What was to have been a Red Bull charge to the checkered flag, was never meant to be. What was always meant to have been a show of resilience against an imposition of experience in the Russell vs Hamilton fight never became one. Ultimately, what was to have been an enormously interesting and closely-followed Formula 1 2021 Belgian GP became so truncated a contest all thanks to incessant rains that even an award winning short film, not necessarily meant on sports, would’ve fuelled the fans’ interest.
They say, Formula 1 is unpredictable at times and when they usually say this, they infer that, often backmarkers become midfielders and midfielders turn into frontrunners. On any given day, the track position holder race retires leaving to countless guessing fans to deal with yet more guesswork.
But the 2021 Belgian GP proved that F1 is unpredictable in a hugely uncanny way. There was a podium at the end of the race; okay nothing unpredictable about that for it’s all too common and regular but this one, occurred after just 3 laps.
They say, that teams like Alfa Romeo and Williams are, at best suited to gather a P10, at the most, but this was a Williams of George Russell first ending second in qualifying and then, second on the podium after the completion of as many laps.
They say and witness Grands Prix contested minus the safety car, unless really needed but no one has yet seen a safety car start and end the race in entirety. Well, not in the last two and a half decades, at least.
But that’s eventually what transpired at the insipid, hard-to-watch, boring, even dull 2021 Belgium Grand Prix. And look at the sheer irony. Spa-Francorchamps, that’s been hosting one of the most iconic as well as grand F1 races, first held in the inaugural 1950 world championship year, turned out to be the most unbearable one.
How often, and think of it real hard, how often is a Formula 1 Grand Prix stopped all thanks to the enforcement of a red flag session for no fewer than three and a half hours?
But that’s life, that’s F1 with peak unpredictability.
The Spa track, punctuated with mega corners and high-speed turns such as Raidillon, Eau Rouge, the Bus Stop Chicane, have, in the course of time, become iconic facets of a track that, apart from being the longest venue on the calendar is also the most serene and eye-widening beautiful race track.
Many have, over the years said, “I wish I had a house there,” much like the age old construction that’s nestled at the approach to Eau Rouge.
So gripping have been the contests here, proclaiming the triumph of nothing but the absolute best that the likes of Michael Schumacher, Kimi Raikkonen, seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton have gone on to essay their own destiny here at Spa.
The Iceman, in particular, has been so brilliant here at the midst of the Ardennes that the venue, thanks to Kimi’s genius, heralded a new legend of sorts: calling the Finn, “The King of Spa.”
Though, for his fans, the sight of seeing one of the sport’s finest drivers beginning vapidly, looking disinterested being down in nineteenth in that Alfa Romeo would’ve hurt a great deal. Perhaps just as much as the three podium grabbers, led by Verstappen, Russell, and Lewis, in that order would’ve emerged with mixed feelings, finding hardly any race whatsoever.
Hamilton actually going as far as saying that, “I hope the fans get their money back.”
Just that this is what transpired at the otherwise much awaited 2021 Belgian GP, a track of the free-spirited and a land of the brave (drivers)!
It’s on to Zandvoort now, the home race of Max Verstappen and one might say- so what was that at Spa?
Well, it was a Rain Grand Prix, at the end of the day, was it not?