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From Jolyon Palmer
Former Renault driver & BBC Radio 5 Live commentator
Former F1 driver Jolyon Palmer, that left Renault is part of the BBC staff and provides insight and analysis
A weekend that was sombre and tragic was faced by formula 1 at the Grand Prix, and the way of Charles Leclerc’s victory was a reflection of their durability demanded from all involved on Sunday.
After the passing of about the Saturday Formula 2 driver Anthoine Hubert , several drivers said they had not wished to participate in any way, and I could completely understand that.
Regrettably, I’ve been in a similar position , back when Henry Surtees was murdered in 2009.
When he had his injury in the Formula two series that is older, I was the car ahead of Henry, and it really shook me. Henry was known by me and got on with him. This is really a defining moment in profession and my life where I realised this type of thing may happen.
Each one these young drivers will have gone without thinking they would get hurt, let alone be murdered. You can not believe any other way.
Safety is so good nowadays and drivers routinely walk. And with the’ halo’ head defense device’s introduction last year, the cars are safer than ever before.
But the reality is that the game still has inherent hazards that cannot be eradicated.
When Henry was killed 10 decades ago, it woke me up. I had been in a different position since I did not have to, although I couldn’t have thought about forcing the following day – the next race wasn’t for a month.
While the mood was sombre when we turned to another race, and you get back in the car that bit more conscious, it was really helpful to return into a practice session again, dialling back in at your own speed, and on a completely different circuit.
It had been in many ways a tougher task for its F1 drivers weekend.
To know about the severity and effects of large accidents, have this preying on your mind and then go flat out from race conditions from the off, and through the exact same corners on which the accident occurred – that requires a large amount of mental toughness which you can’t be prepared for.
And that really was the weekend’s story.
For Leclerc, it was harder than for many. He understood Hubert well, having hurried him off and on throughout his career, including in his kart race. Nevertheless his drive was perfect. Really, his operation over the weekend was.
Despite carrying another notable pole position, by a huge 0.7-second margin above his team-mate Sebastian Vettel, he still had a lot of pressure heading into Sunday.
Ferrari hadn’t won a race all season and the staff and the two drivers had been coming under pressure for a combined half of this season.
With that background Leclerc did all right. He received a excellent beginning, and basically had better pace than Vettel. He gave him a buffer to the pursuing also allowed him to look after his tyres .
Leclerc’s resilience was not confined to turning and racing on Sunday. He had to be strong mentally to win the race.
He’s two race wins slip through his palms and this was still another that might have gone that way as Hamilton resisted the strain to go.
But Leclerc maintained suffering that was strong despite his tyres at the closing stages.
The pressure was enormous. It was a situation not dissimilar to Austria, at which Verstappen had a late charge and pinched the win from under the nose using a couple of laps of Leclerc to go.
In Spa Leclerc managed to keep just out of Hamilton’s reach, making no mistakes and being incisive through a lot of back markers.
This was a triumph for himin the toughest of circumstances. Now he has the first win under his belt, I feel it is only a matter of time before the next follows.
Mental toughness is and F1 is not any different. Leclerc has revealed he has this in abundance and it moves in brilliant stead for the future.
The fact he immediately pointed to the heavens and ushered the camera after the race, rather revealed where his head was at Spa. Nevertheless he produced a magnificent drive.
There were many other people who showed well in circumstances. Alexander Albon, Pierre Gasly and Nico Hulkenberg finished with powerful results.
Albon needed a lot of strain on his shoulders after his mid-season switch. By beginning from the back of the grid because of an engine punishment the pressure has been reduced. However, the scrutiny during his weekend was high, more than he ever would have faced before, as he turned into the latest driver to locate himself in a race winning car – and in only his 13th Grand Prix.
He was never likely to have the ability to fight at Belgium for a podium or a win. But a drive would have given Red Bull a great deal of encouragement.
Not only did he exhibit impressive pace at times during the weekend, but also that the Red Bull bosses.
Pierre Gasly, the guy he replaced , also had a good deal of attention for his move from the opposite direction. Switching back into Toro Rosso would have been tough for Gasly at Red Bull about the rear of a catchy first half of this year.
It’s a dismissal, but Gasly is on the grid and has the capability to reveal if he could create some drives for their team, Red Bull they have been wrong.
Gasly’s drive was strong, finishing in ninth location. That was largely because of plan, although he did end up behind Daniil Kvyat that is team-mate. In addition to this, you can’t dismiss the Hubert background, which appeared to affect Gasly than most understandably.
Gasly described Hubert as one of his best allies, plus they roomed together on their way up the rankings. He put in a driveway to be pleased with, although for him to race on Sunday was particularly tough.
Finally, Hulkenberg discovered from the week leading up that he had lost his driveway to Esteban Ocon – yet another old adversary of both Hubert, Gasly and Leclerc for 2020.
With a point to show and stress, Hulkenberg also place at a drive that is quantified to finish eighth.
He’s very likely to stay in F1 next season, together with the other team. However, it’s embarrassing for a driver to be heading with your current seat assigned to somebody else and no push for the year.
Overall, this is a weekend from which no motorist would have left with positive feelings, despite some powerful results.
A passing this near home will take time to proceed from, and for the drivers in the area, it may be a wake up on the perils that may exist in a sport we’ve got safe.
It does reveal the mental resilience that they all have, in such circumstances that are difficult to race when most would rather go home and contemplate.
They race again this weekend in Monza, and the series will proceed.
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Analysis and comment in the BBC Formula 1 writer.
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