but it’s a lot easier to make that call with hindsight. Of course, the big picture this weekend is a different one – a talented young man lost his life yesterday and that has overshadowed everything. We must continue to remember him and hold Anthoine’s memory high – today was Charles’ well-deserved maiden F1 victory, and they were close friends, so everything happens for a reason.
Source: Mercedes-AMG F1