Posted by Carrot on August 29, 2010 | No Comments
With three out of the five championship contenders failing to score at this race, Lewis Hamilton came back after mechanical failure in Hungary to take victory and the lead of the championship in Belgium. A battle of attrition emerged at Spa with a mixture of changeable conditions and race incidents claiming the races of Jenson Button, Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso. Amongst the challengers for the ultimate crown only Mark Webber could stay with Hamilton, coming home in second, but losing the lead in the table to the winning Brit in the process.
Barrichello, in his 300th race start, collected Alonso into the Bus Stop chicane to ruin the Spaniard’s race and a later crash ended his abysmal weekend. Button was wiped out in the same location by an out of control Vettel and Vettel’s own race was ruined by the damage, a later puncture suffered during an attempt at a recovery, a drive through penalty and finally being put out on the wrong tyres by his team. Hamilton and Webber surge clear at the top of the table due to this result, Hamilton 31 points clear of third place man Vettel and Webber 28 points above his team mate.
Outside the championship battle, Robert Kubica again outperformed his Renault machinery to take the final podium place after running second for much of the race. Only a lapse of concentration in the final round of pit stops costing the Pole. Felipe Massa drove almost anonymously to fourth position, though he was unable to consistently challenge those ahead during the race. Adrian Sutil capitalised on Force India’s immense straight line speed to take fifth, illustrating the pace of his car by taking the works Mercedes cars in a drag race down to Les Combes.
Both Mercedes managed an excellent recovery drive, from 14th and 21st on the grid to take points in sixth and seventh. They swapped places a couple of times during the race. Nico Rosberg came out ahead with a much cleaner move than the one put on him by Michael Schumacher earlier in the race which cost Rosberg part of his front wing.
Kamui Kobayashi made up nine places during the course of the race to pick up more much needed points for Sauber, it would have been a double points finish if only de la Rosa hadn’t lost the car in the closing stages. Petrov and Liuzzi rounded out the last two points positions to record double points finishes for Renault and Force India after Alguersuari was given a time penalty for cutting the final chicane.
Today’s race represents why Spa is the favourite track of most F1 fans, it mixes up the field and the conditions and lets the drivers sort themselves out through close wheel to wheel racing. I look forward to this race more than any other, even including such great circuits as Suzuka and Montreal. It was great idea to schedule it after the summer break as it always gives excellent racing and is the prefect antidote to the lack of action during the break.
Much will be said in the British press tomorrow about Sebastian Vettel’s ability to overtake, or lack thereof after his collision with Jenson Button. Certainly this is his second major mistake of the year after his DNF in Turkey after hitting Mark Webber. Both time he’s failed to score after his mistake whilst his rivals have gone on to extend their leads. He’s now more than a race victory behind his team mate in terms of points and only has half the wins of Webber. Undoubtedly he’s fast, you only have to look at the pole position stats of this year to see that, but whenever he’s not on a clear track or has an important overtake to do he’s consistently making mistakes. It is these mistakes that are likely to cost him the title this season unless he sorts his head out and fast. Vettel’s own worst enemy is himself, and unless he figures a way out he’ll have a very messy and public self destruction for the last part of this season.
We move next to Monza in two weeks, although the Italian faithful will be expecting a better performance at their home race, the strong straight line advantage provided to McLaren by their advanced F-Duct is likely to be the telling factor. Red Bull will have even more problems with further increased testing to try and stop an alleged flexible floor on the Adrian Newey machine. Ferrari will also have the drama away from the track to deal with as the World Motor Sport Council meets to discuss the referral by the race stewards from the German Grand Prix. Italy’s going to be a interesting race weekend, as well as the last European race of this year.