Before the race, Massa announced his retirement at the end of this season. The changing of the guard is now almost complete. The only drivers remaining that raced with Schumacher are Alonso, Button, and Raikkonen. And Button won’t be driving for McLaren–he’s supposed to be in some sort of consulting role and Stoffel VanDorn gets his seat. I still remember the Turkish GP where Massa took a spring to his helmet off fellow Brazilian Barrichello in 2009. He was SO fortunate to survive that and he had a hard battle to get back to racing… but he was never quite the same after that incident. Add to that he lost the world championship to Hamilton by 1 point just the season before. The poor guy has probably come closer to making history than any other driver and it just never worked out. That’s gotta weigh heavily on him.
As for the race itself, it was one of terrible versus exceptional starts then pit stop strategies. Hamilton gave away his lead to wind up back in 6th thanks to another terrible start. Rosberg, Vettel, Raikkonen, and even Ricciardo swooped by him by the first corner.
Then the pit stop strategies took over–Ferrari and Red Bull had to stop twice and Mercedes pulled off the one stopper. That allowed Hamilton to make up for his start for the most part and get into second place. He never could reel in Rosberg, though, who won the race handedly and cut his championship points deficit down to just 2.
The rest of the race was relatively incident free considering how wheels off (pun intended) Spa was. Only a couple of retirements, Verstappen couldn’t make things happen this time, Alonso was up there in points so maybe there’s hope for McLaren after all, and Force India still doing pretty well considering the drama for the constructor outside of the racing.
Vettel rounded out the top three and Kimi kept 4th. The Italians haven’t won at their home track since 2010 and the bosses were all there to add to the pressure.
I wonder what the internal politics are for Ferrari racing. Are they still fighting to get the best car or are they just trying to the best of the rest because Mercedes is still so much faster than everyone else. They’ve certainly had their share of years when they were the force to be reckoned with, and nothing lasts for ever (just ask Christian Horner) but I can’t imagine that Mercedes will be able to hold onto this dominance forever. Is Ferrari waiting for that moment to pounce or are they just trying to catch up as fast as they can?
Not completely race related but it was nice to know that Monza has been resigned for another 3 year deal with F1. It’s a track on my bucket list so I really hope I get to make it out there while the best of the best are still racing there.