2022 AM Wings_Mono Negative
On Track

The Debrief by Aramco: Belgian GP

At Spa-Francorchamps, Fernando and Lance ensure Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One® Team enter the summer break third in the Constructors' Championship.

Aston Martin F1

Fernando and Lance finished P5 and P9 respectively in Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix to overcome a difficult Sprint and enter the summer break on a high.

The weather was mercifully dry after a soaked Friday and Saturday, although drizzle in the middle of the Grand Prix saw waves of fans at Spa unfurl their umbrellas and ponchos. The rain quickly dissipated, allowing our drivers to forgo a stint on Intermediate tyres.

Fernando made a blistering start from P9 on a new set of Medium compounds and rapidly weaved his way into the top five. He pitted twice – once for another set of new Medium compounds on Lap 10 and finally for a set of Soft compounds on Lap 29 – to take a fifth-place finish.

Lance meanwhile pitted just once from his starting set of new Medium compounds. During the brief spell of rain, he swapped to Soft tyres on Lap 26 and finished the race in P9.

After a Saturday that saw Fernando spin out of the Sprint and Lance crash out of the Sprint Shootout, P5 and P9 on Sunday is a significant boost to the team.

Moreover, as a result of Fernando, Lance, and our team's consistently solid and often stellar execution, we have scored points in every single race weekend of the season so far.

Read what our drivers and Team Principal Mike Krack said after Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix.


The Grand Prix

F. AlonsoFL: 1:50.938
L. StrollFL: 1:51.297

"I was lucky at the start: I made up a few places into Eau Rouge, but then I was worried that I wouldn't be able to hold onto those positions through the first stint. We were fast – we kept one Mercedes and one McLaren behind us – so we were in the mix. That's good news for the whole team as we head into the summer break." Fernando looks back on his start to the race as he capitalised on incidents in front to jump up the order.

"It was good to pick up a couple of points today, especially at a circuit where we haven't been particularly strong this weekend. We made the decision to go for a long first stint on the Medium tyres because we could see some rain coming on the radar. The rain did come in some areas of the track. It was drivable without needing Intermediates, so we boxed for the Soft tyre. It was a bit of a gamble – if the rain had been heavy enough, we could have saved ourselves the extra stop – but in hindsight two stops was probably the better strategy. The last stages of the race became about managing the Soft tyre, so I didn't really have the grip to defend when Esteban [Ocon] was closing in." Lance explains why we took the gamble to pit him only once rather than twice, and why he dropped to P9 in the late stages of the race.

"We delivered a more competitive performance today, with both drivers racing well and managing different strategies. Lance was one of three drivers to make only one stop – and that required some excellent tyre management across both stints. With the threat of rain in the middle part of the race, we kept his options open as long as we could and really stretched out the final stint on the Softs." Mike praises Lance for making the one-stop strategy work and finish in the points, despite the difficulties he encountered.

"The car felt great today – and really gave me confidence. This is a high-efficiency circuit – and, after the British Grand Prix, we were a little concerned about our performance coming here. The team changed a few characteristics on the car and it really paid off." Fernando says his P5 result serves as a confidence boost and rewards recent changes made by the team to the AMR23.

"We've had a mixed start to the season and I think we know there's some work to do as we head into the second half. That being said, it's been a huge step up from last year and I know the team is motivated to keep pushing for more." Lance acknowledges our stunning start to the season but adds that he wants to strive for more in the second half of the season.

"Fernando's race was a bit more straightforward and, with clean air for much of the race, he was able to show good pace to bring home fifth place." Mike says that Fernando's two-stop strategy helped him finish in the top five.

"It’s been an incredible first half to the season: we are third in the Constructors' Championship and third in the Drivers' Championship. It was impossible to think of achieving this before the start of the season." Fernando reflects on an astonishing start to the season in which we have scored 196 points and six podiums so far.

"The whole team did an incredible job today. Now, it's time to recharge our batteries over the summer break and come back stronger." Fernando signs off by looking ahead to the summer break.

