Toto Wolff’s glass, assuming it wasn’t actually a paper cup, wasn’t close to overflowing. Sure, Mercedes had taken all 10 pole positions and all but two wins heading into the Belgian Grand Prix last weekend, but the scoreboard doesn’t lie. And the Mercedes executive director was wary. “We enter the second half of the season with a stronger points total than at this stage last year, and yet our margin to the competition is actually smaller,” he said, perhaps mindful of the championship-winning pedigree of the only man who can stop Mercedes winning both titles, Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.
Vettel capitalised on a brilliant start in Hungary and a tardy getaway by both Mercedes drivers to win at the Hungaroring, but normal service was resumed at Spa last weekend after F1’s seemingly interminable mid-season break finally ended. There were plenty of sideshows coming into the race – lamenting that it was a year ago that Daniel Ricciardo last won an F1 race, guessing how many penalties Pastor Maldonado could get in one weekend, wondering how Kimi Raikkonen continues to stay employed by Ferrari – but in the wash-up, the sport’s dominant force flexed their muscles again.
Catch our review of the Belgian Grand Prix on Episode 115 of ‘The Inside Line’ this week in any of these places.