Event: Belgian Grand Prix (Round 13 of 21)
Date: Sunday, Aug. 26
Location: Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps
Layout: 7.004-kilometer (4.352-mile), 19-turn track
Weather: Mostly cloudy
Air Temps: 17-18.3 degrees Celsius (62.6-64.9 degrees Fahrenheit)
Track Temps: 25.4-30.3 degrees Celsius (77.7-86.5 degrees Fahrenheit)
Race Winner: Sebastian Vettel of Scuderia Ferrari
Haas F1 Team:
● Romain Grosjean – Started 5th, Finished 7th (Running, completed 44/44 laps)
● Kevin Magnussen – Started 9th, Finished 8th (Running, completed 44/44 laps)
Haas F1 Team earned a double-points result for the second straight race and the third time this season in the Belgian Grand Prix Sunday with drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen finishing seventh and eighth, respectively, in the 13th round of the 2018 FIA Formula One World Championship.
The 10 points from the collective result of Grosjean and Magnussen at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps allowed Haas F1 Team to solidify its fifth-place standing in the constructors’ ranks. The American squad now has 76 points and trails fourth-place Renault by just six points with a 24-point advantage over sixth-place McLaren. Magnussen is eighth in the driver’s championship with 49 points and Grosjean is 14th with 27 points.
The Haas F1 Team pilots earned their finish by avoiding the opening lap chaos at La Source, the tight first turn that empties drivers down the straight to the renowned Eau Rouge and Raidillon corners. Grosjean’s fifth-place starting spot kept him well ahead of the multicar accident that ultimately put four drivers out of the race, while Magnussen deftly picked off Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo and Scuderia Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen to climb to seventh from his ninth-place starting spot.
Max Verstappen powered his Red Bull past Grosjean on the Kemmel Straight just before turn seven at Les Combes, placing Grosjean sixth and Magnussen seventh when the safety car was deployed to clean up the mess at La Source.
Racing resumed on lap five, and the Haas F1 Team duo held their positions for the next 16 tours around the 7.004-kilometer (4.352-mile), 19-turn track in the Ardennes region of southeast Belgium. A charging Valtteri Bottas, who started 17th in his Mercedes, overtook Magnussen for seventh on lap 22.
Grosjean was able to stay ahead of Bottas until pitting on lap 23, swapping his Pirelli P Zero Red supersoft tires for a new set of Yellow softs. He returned to the race in 10th.
Magnussen, meanwhile, stayed out on the track until lap 26, rising to sixth as others ahead of him made their pit stops before finally making his scheduled stop. Magnussen emulated his teammate’s strategy, switching from supersofts to softs, and emerged from the pits in eighth. This allowed Grosjean to leapfrog Magnussen, as he picked up seventh.
From this point forward, Grosjean and Magnussen handily held their seventh- and eighth-place positions. As the longest track in Formula One, Spa allows drivers to stay full throttle for 70 percent of each lap. This provided both wheelmen with the opportunity to extend significant margins between themselves and those around them, allowing for a relatively stress-free double-points finish.
Scuderia Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel won the Belgian Grand Prix to score his 52nd career Formula One victory, placing him in sole possession of third on the series’ all-time win list, ahead of Alain Prost and behind only Lewis Hamilton (67 wins) and Michael Schumacher (91 wins). Vettel’s margin of victory over second-place Hamilton was an impressive 11.061 seconds. It was Vettel’s fifth win this season and his third at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps.
The 1-2 finish between the title protagonists tightened their championship battle, with Vettel cutting seven points from Hamilton’s lead. Hamilton came into the Belgian Grand Prix with a 24-point advantage on Vettel and leaves with a 17-point margin.
Eight races remain in the 2018 FIA Formula One World Championship, with the next event coming Sept. 2 with the Italian Grand Prix at Autodromo Nazionale Monza.
“That was about what we expected today. We knew the Force Indias had the same pace, if not a bit quicker, so it was difficult to stay with them. They were quick on a straight line. I’m pretty happy with how the race went, and I’m happy Kevin was there as well. We did the best we could. Two cars in the points – in seventh and eighth – that’s really good for the constructors’ championship. It was a lot of points for us and zero for some others, so that’s a positive from this race.”
“We scored points with both cars, which was the goal for today. We did everything we could. In the race, I lost a lot of time around the pit stops, which was unfortunate but, even so, I don’t think I could have fought the Force Indias. It would probably have just been a swap between me and Romain. We’re catching up on Renault, and that’s the target. I’m really just happy for the team. We can be pleased with the result today. Scoring 10 points on a day when Renault didn’t score any points – that’s important.”
“A good end to a solid weekend. Starting off on Friday, we were not where we wanted to be, but we worked our way up. We brought home both cars in the points and made a good step in the championship. We need to do more of that and we’ll be fine.”
Round 14 of the 2018 FIA Formula One World Championship is the Italian Grand Prix at Autodromo Nazionale Monza. Practice begins Aug. 31, qualifying takes place Sept. 1 and the race runs Sept. 2.