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Raikkonen holds off Fisichella to win Spa thriller
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Raikkonen holds off Fisichella to win Spa thriller
Posted By: James Allen  |  30 Aug 2009   |  3:17 pm GMT  |  88 comments

Kimi Raikkonen won the Belgian Grand Prix today, for the fourth time in his career, beating pole sitter Giancarlo Fisichella into second place. The pair were never more than 1.1 seconds apart at any stage in a thrilling race, which turned on the restart on lap 5 after a safety car for first lap carnage.
Picture 27

Fisichella led through La Source but Raikkonen was able to pass him on the straight after Eau Rouge using his KERS power boost button to take a lead he would never lose. They both pitted together at each of their stops, but if Fisichella had been able to do one more lap in the second stint he would have been able to leap him. Sadly for him they were fuelled the same.

Fisichella was able to follow the Ferrari at less than a second gap for most of the race without the tyres or the temperature suffering. Despite scoring Force India’s best ever result and a lucrative one which takes them into 9th place in the constuctors’ championship ahead of Toro Rosso, he felt that he had the faster car and Raikkonen agreed.

“He was faster,” admitted Raikkonen. “We made a mistake to put the hard tyres at the first stop. He was able to push harder we kept him behind in the pit stops so it was hard for him to get past. I used the KERS to pass him at the restart and it was easy.”

“I could have won because I was quicker than him, ” said Fisichella. “But anyway second is a really good result, the car was really good, I was really impressed with the pace and I hope it stays like that.”

Sebastian Vettel finished third after starting in 8th position. He fought hard to pass cars through the pit stops and tracked down Robert Kubica before jumping him at the second stops for his podium place.

The start of the race saw a pile up which was triggered by Raikkonen going off track and rejoining into the path of Jarno Trulli. Grosjean rammed Button, while Hamilton and Algusuari collided too.

Button scored no points for the first time this season, but the damage to his championship points lead was minimal, as Barrichello took only two points off him to move to 16 behind, while Vettel narrowed his deficit from 25 to 19 points.

Before the race RAI TV said that Fisichella was going to be appointed the second driver for Ferrari at Monza and the rumour has gained strength all weekend as Fisichella’s results improved. Asked what he thought about the possibility of being team mates with Fisichella at Monza, Raikkonen said, ” It doesn’t matter who’s in the second car, it’s not my decision.”

Pos Driver Team Time
1. Raikkonen Ferrari (B) 1h23:50.995
2. Fisichella Force India-Mercedes (B) + 0.939
3. Vettel Red Bull-Renault (B) + 3.875
4. Kubica BMW Sauber (B) + 9.966
5. Heidfeld BMW Sauber (B) + 11.276
6. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes (B) + 32.763
7. Barrichello Brawn-Mercedes (B) + 35.461
8. Rosberg Williams-Toyota (B) + 36.208
9. Webber Red Bull-Renault (B) + 36.959
10. Glock Toyota (B) + 41.490
11. Sutil Force India-Mercedes (B) + 42.636
12. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) + 46.106
13. Nakajima Williams-Toyota (B) + 54.241
14. Badoer Ferrari (B) + 1:38.177

Fastest lap: Vettel, 1:47.263

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88 Comments
  1. Red Kimi says:

    Way to go Kimi…. Way to win in a car that has no right to be up there…. Since Ferrari stopped deveeloping the F60 Kimi has a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place

  2. Rudy Pyatt says:

    Full credit to Kimi, and to Fisi. Overall, an excellent race; as Nigel Roebuck once said, you tend to get that at real race tracks.

    Now if they could just figure some way to bring back the old 9 mile lap so that us youngsters can see the run through Masta and Burneville by means other than watching the film, “Grand Prix”…

  3. Paige Michael-Shetley says:

    Glad to see Raikkonen isn’t changing at all.

