George continued his consistent run of form to finish the Belgian Grand Prix in P4, while Lewis experienced his first DNF of the season, the final driver on the grid to do so. Lewis suffered damage on the opening lap after contact with ALO at Les Combes, with a loss of water pressure forcing the car’s retirement.
Looking back at the footage, Fernando was in my blind spot and I thought I left more room than I did, so it was my fault and I paid the price. I’m just sorry for the team, we had a chance of P3 and P4 today. The car felt good on the laps to the grid, we’d got it into a good place and I’d made a good start. After three weeks away, I was looking forward to racing today so it’s frustrating, but it is what it is. Right now, my job is to focus on the next race, I need to recuperate and get back on the treadmill.
I have mixed feelings right now because had you told me last night we will be two seconds off the podium on merit and pure pace, I’d have said that’s a good recovery. When I was closing in on Carlos at the end, a second a lap, I thought here we go – we’re in for a really good shot here. But then I just had two really scrappy laps and got the tyres out of the window. When the tyres are in that sweet spot, the car is transformed but as soon as I lost them, I knew the podium was game-over. Overall, considering where we were, P4 and two seconds off the podium – not too bad. Today our race pace was probably better than the Ferraris; Carlos started on pole, was leading the first stint and we closed him in both times. So at worst, I think we were equal with Ferrari today, but as we know, it’s swings and roundabouts. What is clear is, that Max is cruising away at the moment.
I don’t think we can be satisfied with this weekend – if you see Verstappen, he has leapt above us all. We really need to find out how we can improve our cars because the gap is just too big. We’re giving the drivers a very difficult car to drive and it hasn’t got the pace on a single lap so we need to work ourselves out of this situation. Over the next four days, we’ll be putting our heads together, setting our sights on the next race and also next season. It’s important we stay level-headed, keep our spirits up and don’t flip too much between elation and depression – this weekend is a low but in Hungary three weeks ago, we were thinking we will absolutely win a race, so we’ll never give up.