VERSTAPPEN DOES THE DOUBLE IN SPA
After winning yesterday’s Sprint, Max Verstappen did the double, winning the Belgian Grand Prix for a third consecutive time. It extends Red Bull’s winning streak to 13, the team unbeaten so far this season. This was the reigning world champion’s 45th career win. Alongside him on the podium in second place was his team-mate Sergio Perez and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, third having started from pole position. The additional point for fastest race lap went to Lewis Hamilton in the closing stages, the Englishman finishing fourth.
MARIO ISOLA - DIRECTOR, PIRELLI MOTORSPORT
“Finally, a day with reasonable weather, rain only making an appearance briefly without having any significant impact on the way the race played out. Coming into this final part of the weekend practically in the dark, increased the number of unknown factors and, along with the large number of dry weather tyres available, as they were only used for a few laps in yesterday’s qualifying, this gave the teams a wider than usual range of possible strategies. Degradation on the Soft and Medium tyres was in line with our simulations given the relatively low track temperature. These low temperatures also meant the Hard was not very competitive and it was only used by one driver for a few kilometres. In terms of performance, the other two compounds were up to the task and the stint lengths varied according to whether a driver chose to push right from the start to make the most of the available grip, or manage the situation to lengthen the stint as much as possible, which was the case for the three drivers who only made a single pit stop.
Finally, I would like to congratulate the fans (380,000 attendance) who put up with some very wet weather. They were rewarded with a great show, partly down to the Sprint weekend format which meant that, right from Friday, there was plenty of excitement on track. Formula 1 is soon going to take a short break, although we still have two more days of testing on Tuesday and Wednesday here at Spa, working with Aston Martin and McLaren. The daily work programme will depend a lot on what the weather has to offer.”
THE DAY ON TRACK
Medium and Soft were the most used compounds during the race, with the Hard only used by Norris for 12 laps in his second stint. 13 drivers opted to start on Softs, seven on Medium. The softest of the three compounds Pirelli brought here proved to be very competitive, also giving the teams greater flexibility in terms of strategy, with seven drivers opting to push right from the start, stopping before lap 10 (Sainz also pitted having sustained car damage) while others extended the stint as much as possible, like Gasly for example, who pitted after 23 laps. Those who started on Mediums also adopted different strategies: Russell managed to do 22 laps, Stroll just two fewer, while Tsunoda stopped on lap 9 and Alonso on 10. This compound was the out and out choice for the second stint, with much more similar stint lengths, in a window between 15 and 20 laps.
The most critical moment of this phase came shortly after half-distance when, for around ten minutes, it rained slightly. Lap times rapidly increased, reaching the limit for the crossover point to intermediates, but then the rain stopped and the track dried quickly. For the final stages, based partly on what had been learned in the first part of the race, the Soft was back in favour with the teams and drivers. Here too the stint lengths varied: the first three finishers completed a similar distance (Verstappen 14, Perez 15 and Leclerc 16), Norris did 27, while Ocon and Zhou ran for 19 while Tsunoda and Hulkenberg did 20.
Three drivers did just one stop – Russell, Stroll and Gasly – the first two of these finishing in the points, while the Frenchman was just outside in 11th. Another trio, the two Williams drivers and Lewis Hamilton, made three stops. In the case of the Williams pair it was for strategic reasons, while the seven times world champion came in for a set of new Mediums to secure the extra point for fastest race lap.
Enzo Fittipaldi (Rodin Carlin) finally secured his first ever Formula 2 win, first past the flag in Saturday’s Sprint Race. Theo Pourchaire (ART Grand Prix) was classified second when Richard Verschoor (VAR) was disqualified after the race, which also promoted Dennis Hauger (MP Motorsport) to the third step of the podium. Victory in the Feature Race went to Jack Doohan (Invicta Virtuosi Racing), while stepping up to the second and third places on the podium were Pourchaire and Fittipaldi. The Frenchman now leads the series on 168 points, 12 more than Frederik Vesti (Prema Racing). Ayumu Iwasa (DAMS) is third on 134 points.
The Safety Car played a major role in the Formula 3 Sprint Race, to the extent the drivers were only able to “really” race for two laps. The final classification was then revised by the FIA, with Caio Collet (VAR) taking the win ahead of Taylor Barnard (Jenzer) and Paul Aron (Prema Racing.) The Englishman went on to be first past the chequered flag in the Feature Race. Third was his Jenzer team-mate Nikita Bedrin, who was unable to get past Campos Racing’s Christian Mansell, who came home second. Although he failed to score points in Spa, Gabriel Bortoleto (Trident) continues to head the drivers’ classification on 144 points. He now only needs a further two points to be out of reach of his pursuers, whatever they might do and clinch the title. Prema’s Paul Aron is second on 106, one ahead of Josep Marti (Campos).
FORMULA 1 ACADEMY
Nerea Martì (Campos Racing) took her first win of the season in race 1 at Paul Ricard in the penultimate round of the F1 Academy championship. Her team-mate Lola Lovinfosse was third behind Abbi Pulling (Rodin Carlin). Marta Garcia picked up plenty of points in the drivers’ championship, winning races 2 and 3. The Spanish Prema driver took the chequered flag ahead of Lena Bühler (ART Grand Prix) e Amna Al Qubaisi (MP Motorsport) in race 2 and left the lower steps of the race 3 podium to a Bühler e Lovinfosse.
NEXT UP FOR OUR F1 TYRES
Now it’s time for the Formula 1 summer break. The championship will resume with the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort from 25 to 27 August and just one week later, the action switches to the final European round of the season, from 1 to 3 September when Monza hosts the Formula 1 Pirelli Gran Premio d’Italia 2023.
Founded in 1872, Pirelli is a company with deep Italian roots now recognised all over the world for its cutting-edge technology, capacity for innovation, and the quality of its products. Motorsport has always played an important part in Pirelli’s strategy, following the ‘race to road’ philosophy. The company has been engaged in motorsport for 116 years and today supplies tyres to more than 350 championships on both two and four wheels. Pirelli pays constant attention to the most efficient use of natural resources and energy, aiming to reach carbon neutrality by 2030.
Pirelli has been Global Tyre Partner of the FIA Formula 1 World Championship since 2011. The company also supplies championships including FIA Formula 2, FIA Formula 3, Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine, FIA World Rally Championship and GT World Challenge, alongside numerous national series.