  4. Grabyrdy says:

    Dontcha love Kimi ? “It doesn’t matter who’s in the second car”. And he really doesn’t. Which is why it would be so wonderful to see him next to Lewis at McL next year. I saw what you said, James, when I asked about this before, but according to the Beeb the rumour is still alive and kicking this weekend. Fingers crossed !

    And bravo Fisi. Fantastic race.

  5. Grabyrdy says:

    “doesn’t mind” that is (oops)

  6. omar kamal says:

    Very bad luck Alonso!!!
    But in the safety car period and after the touch between him and Sutil, his left front tyre looked abnormal. Have any of you noticed that?

  7. Carl M says:

    Go Kimi, great win. 3 podiums and a win this season with more to come. Even more reason why Ferrari should keep him for 2010. If Alonso has already signed then ferrari would be best to put the contract back until 2011.

    1. Marc says:

      I think the following will happen. Massa will not return until 2011, Ferrari will ask him to take his time to recover. His eyesight is still off and some sources say it will take a year to a year and a half to recover. Alonso will race with Kimi next season after which Ferrari will not extend Kimi’s contract and Massa will jump in. Kimi will then move to either Brawn or McLaren.. or maybe even retire depending on next years results.

      1. Carl M says:

        Thanks for that. This is what I hope will happen, as long as Kimi has a year left at ferrari then no problem.

  8. Peter says:

    KIMI IS THE KING OF SPA.

  9. Ben says:

    Great round up again James. I was just wondering if you’d heard anything about this story:

    http://forums.autosport.com/index.php?showtopic=114180

    4th paragraph:

    http://www.grandprix.com/ft/ft21745.html

    Take it with a pinch of salt?

  10. Tomek says:

    Shouldn’t something be done with Kimi’s drive during start of the race? He gained some positions by driving on wayside, I believe.

    1. Grabyrdy says:

      If you mean coming out of La Source, it seems that’s allowed, and nearly always necessary on lap one.

    2. " for sure " says:

      Not only did he gain places, it looked as if it might have been pre planned, and when he rejoined, that triggered the subsequent accident.

    3. Cliff says:

      Drivers have taken Kim’s line for years, it helps them to avoid the bottleneck at turn 1, not to mention the fact that they can gain positions in the run up to and coming out of Eau Rouge. Jenson Button also took a similar line, he was up to 10th prior to being taken out. A similar situation occurs at Hockenhiem’s turn 2. Smart thinking by Kimi i’d say.

    4. Shayne says:

      I agree I was sitting there wondering when the stewards were going to do something about it. It’s not like he was avoiding an accident and he certainly gained a lot of positions. Next year if I was driving I’d keep my right foot planted and just do the same move as Kimi did!

      1. Tomek says:

        Well, similar question to mine was asked by someone else below (post nr 24).
        JA responded to that by writing: I mentioned that to him in the TV interview room before we went live and he rolled his eyes and grinned!

        I have just watched the start on youtube and retain my opinion that what Kimi did wasn’t completely fair. I am of course not a big f1 expert but know already that a dose of cunningness in f1 is desired. But here, if you look at the start, in my opinion risk of collision that would have led Kimi to making his decision to run on wayside just wasn’t there. Indeed, there was a fight between Trulli and Heidfeld but they didn’t take as much room as it would have been eventually justfied for Kimi to go off the track.
        Personally, I have an impression that Kimi had too much speed when reaching La Source and just decided not to brake heavier and lose positions, but instead go on wayside.

      2. Patrickl says:

        Heidfeld ended up on the outer curbstone. Where was Raikkonen going to go then? Off track was the only place where he could go.

        Raikkonen was behind Kubica ahead of La Source and he was behind Kubica when he got back onto the track. Heidfeld took himself and Trulli out.

        I’m surprised people only talk about Raikkonen’s excursion. Look at the replay and see how Barrichello simply doesn’t brake and speeds past the whole line of cars going into Les Combes. He passes 5 or 6 cars and comes out way in front of Buemi whom he was directly behind just before the corner.

