|Distance||308,052 km / 191,456 miles|
Maurizio Arrivabene: ”It’s such a pity. Today we probably had the pace for finishing the Grand Prix with both drivers on the podium. Unfortunately, the accident at the first corner ruined our race. The positives we can take is that, despite extensive damage, our car proved fast and resilient throughout. And this bodes well for our home Grand Prix next week at Monza. Also, the team behaved strongly and was united both on track and back at Maranello. So, starting from tomorrow, we’ll start preparing the Italian Grand Prix.”
Kimi Raikkonen: ”After the start, at the first corner, Sebastian didn’t see that there was another car on the inside: he expected me to turn but I couldn’t, so I found myself stuck in the middle with nowhere to go. We ended up touching each other and this was pretty bad for the rest of the race. After that it was an uphill battle: the floor of my car was a bit damaged, but we managed to recover some positions and do the best we could, even though it was not easy. I’m fine with fair racing and close battles, but, in my opinion, what happened at Eau Rouge with Verstappen was not correct. I was going full speed and I had to back off before Turn 5 because he just turned in front of me when I tried to overtake him. I’ve never had that with any other driver, if I hadn’t braked hard I would have hit him at full speed and it would have ended up in a massive accident. It’s hard to say where we would have been without the issue at the first corner, but the car felt well throughout the weekend. This was not the result that we were looking for, it’s a pity but that’s how racing goes sometimes.”
Sebastian Vettel: ”Today I had a brillant start. I was in second place and half a car ahead, so I could dictate the way. I could hardly see Kimi, he was in my blind spot, with Max even further right and out of sight. So I don’t think what Max was trying to do would have worked. Obviously he didn’t allow Kimi to move into the inside, and that prevented both of them from clearing Turn One in a normal way. We all three touched and collided, and this was bad news for Kimi and for me. Of course, with hindsight, I would have given more room to the inside, but you want to make the corner and try to race, and I gave room to Kimi, but not to three cars. Max had a bad start, he was falling behind. I think we have seen in the last couple of years that if you really dive down the very inside,the track is falling off and you basically go straight. The cars ahead have priority, and this is something he needs to understand. In that regard there was no way he could have made the corner without making contact. I don’t think that me and Kimi have to change what we are doing, we respect each other and it’s a pity when two cars of the same color collide.”
Sebastian finishes sixth, with Raikkonen ninth
Spa-Francorchamps, 28 August 2016 – Sebastian Vettel came home sixth in today’s Belgian Grand Prix at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit. The German finished three places ahead of Kimi Raikkonen, ninth at the flag. On the top step of the podium was first placed Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg.
Kimi Raikkonen: ”So far it has been a decent weekend, the car was behaving well today and we had the speed. My first run in Q3 was very good, but I went sideways and off track. The second attempt was even better, but in the last chicane I had some slight understeer and lost a few tenths compared to my Q2 sector. Today I felt we had the chance to get pole position, so I’m a bit disappointed, my laptime was not good enough. On a positive side, we are very close compared to the last couple of races. We decided to start the race with Soft tires, if you can make them work it will make a massive difference, we’ll see how the race will pan out but I think our plan will be fine. We’ll do our best, of course the hot conditions won’t be easy for the tires, but it’s the same for everybody. Hopefully we’ll be up there fighting also tomorrow.”
Sebastian Vettel: ”I’m sure we made a step forward from yesterday! If you look at the gaps between the cars, they are very close, so tomorrow it should be a good race. Obviously you always want a little bit more, the exit of the last corner in particular wasn’t very strong, so I can’t be happy with that. The rest of the lap was ok, we had a much better balance than on Friday, but it’s important to be fast in all three sectors to be up there. We decided to start the race on the Soft tires, we believe that this is the best strategy, we’ll see tomorrow. Anything can happen, there could even be some rain, in Spa you never know…”
Kimi will start third ahead of Sebastian
Spa-Francorchamps, 27 August 2016 – At the end of a closely contested qualifying session today at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit, Kimi Raikkonen claimed third place in 1.46.910, just 166 thousandths of a second off the pole time. The Finn finished ahead of Sebastian Vettel, fourth in 1.47.108. Starting from pole will be Nico Rosberg who took his Mercedes round in 1.46.744.
Kimi heads the field in qualifying simulation run
Spa-Francorchamps, 27 August – Kimi Raikkonen was quickest in the third free practice at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit, where once again today, conditions are much hotter than usual for this time of year. In the last 60 minutes available prior to qualifying, Raikkonen posted a best time of 1.47.974. He did 11 laps on his qualifying simulation run, using the Supersoft tyre, one less than Sebastian Vettel, who was third in 1.48.297, behind Daniel Ricciardo in the Red Bull (1.48.189).
Kimi Raikkonen: “In the morning the feeling with the car was pretty good, but then in the afternoon, when I put the Supersofts on, I struggled to put a good lap together and I kept running off the circuit. For the long run we changed some things but I was still struggling, for whatever reason. It was one of those days when you start well and then the feeling is not right anymore, but I’m sure we can find the right set up for tomorrow. It will be tricky with the tires, but it’s the same for everybody. I haven’t had time to check what the others were doing, it’s too early to have an idea, but for sure there is some work to be done. We have to go through everything and take out the best.”
Sebastian Vettel: “Today it was a very tricky day. It is very hot for Spa, and so it’s very slippery out there. But I think in general, everybody was struggling to make the tyres last and sliding quite a lot. It doesn’t matter which tyre you have, it’s the same for everybody, so we need to try and work on that because the temperatures will be like this for the whole weekend. Also, I was struggling a bit with the balance of the car, but this is up to us. We need to improve the car. It is not yet where we want it to be. But I am sure we will be faster.”
