Spa Speed Trap: Who is the slowest of them all?

That's right, instead of asking who the fastest driver in a straight line is at Spa, we've formulated... The post Spa Speed Trap: Who is the slowest of them all? appeared first on F1i.com.

Spa Speed Trap: Who is the slowest of them all?

That's right, instead of asking who the fastest driver in a straight line is at Spa, we've formulated the question contrarily, because the answer is simply more compelling.

As a power circuit, Spa-Francorchamps was always going to be a challenge for Ferrari. But the magnitude of the Scuderia's deficit to its rivals this weekend - and the shortfall of all Ferrari-powered cars - really drives home the extent of the disaster that inhabits the House of Maranello.

The slowest five cars in Saturday's qualifying were all powered by Ferrari, while Sebastian Vettel's top speed up the Kemmel straight was slightly better.

Ferrari's engine saga involving its confidential agreement with FIA has been well chronicled, but it's interesting to hark back to last year's Belgian Grand Prix, the first race after the 2019 summer break and the first 'sortie' of the Scuderia's improved power unit.

One year ago, Vettel was fastest through the speed trap with a top speed of 317.7km/h. This year, the German's velocity was measured at just 308 km/h.

Discounting year-over-year aero differences, the deficit remains significant, and it begs one question: just how badly were Ferrari breaking the engine rules in the second half of 2019?

We'd guess: very badly.

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Wolff says Hamilton qualifying effort was 'extraterrestrial'

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff called Lewis Hamilton's pole lap at Spa on Saturday "extraterrestrial" after the Briton blitzed... The post Wolff says Hamilton qualifying effort was 'extraterrestrial' appeared first on F1i.com.

Wolff says Hamilton qualifying effort was 'extraterrestrial'

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff called Lewis Hamilton's pole lap at Spa on Saturday "extraterrestrial" after the Briton blitzed teammate Valtteri Bottas by over half a second.

Hamilton clinched on the fast sweeping Ardennes track his 93rd career pole in Formula 1, leading every segment of the afternoon session in another master class display of speed and style.

The performance was another stake hammered into the ground by the Mercedes driver in his quest for a seventh world title, and an achievement that left Bottas powerless.

©Mercedes

Yet Wolff defended the Finn's own performance while applauding Hamilton's feat.

"I don’t think there’s any psychological reason for the gap today," Wolff said. "I think overall Valtteri struggled with the setup, particularly in Q3.

"I’ve just been talking to him and you can see that on the data there’s just a little bit more sliding exiting the corners and that obviously adds up - that makes the difference.

"But I don’t want to downplay or diminish anything of Lewis’ performance which was extraterrestrial today, again on these fast, traditional circuit he’s just in a league of his own."

Hamilton admitted to have struggled to channel his energy and focus on Saturday, having learned overnight of the passing of Hollywood actor Chadwick Boseman, an event that added another layer of sadness to an already "heavy year" according to the Briton.

But Wolff believes the challenges faced by Hamilton this year outside of F1 had encouraged him to direct his energy towards his on-track performances.

"Like many other high-performance people, we function well on adversity, and why I can relate to it is we have discussed it," Wolff said.

"We're all a little bit similar. The more that's being thrown at you, the better you get.

"We definitely see that with Lewis this season, with all the craziness that happens in the world, and all these tragedies.

"He has certainly been driven by these circumstances to provide his answers to what's happening in the world."

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