    5. Marc says:

      Not sure how much he gained. The area is dirty, just like Coulthard said. Otherwise they would use that line on every lap and also unlike cutting a chicane he actually had to travel a longer distance to get back on the track. He went 4th into that corner and would probably have ended up 2nd on top of the hill in any case. Correct decision as it wasn’t an obvious gain.

      1. Tomek says:

        Still, I think it is not the same if you go even a little bit longer in terms of distance, but with no one interrupting you. But it doesn’t matter now anyway.
        And of course you have a point in terms of reaction. Considering the situation as it was shown, it would be almost impossible to prove him undoubtedly particular intentions during his actions at the beginning of the race. That’s exactly why we are debating on it while stewards obviously aren’t.

      2. Patrickl says:

        Indeed, look at Button, who follows the same path as Raikkonen. Button in fact loses several places from taking that route.

  11. cars fan says:

    It was great to see some mixed results in this race and congratulations to Raikkonen. It would have been fantastic if Fisichella had won and he clearly had a faster car.

    Bad luck for Red Bull’s Webber with the drive through penalty. Nice drive by Vettel to get on the Podium.

  12. George says:

    Great drives from Vettel and Rubens to grab some points, a pity Sutil couldn’t stick to the back of Rubens to make it a double points finish.

    I dont think Fisi will drive for Ferrari at Monza, given today’s form his team could easily score points there, I think he’d be better off working on a contract for next year (assuming he doesn’t have one already).

    The championship is really coming towards Button now, I think he has a reasonable chance of some good points at Monza and Singapore, if he gets a podium at both then it’s probably done and dusted.

  13. Patrickl says:

    I guess it’s nitpicking but they were more than 1.1s apart during the first stint.

    It was Kubica who rammed into the back of Raikkonen. Not Trulli.

    I can’t see how you could claim that this triggered the accident of Button. That incident was way behind Raikkonen and Kubica.

    Button simply got himself collected in a first corner pile up (first corner after the first big straight that is)

    BTW How did Barrichello fly past all those cars in Les Combes over the escapeway without receiving a penalty?

  14. Mike K says:

    I was really happy to see Kimi win one of the best races I have seen recently. Fisi did great job and could have won the race – I’ve been reading a few other sites and they seem to be overlooking the fact that kimi won and that fisi was much more the victor!I think it was an amazing achievement for Force India, but it cannot be overlooked at the fact that Raikkonen soaked up a lot of pressure and kept a much faster car at bay – there’s a lot of skill in that. Fisi seemed annoyed at the fact that the Ferrari had KERS, as did some of the commentators on BBC, and insinuated that the win was purely down to KERs.I think this is unfair – KERS cars have to lug around a larger weight around the track, and to keep that speed and hold the Force Indy at bay was a sheer Spa masterclass in my eyes. Forza Kimi…… i hope he stays around.

    ps. james, what was your reaction when Sebastian said ‘s**t’ in the press conference??!!!!

    1. VV says:

      KERS cars weigh the same as non-KERS cars (605kg). The difference is that if you don’t have KERS, you have more ballast to play with.

    2. Peter says:

      Fully agree regarding KERS comments, Kimi had to carry around the system the whole track not just in the straights. That is why the car is slow generally.

  15. Stu says:

    Ferrari were lucky, without KERS I honestly believe Force India would have wrapped up that race.

    Always great to see Spa, perhaps one year I’ll go!

    1. James Allen says:

      Yes, the engineers say that the Force India car was about 3/10ths faster today

  16. Luke Dalton says:

    Brilliant result for Fisi! just remember only a few races ago he was regarded as over the hill and in his last few races. I think he should stay with Force India as it’ll guarantee him a ride for next year, if he gets the ferrari drive he’ll lose out for next year and career over.

  17. john says:

    Raikkonen’s start was irregular.He passed 3 cars when he was out of track by going straight instead of doing a closer bend.He didn’t give back the position and he should be penalised

    1. James Allen says:

      He said he was pushed out. No-one challenged him, so he got away with it

      1. kenneth mulvaney says:

        Kimis overtaking wile off the circuit was disgraceful. – He made a similar move at silverstone but not as blatant.