Ferrari 4th and 7th, then long runs
Spa-Francorchamps, 26 August – The Ferraris of Sebastian Vettel (1.49.023) and Kimi Raikkonen (1.49.244) finished fourth and seventh respectively in the second free practice session at Spa, where today’s air and track temperatures reach 31 and 43 degrees, as the unusually hot weather continues.
Both SF16-Hs were run to the same tyre choice while running qualifying and race simulations. After beginning on a new set of Softs, both Vettel and Raikkonen switched to the quicker Supersoft compound, before returning to the yellow-banded Softs.
Quickest was Max Verstappen in 1.48.085, ahead of his Red Bull team-mate, Daniel Ricciardo (1.48.341.)
Kimi third and Seb fifth in first free practice at Spa
Spa-Francorchamps, 26 August – Unusually hot weather, with temperature in the 30s, characterized the first free practice session for the Belgian Grand Prix. This event marks the official return to action for competitors in the Formula 1 World Championship, following the short summer break. Kimi Raikkonen was the fastest Ferrari man, third overall in a time of 1.49.147, while in the other SF16-H, Sebastian Vettel was fifth in in 1.49.768. Most of this morning’s work focused on setting up the cars to suit this low downforce circuit, with both drivers using two sets of Soft tyres, before a final run with the new experimental unmarked tyres. Topping the time sheet were the Mercedes duo of Nico Rosberg (1.48.348) and Lewis Hamilton (1.49.078).
Seb says changes for Spa are only the beginning
I think that in the previous races we took a lesson that we definitely learnt. We were able to make some small changes for here, but I think we’ll see more later in the season. Giving also the fact that there was a break – but in reality we only had one and a half week to react – you can’t expect huge changes. For the tire allocation this weekend, we hope we don’t have to use the Medium, as it’s usually quite a lot slower. We are pretty confident we chose the right tires and just able to spend more time on the quicker tires. Driving the development Pirelli tires, as I did before the break, was an interesting experience. I was able to get a few laps on the dry, before to switch to Wet tires: they’re quite different but I think there is still a lot of homework to do for Pirelli but also for the teams, because the cars will be different. I like driving so I don’t mind having another test in Barcelona in a couple of weeks, I think it is interesting being part of the process, every opportunity you get to drive the car I’m not afraid of.
About the earthquake in Italy, I think it’s dreadful. Yesterday morning, when I jumped in the car to go to the airport, I heard the message on the radio. They where speaking about six people that lost their lives and this number has just gone up so I hope it stops, I hope we can stop counting very soon. We obviously send all our condolonces and best wishes to the people and families involved. It’s horrible to see how much can happen in just one night.
Kimi has good feelings on ‘special’ track
Spa is a special track, similar to Monza in a way, in that it’s completely different from the new circuits. It has uphills and downhills, and the atmosphere is unique. I like this place a lot, it gives you good feelings, it has always been safe and it usually brings good racing. It’s hard to know what we will be able to achieve in this weekend, from our data it seems that it’s going to be easier than in the last race, but who knows… The weather is going to be nice all weekend, let’s see how it feels from tomorrow. Hopefully our car will fit well here and we’ll be able to fight in the front and make a good result. We keep trying to improve in all the areas in which we know we are not strong enough, but of course things are not going to suddenly change, it takes time and the other teams also are keeping improving. We want to do well and win, we’ll do our best.
Kimi, a Spa “specialist” and Riccardo Adami talk about an old-skool circuit
Maranello, 23 August – After a one month break from racing, Formula 1 is back in action with the Belgian Grand Prix at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit, which is so popular with drivers and race fans alike. Spa has undergone numerous changes from the 14 kilometre track used for the first race back in 1924, to the current 7.004 km, which has resulted in a reduction in the top speeds seen on some sections in the past. However, it still has a special attraction and, as well as being the longest circuit on the calendar, it is still today’s most technical track. Part of this is down to the uncertain nature of the weather, which can even change from one section of track to another. Therefore, the Belgian round is major test bench for cars and drivers, as Formula 1 rounds the mid-point marker and tackles this the thirteenth round of the season.
“It’s an old, traditional circuit, with up and down hills.” – says Kimi on the subject of the Belgian track. “ That’s what is different, more than other circuits, even just the place itself in the middle of nowhere. They changed lightly the last chicane in the past years, but I enjoy it. Conditions can be tricky sometimes, but it’s usually good for overtaking and that’s nice for drivers and spectators. On TV it’s hard to say, but when you’re there you can see it’s quite steep.”
“It is very challenging from a meteorological point of view” reckons Sebastian Vettel’s race engineer Riccardo Adami. “The weather is challenging: in the past, I remember having found a part of the circuit with the sun shining and the other part with rain. So, it’s important to be sharp in the strategy and tires.” Moving on to the technical side, Adami has this to say: “In this track we have the second sector with its high-speed corners, while the first and the last sectors are more for top-speed and long straights. Therefore, it’s always difficult to find the right wing level and to have the right aero efficiency in the first and last sector, not compromising too much the second sector where corners are. The braking system, even if it’s not too much stressed, is very important in this track, especially the last chicane in qualifying, because the drivers normally arrive there and it’s like without breathing and trying to take the last braking and the last few tenths, not destroying the whole qualifying lap. Spa is also very important regarding the Power Unit settings, because there’s lot of time in full throttle and also for the ERS: we need to find the right compromise for the energy through the lap. The most important corner of this track is Eau Rouge, at least it was supposed to be in the past, because it’s close to be taken flat out. It is one of the highest compression in terms of vertical load and vertical acceleration, reaching 4Gs. It’s very demanding for the driver because he finds himself through this corner which is so peculiar for the compression. So, he goes down and up without breathing.”