Hamilton needs a rival

Bottas, second, did not even approach the champion, winner in Spa. Verstappen completed the podium, Sainz was unable to race and Ferrari was not up to the task.


Nobody is going to beat this Lewis Hamilton, ever, especially if the very few opportunities he grants are wasted. The super champion started from pole but in Spa-Francorchamps that is a poisoned gift, because from the first hairpin there is a whole sector in depth in which the slippers play against. Valtteri Bottas knew it, who celebrated being glued to his partner. The Finn got off to a good start, hit like a limpet, and the Briton missed that first corner in the loophole with a slight skid that left him exposed. Bottas stuck, but they reached Eau Rouge and, for whatever reason, a reflex action, raised his foot slightly. From fighting for the first place to defend the second. So Hamilton had won the race in two corners. Then more things happened, there were accidents and a safety car, Ferrari was embarrassing, Ricciardo showed off and Verstappen too, and again the tires were pushed to unsuspected limits. But at no point was Hamilton's celebrated triumph in jeopardy with a Mercedes too powerful for alternatives. Bottas reached eight seconds and Verstappen, third seven more behind. If nothing remedies it, this podium will be repeated a lot during the season.

Carlos Sainz did not arrive on the grid because his Renault engine, with a running-in race, said enough in the reconnaissance laps. Sad end for a great prize that he promised on his part, and before a Sunday that was interesting. The seventh place was deserted so all those who started from behind won a virtual place. Ahead, as explained, Bottas sinned meekly. Verstappen had more trouble containing Ricciardo from behind and the Mercedes were never within his grasp this time, even though he could push them all the way hoping some Pirelli would literally get out of the pot. Failed

The spectacular accident of Giovinazzi and Russell advanced the stops. The Italian lost control and smashed his Alfa Romeo on lap 11, and the Briton found a wheel thrown in the middle of the track and ended up in the wall when the one on his Williams broke. Very bulky, but nothing serious. And everyone running to pit road. Leclerc, for example, lost more than ten seconds in a 'pit stop' maneuver that illustrates well Ferrari's terrible weekend: the Monegasque won four places at the start but lost them during the race, surpassed on all straights, No tools to fight and weighed down by his team. Nor did Vettel fare better, who was overtaken by Raikkonen with the Alfa Romeo on equal terms. The German was 13th, Charles 14th, both out of the points. They ended as bad as they started. It did not rain in Spa because all the black clouds are now concentrated over Maranello.

With Sainz knocked out, Norris finished seventh with the McLaren ahead of a huge Gasly (with bad strategy he went back to the start and finish and left a spectacular pass to Pérez at Radillon) and the two Racing Points, who completed the points. In front of Woking, very spare, the two Renault gave an exhibition on the track in The Ardennes with the fourth from Ricciardo and the fifth from Ocon, the RS20 promises. Both easily beat Albon, with the second Red Bull, in fact the Frenchman overtook him to the limit on the last lap. At least there were alternatives, fights on the track and a lot of overtaking. A few to the two Ferraris. None from Hamilton because you don't need them. What the great champion of Mercedes lacks is a rival at his height.

Photos from as.com
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