        Were the Stewards asleep ??

        Does anyone remember the discussions on the
        boundary of the track (white lines) after this very race last year?
        –just a reminder – Hamilton passed Raikkonen on the left, while running over the bus-stop chicane. he then let him repass, crossed behind him down the straight and passed him on the left. — stewards deemed that he gained a speed advantage by running off the track.

        Yesterday Raikkonen was 4th maybe 5th at the apex of the first corner, ran very wide (which i dont doubt was his plan all along), rejoined in 3rd place for the run up to eau rouge and was second by the time he reached the next braking area.

        Extract from 2009 FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations and Appendix L, Chapter 4, Article 2 (c/g)
        http://argent.fia.com/web/fia-public.nsf/2A9404B6E4C8FE4EC12575FA00440479/$FILE/Annexe%20L_2009_09.07.20.pdf
        “Drivers must use the track at all times. For the avoidance of doubt:
        - the white lines defining the track edges are considered to be part of the track but the kerbs are not, and ;
        - a driver will be judged to have left the track if no part of the car
        remains in contact with the track.
        Should a car leave the track for any reason, and without prejudice to 2(d) below, the driver may rejoin. However, this may
        only be done when it is safe to do so and without gaining any advantage.”

        Gaining an unfair advantage aside, Raikkonen did not deserve to be on the podium yesterday.

        As for talk of Raikkonen being “master of SPA”, … I remember him darting into a wall there last year – and looking rather foolish.. not an unusual sight…

      2. Red Kimi says:

        take a chill pill… it happens yearly here as the first turn is too tight… 3 or 4 cars did that yesterday. I listened to Coulthard after the race and he said they get no advantage out there.. it is dusty and a longer route

      3. Rocky says:

        If going *away* from the track was the fastest route, then all drivers will do it *every* lap, not just the starting lap.

        By the way, the above document specifies *cutting* the coner, which obviously Kimi did not cut, rather was took an elongated one.

        Look we can discuss all the technicalities and there would still be no grounds for penalty. Kimi drove a brialliant race, in a dog of a car.

    2. Peter says:

      It happens every year on this track.

  18. Fausto Cunha says:

    Great Race from Kimi coming from 6st on the grid to win the race. Very happy for him.

    Great pace from Fisico that Force India might win a race if they are lucky at some track.

    It´s the strangest championship i ever seen, teams very strong at some places and very bad at others , very difficult to understand and very funny to watch.

    Jenson not driving well but at least is oponents are not taking the majority of the points, so his lead still good.

    Can´t wait for Monza.

  19. Matthew says:

    OT. Could Singaporegate seal Renault’s exit from F1?

  20. Werewolf says:

    An excellent race on a great circuit. Raikkonen used his legendary coolness to perfection, Fisichella was outstanding and the supporting cast kept interest in remaining places.

    Was I the only one thinking that if Fisichella was to actually do it, Toyota would be the only extant F1 team without a win?

    “Asked what he thought about the possibility of being team mates with Fisichella at Monza, Raikkonen said, ” It doesn’t matter who’s in the second car, it’s not my decision.” ”

    That must be the most predictable quote of the weekend!

  21. Ed says:

    James,

    When Kimi crossed the line his arms went into the air in the same way they did when he became champion in Brazil… Do you really think Ferrari will dump him? You said he would need to raise his game after Felipe’s accident, and in my opinion, that is exactly what he has done.

    Also, has anyone noticed that it is since Jens dropped his all yellow helmet that his results dropped. Coincidence?

  22. Nick Thornton says:

    What a race! best this season! brilliant for Fisi but i am getting increasingly frustrated with kimi. Barely a smile when he wins and showing little passion. the sooner he goes, the better…

    1. Peter says:

      It is not a comedy I don’t think we shold judge a racing driver based on how much he smiles. That is his personality he was born like that, as everyone has its own personality. You can like it or not.

