The weather stayed dry at Spa on Sunday, August 23, as Formula 1 completed the tenth round of its 19-race 2015 season. Reigning World Champion, Lewis Hamilton emerged victorious, followed in suit by his teammate at Mercedes, Nico Rosberg. In an emotional finish after a two-year-plus drought, Lotus stepped on the podium in the person of French driver, Romain Grosjean in third.
Hamilton led from pole, a scenario F1 fans this season have become accustomed to seeing. From there, battles back in the field emerged, but eventually Nico Rosberg, who had had a bad start, eventually crossed the finish line in second. Ferrari’s typical spot this season in third was upset when Sebastian Vettel’s car suffered a tire failure late in the race. This left the door open for Romain Grosjean to nab the last spot on the podium.
Grosjean was emotional at his accomplishment, as viewers at home could hear in his voice in the transmitted radio conversation with his team. According to Formula 1, Grosjean’s first podium position since the U.S. Grand Prix in 2013 was especially meaningful for him to obtain at Spa because of a bad accident he caused there in 2012.
“I still can’t believe that we are on the podium,” Grosjean said while standing before the crowd. “Those guys have been working hard to give us that car to be able to be here today. Of course going into turn one, every time I take a start in Spa, I will remember 2012 but I think it made me stronger and indeed allowed me to be 10 times on the podium. Being here today is kind of special I think, it has the feel of a race win.”
Here is how the rest of the field came in, according to Formula 1: 4th: Daniil Kvyat (Red Bull); 5th: Sergio Perez (Force India); 6th: Felipe Massa (Williams); 7th: Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari); 8th: Max Verstappen (Toro Rosso); 9th: Valtteri Bottas (Williams); 10th: Marcus Ericsson (Sauber); 11th: Felipe Nasr (Sauber); 12th: Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari), DNF; 13th: Fernando Alonso (McLaren); 14th: Jenson Button (McLaren); 15th: Roberto Merhi (Marussia); and 16th: Will Stevens (Marussia). All others — Sainz, Ricciardo, Maldonado, and Hulkenberg, did not finish.
About his win, Hamilton commented, “Incredible job done by the team throughout the pit stops, throughout the whole weekend, the guys back at the factory… You know, today was a dream. The whole weekend the car was fantastic, so thank you guys.”
When told his win at Spa now put him equal with his hero, Ayrton Senna, in the number of times both have stood on the podium (with 80 each), Hamilton simply said, “Wow.”
Nico Rosberg had this to say about his second place finish, “I was always coming closer except for this one phase in the second stint, towards the end where Lewis pulled away. So that definitely cost me a bit. Then on the Option felt great again. I was qualifying lap every lap trying to hunt Lewis down but he did a great job and it wasn’t enough.”
In the news conference following the race, Grosjean was asked more about his achievement on Sunday, 31 races since his last one when he wore a Stetson hat on the podium at Austin. “Probably one of my best races ever,” he said about Spa. “I remember Austin, a long time ago, but I still remember I was a bit drunk at the press conference!”
He continued, “A little bit too much champagne on the podium with Seb. It has been up and down here for me. Of course Spa 2012 with Lewis was a bit of a tough time but on the other side it’s helped me because who I am today and being able to be on the podium with how we are during the weekend shows how strong our guys, and how strong we’re capable of building a car and be there. It was a great race, I enjoyed every minute and if we can do it again, let’s go.”
Standings now in the championship go as follows, according to Formula 1. In the Drivers’ Championship, Hamilton now has 227 points. His lead over his teammate is now outside of one race in points with a 28-point spread. Rosberg has 199 points, and Vettel remains in third with 160.
In the Constructors’ Championship, Mercedes’s lead in points, according to Formula 1, is now at 426. Ferrari in second has 242 points, and Williams occupies the third place position at 161.
Formula 1 travels to Monza next for the Italian Grand Prix. The race is scheduled for Sunday, September 6.