The official 2015 ASN Driver Rankings have been updated to reflect the 2015 Belgian Grand Prix – which we are calling the Fat Hairy Belgian Grand Prix [for the obvious reasons]. The Fat Hairy Belgian Grand Prix is held at Spa-Francorchamps which is generally recognized for two things – being one of the longest tracks on the circuit and almost always having rain or weather conditions. Fortunately, it was a nice sunny day for the majority of the 2015 version of the race and that worked out well for defending champion Lewis Hamilton, who led from start to finish – minus a few brief relinquishments of the lead during pit stops – and his Mercedes teammate, Nico Rosberg, who eventually claimed second after having to work his way through some early traffic. No surprises there – instead, the real surprise was that Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel did not claim third and that Lotus’ Romain Grosjean did – after Vettel’s tire shred on the penultimate lap of the race.
After nearly a month off from racing and with the last race being an unusually competitive affair, there was some hope that more competitive racing might be in the cards for the 2015 Fat Hairy Belgian Grand Prix, but Hamilton quashed that idea right off the bat by snagging the early lead and running away from the field as often happens when he is not beaten at the line. His Mercedes teammate, Rosberg, however, was not quite as fortunate, and got caught behind Hamilton and three other cars before gradually clawing his way back up to second.
Early race casualties included Nico Hulkenberg who did not even start the race and Pastor Maldonado, who hit a curb too hard and knocked his Lotus out on the second lap of the race. Normally, that would have probably been enough for Maldonado to claim his signature award for the race and it probably would have had not Valtteri Bottas’ Williams pit crew decided to try and put both medium and soft tires on Bottas’ car at the same time during his first pit stop. Not only did that not work out very well but Bottas also got a drive-through penalty for the circus pit stop [make sure to mentally insert circus music while watching pit stop video].
As Hamilton and Rosberg pulled away from the field, the only drama remaining in the race was for third place and various other shenanigans such as Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull giving up on Lap 21 and Max Verstappen trying his best for a Maldonado Award by attempting to comically maneuver his car past Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen on the final lap and nearly crashing himself in the process. Had the error of Bottas pit crew not been so egregious, Verstappen’s teenage angst antics might have been award-worthy.
As for the racing, Hamilton gets the top points for the 2015 Fat Hairy Belgian Grand Prix for, essentially, not crashing, while Grosjean gets some rare good driving points for his first podium finish in two years and AutoSportsNation awards a single point to Force India’s Sergio Perez, who challenged Hamilton early on for the lead – which definitely would have made things interesting had he been successful in getting in front of Hamilton – but wound up a respectable fifth.
For the awards, as mentioned earlier, it might have been easy to give the award to either Verstappen or Maldonado in his signature award category – seeing how they both made efforts to distinguish themselves in the entire race – but the obvious winner has to be Bottas’ pit crew for the blunder of the day in putting two kinds of tires on the car during one pit stop. It simply does not get any more bone-headed than that and so the Bottas pit crew gets the coveted Pastor Maldonado Driving School Award for this race. However, Maldonado and his Lotus teammate Grosjean still hold the season lead.
There was not much in the way of interesting race chatter for this race – as it tends to be for Mercedes blowout victories – so the Kimi Raikkonen “Leave Me Alone, I Know What I’m Doing!” Award for the 2015 Fat Hairy Belgian Grand Prix probably should go to Jenson Button of McLaren, who informs his pit on the seventh lap that his car is losing power and says “it feels like we forgot to connect the batteries!” – a polite version of either somebody has f**ked up! or this car is a piece of crap! – your choice. Hamilton maintains a commanding season lead for this award.
Meanwhile, the Lewis Hamilton Doofus Moment Award for the 2015 Fat Hairy Belgian Grand Prix goes to Vettel, who was miffed by the Pirelli tire shredding on the second-to-last lap and decided to vent after the race – “What was the answer [from Pirelli]? The same as every time: Yeah, well, there was a cut, debris, there may be something wrong with the bodywork, the driver went wide.” – listing off Pirelli excuses 1A through 1D. Hamilton still leads in his signature award category.
The 2015 Formula One season continues with the Italian Grand Prix at Monza at 5 a.m. [PDT] on NBCSN on September 6, 2015.
The 2015 ASN Formula One Driver Standings [after the Fat Hairy Belgian Grand Prix]
1] Sebastian Vettel – 20 points
2] Lewis Hamilton – 14 points
3] Nico Rosberg – six points
4] Valtteri Bottas – five points
5] Kimi Raikkonen – four points
6] Romain Grosjean – three points
7] Fernando Alonso/Jenson Button/Nico Hulkenberg/Daniil Kvyat/Daniel Ricciardo/Max Verstappen – two points
13] Sergio Perez – one point
The 2015 Pastor Maldonado Driving School Award Standings [after the Fat Hairy Belgian Grand Prix]
1] Grosjean/Maldonado – two points
2] Bottas pit crew/Marcus Ericsson/Hamilton/Hamilton pit crew/Raikkonen/Raikkonen pit crew/Ricciardo – one point
The 2015 Kimi Raikkonen Leave Me Alone I Know What I’m Doing Award Standings [after the Fat Hairy Belgian Grand Prix]
1] Hamilton – 4.5 points
2] Rosberg – 2.5 points
3] Bottas/Button/Ricciardo pit crew/Will Stevens – one point
The 2015 Lewis Hamilton Doofus Moment Award [after the Fat Hairy Belgian Grand Prix]
1] Hamilton – four points
2] Bernie Ecclestone/Vettel – two points
3] Alonso/Christian Horner/Team McLaren – one point