  23. Raja says:

    Is it just me or did Jenson’s downturn in form coincide with his change of helmet design. I’ve read about drivers being superstitious and not wanting to change anything on their helmets, but I’ve always dismissed it as being silly.

    If I was Jenson, though, I would be seriously thinking about appeasing the Gods of fortune and putting that day glow helmet back on!!

    6 different winners in 6 races. What a result. Lets hope Fisi makes it into a Ferrari and wins at Monza to make it 7!

    1. James Allen says:

      Great point, Raja, I’ve often felt that helmet design changes bring a change of luck, Someone should do a study! Especially when they introduce chrome, I reckon

      1. Jon says:

        The classic being Michael Schumacher at Suzuka ’98. One of the unluckiest races going.

  24. Pawel says:

    Kimi went wide off the track in the first turn and gained some positions. I think he should have been penalised for that.

    1. James Allen says:

      I mentioned that to him in the TV interview room before we went live and he rolled his eyes and grinned!

      1. Peter says:

        James I think you know that that happens every year, it is part of the race track, no one has questioned that before. Now it seems we are looking for reasons criticising Kimi all the time: eating ice creams, not smiling, usign KERS etc. Two other cars did the same. How about Barichello cutting a corner later in the race? etc

      2. Adam says:

        James, how is the track defined? How does this differ from cutting chicanes? Or is Raikkonen immune from responsibility because he drives for FIArrari?

      3. Pawel says:

        Exactly, going wide without pushing brake-pedal it was like cutting chicane. I wonder whether Kimi pressed KERS button being still off the track…

  25. Amritraj says:

    Now why would Ferrari want to replace Raikkonen? Getting a victory in an underdeveloped car is something few drivers can deliver. And that too without luck swinging the balance in their favour. Raikkonen won Spa fair and sqaure. What a drive! He was on fire in that first lap. And the way he passed Fisi; viewer’s delight!

    James ,thanks for the excellent coverage through out the weekend as usual.

    I would be really interested to know your opinion on:

    1. What would Alonso’s final position have been without the problem? Renault claim that he could have been on the podium. Looking at the lap times of the top 3 and Kubica, I doubt that. However, wanted to check it with you.

    2. Post-race TV shots revealed a sort of cold vibe between Kimi and Stephano. It would be a shame if Raikkonen is shown the door. I would much rather Massa was asked to leave. However, with Ferrari and Alonso, giving nothing away, how would you rate Alonso’s chances of landing a drive at Ferrari next year. Also, what could be the other likely destinations for Alonso, in case he has decided to let go the Renault seat. And would you agree that Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel have superseded Alonso and Raikkonen as the top 2 drivers in the sport ?

    Cheers

    1. James Allen says:

      To answer the first one first, I’d have to double check the data but I had the impression he was on target to fight for a podium. As for pt 2, I think Kimi said a few things afterwards in the press conference about Ferrari making its mind up what it wants to do. There have been discussions about payoffs and so on but this is the first time he’s shown signs of feeling bad about it.

  26. LeighJW says:

    I love F1. What a result.

    I reckon there will be a new Force to be reckoned with in the coming races!

  27. jw1980 says:

    James,

    a fantastic race I agree. With Australa the best one so far this season. However, Raikkonen won the race in circumstances not too dissimilar to Hamilton’s last year by leaving the track at La Source on lap 1! I had a sneaky feeling this was going to happen (just like last year). Raikkonen had a huge advantage by doing this. We have seen similar incidents this year when drivers have had to give way to following cars because of infringements like that. Why did Raikkonen get away with it?
    Of course this would be a non debate if it was not for the outrageous decision made by the stewards last year. Such inconsistencies.
    And of course this problem is now going to be brought back in to sharp focus over claims of what happened at last year’s Singapore GP. Massa could claim that he was robbed of race victory there due to the introduction of the safety car (which also affected his world championship chances). Will Ferrari be so keen to take Alonso on now? If anything untoward happened Alonso must have been aware of it.
    This story is going to be massive.