"The 12 points scored today ensure we maintain third place in the Constructors' Championship. This was an important confidence boost for everyone in the team before the well-earned summer break." Mike concludes by acknowledging the hard work of the team as we retain P3 in the Championship leaving Belgium. Soon we have two weeks to relax and reflect on the start of the season before Formula One resumes in the Netherlands in August.


#18 Lance Stroll | Free Practice & Qualifying

No time
SprintFL: 2:03.356

#14 Fernando Alonso | Free Practice & Qualifying

No time

"It was pretty tough out there today. The wet conditions made the visibility very poor and the car just didn’t have the pace we needed." Lance recounts a challenging day on which the track was slippery and towering sprays of water made for bad visibility.

"I was following very closely behind Nico [Hülkenberg] at the entry to Pouhon; I lost downforce, touched the white line, and just lost the car. Trying to find grip – and guessing the grip levels in each corner – was tricky. It was very slippery, and it was my mistake." Fernando begins by looking back at the mistake that ended his Sprint early.

"We saw more sunshine and showers in Spa today, giving us the full range of changeable track conditions. Like the rest of the grid, we chose to switch to the Intermediate tyres as quickly as possible in the Sprint, but we did not manage to progress into the points from our low starting positions." Mike gives his opening thoughts on a tricky Saturday at Spa-Francorchamps.

"It hasn’t been the day we were hoping for, but the weather should be a bit more stable tomorrow – so we'll push hard and see what we can do." Lance looks ahead to Sunday with drier weather and a top-10 start on the horizon.

"But we weren't in the points anyway – and with just 11 racing laps, it was always going to be difficult to score today. Still, these things are better happening today than tomorrow. We turn the page." Fernando also turns his attention to Sunday's Grand Prix after a short Sprint.

"Fernando unfortunately dropped out of the Sprint, but the car did not sustain damage. So, we move on from a challenging day where we did not optimise things. We can hopefully convert our top-10 starting positions for the Grand Prix into points tomorrow." Mike says the drivers and team are eager to put Saturday's events behind us and focus on extending our points-scoring run.


#14 | Fernando Alonso | Free Practice & Qualifying


#18 | Lance Stroll | Free Practice & Qualifying

No time

"Qualifying was stressful. Every lap was a new game – you had to adapt all the time to the changing levels of grip. You had to trust the car – we were taking corners faster and faster each lap, so it was a little bit of a guessing game." Fernando says the rapidly emerging dry line and improving weather meant the grip levels were also improving on a lap-by-lap basis in Qualifying.

"Given the tough conditions, I think getting two cars through to Q3 is a good result, but we would have liked a little more today. It always becomes tricky when the track is drying throughout a session; making the correct tyre call becomes more of a challenge and you have to be prepared to make very last-minute decisions. From that perspective, I think we made some good calls and it felt like we were on the right tyre at the right time." Lance adds that the wet-dry conditions meant tough decisions needed to be made when it came to swapping Intermediates to Softs.

"We progressed through Q1 and Q2, which was one of our main targets. Q3 was extremely tight – we ended up a few tenths off seventh place, which was probably the maximum we could have achieved today." Fernando points out the tight margins in Q3, where he ended up ninth and on the fifth row of the grid ahead of Lance.

"The track was improving a lot towards the end of Q3 though, so we probably played it a little safe being the first car across the line. We'll review the data this evening and get ready to go again tomorrow." Lance says that he might have left some time on the table in Q3 but there's plenty more to come with the Sprint Shootout and Sprint on Saturday.

"I think the AMR23 was behaving well today: we're still missing those final couple of tenths to our main competitors – particularly over a flying lap – but hopefully we can recover some of that pace on Sunday." Fernando says that the AMR23 wasn't the most competitive car in Qualifying but there might be gains to be made over a longer stint.

"Getting both cars into the top 10 is a decent outcome from a challenging day. It is never easy when you have a drying track evolving so quickly, but both drivers delivered clean and tidy laps. We have put ourselves in a reasonable position for Sunday's race." Mike concludes by praising the team for their execution on such a challenging day, as Lance and Fernando also delivered on a very tricky surface. There are points to be scored on Sunday.

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