    1. Werewolf says:

      It’s the kind of massive we can all do without.

      First Ron Dennis, now Flavio Briatore, it’s got to be John Howett next. Di Montezemolo is probably immune because Bernie needs Ferrari and Max needs Bernie.

  28. silverstoned says:

    “The start of the race saw a pile up which was triggered by Raikkonen going off track.”
    Poetic justice you might say: last year Hamilton’s little trip ‘off track’ triggered Kimi’s crash out.

  29. sandie hickey says:

    Amazing weekend performance for Fissi take KERS away from Kimi and he never would have won that race.

    1. Grabyrdy says:

      But if Ferrari didn’t have Kers they’d be much lighter, so it’s kif-kif.

      Kers gives more chances for passing, but it was barmy to make it optional, because it falsifies the race too much for my taste. Now it’s gone. Another ham-fisted moment for Max’s ledger.

    2. Rigua Dev says:

      Why are people forgetting that if it wasn’t for the KERS, Ferrari would’ve been up in front anyway! (They would not have wasted so much time on it in the dev race, car weight distribution would’ve been better, etc). The point is he won the race with a brilliant drive in a car atleast a few tenths slower than the other guys on the podium! Thats brilliant!

    3. Peter says:

      Take KERS away and the cars is much better balanced all year and through fast corners in SPA. This is silly you could say take away Mercedes engine and FISI he never would have been near the front. KERS is not a gift, has lot of disadvantages.

    4. Webber Fan says:

      I agree, Fissi was the quickest driver out there, however I felt he could have commenced the restart better knowing that kimi was right behind him with the Kers power boosted Ferrari.

  30. Paul Leeson says:

    “The start of the race saw a pile up which was triggered by Raikkonen going off track and rejoining into the path of Jarno Trulli.”

    The pile up was triggered miles back, by Grosjean tagging Button.

    1. Engin says:

      I am glad to see that this obvious/gross mistake in the article has been finally brought up!

  31. Andy says:

    Brilliant race and brilliant drives by Kimi and Fisi!

    Many people have said that without KERS in Kimi’s Ferrari, Fisi would’ve won the race. Although that may seem to be so on the first glance, one must remember that KERS does also compromise the car in many ways. Should Ferrari not have designed their car around KERS, it might’ve been much faster and perhaps Kimi would’ve won the race with a much greater margin. You can’t just consider taking KERS away while leaving the rest of the car as it is. It’s the whole package that counts and in this race, Ferrari’s package prevailed.

  32. Fausto Cunha says:

    Everybody saying Kimi was off track at La Source and gained 3 positions but Jenson at the start was also off track at La Source and lost 3 positions.
    Also David Coulthard said that on his opinion there was no gain in going off track at La Source because it´s dirty for the tires and gives no advantage.

    I think if it was illegal the others teams would complaint about it.

  33. zenmeister says:

    When Kimi rejoined the track at Les Combes on the first lap it was in front of Robert Kubica, not Jarno Trulli, who had already been dropped.

  34. Cabby says:

    Well, Kimi is fast, but he does not seem to be well suited to be a Ferrari team member, they probably expect more emotion, more desire to be part of the family, a very important theme in Italy (This might be a bit a generalisation ,but I feel I am not that much of the mark).
    Surely Massa is and e.g. Alonso would a better fit.
    Vettel, by the way, has shown that he can make himself at home in an Italian team, having spend a lot of time in Italy, his first words of jubilations at his first victory were in Italian. I have a feeling that Red Bull are naturally less “Italian” than TR, and that he actually had to adjust quite a bit to his new team.

    1. Cabby says:

      …and might at some point turn up in a red car

  35. Ahmad Albashrawi says:

    I am not sure if Kimi should have been penalized for the first corner indecent. What he did might be illegal according to the rules, but as a racer what he did was smart and I don’t see any other technique he could used except braking hard to avoid contact with Rubens. I think that the rules should allow that and be consistent.

    Anyway, I came across this website that shows the usage of engines for every driver and the numbers of units left that I thought would be of interest for some.

    http://www.pitlanefanatic.com/engine.php

    and here are the starts of gearboxes:

    http://www.pitlanefanatic.com/gearbox.php

  36. JohnBt says:

    1. Kimi drove very well, so did Fisi. The BEST RACE for this season so far. Watched it again immediately after post-race interviews, and it felt short, means it wasn’t boring. Kimi DESERVES the win.

    2. Painful to see another Alonso hiccup. Guess running across Sutil’s wing caused the damaged. It’s no more than an incident. But feel sorry for Alonso…deja vu of Valencia. Podium would have been great, but to be realistic, 4th or 5th would have been fulfilling.

    3. Jense must use his original YELLOW helmet. His current helmet has this dark patch with 3 scratches flowing down, not a good symbol as it feels like torn and broken. It’s so strange like Schumacher wearing torn jeans when he’s so rich. WEIRD.

    1. Charlie B says:

      It’s the drink logo, monster? I forgot the name if it isn’t that. So it’s a sponser.

  37. ik says:

    hey pawel/jw1980… Whenever a driver drives on a run-off area, he travels more distance thn running actually on the race track..Thats why no one gets punished for using tht space.. And as far as gaining positions is concerned theres a lot of difference in gaining places by cutting the chicane and going on run-off area.. Thats why kimi was not penalized. Am i right JAMES???

  38. A.Zeb says:

    I was at this race and saw kimi take the lead. Awesome power from the Ferarri.

    Kimi is great at Spa.

    Bravo Fisi!! I willed you to take Kimi and win, but we could see it was almost impossible to do that. Bravo!

  39. paul lup says:

    This year Raikkonen’s gain was way bigger than hamilton’s last year. The stewards have to be constant in their decisions.

    1. David says:

      If I remembered correctly, Hamilton also used a piece of the same run off area to Eau Rouge when he was challenged by Alonso in 2007.

  40. Jason Greer says:

    “take KERS away from Kimi and he never would have won that race”.

    This is a purely hypothetical comment. Had Ferrari not used KERS then the car design would have been different and he might have won by 30 seconds or he might have finished in 13th- who knows?

    Or you could say: If Fisi had KERS then he might have won.

  41. Scotsman101 says:

    Great win for Kimi at Spa!

    I have a question for you James:

    Why would Ferrari pay-off Raikkonen instead of Massa? I think it’s fair to say, last year excluded, that Kimi has proved himself to be a better overall driver than Felipe.

    Do you think that it’s just down to the better integration with the team as well as possibly bad publicity if they dropped him just after a hefty accident?

    Thanks

  42. ade says:

    James – I don’t know whether you get to see the BBC’s post-race Red Button Forum at any point, but I found Martin Whitmarsh’s effusive praise of Kimi quite interesting when he appeared on it yesterday.
    .
    He didn’t congratulate Force India or Fisi on a great drive (considering they’re using the same engine) but was unstinting in his praise of Kimi’s driving over the last few Grands Prix. He also stated – when pressed on Heikki’s future – that it was always McLaren’s philosophy to have the two best drivers in their cars (something they plainly haven’t got this year).
    .
    Is he courting Kimi, or am I reading too much into things?

    *Dons Tinfoil Hat

    1. ade says:

      Looks like Ted Kravitz has been reading your comments, James. He’s produced a column on the BBC website basically paraphrasing this comment I made earlier!

  43. Ross Dixon says:

    James is there something to be said about having 2 drivers in your cars who have similar driving characteristics. I thought about this when Alonso was with Mclaren. Alonso has always preferred an understeery car where as it is well known that Hamilton likes the rear of the car to hang loose. Surely if Kimi (another who likes to get the nose in early)and Lewis were driving the same car it would make designing and setting up a car easier????

  44. Nik James says:

    So for those of you either returning from Spa or those of you who have been there on previous years, where would you say is the best place to watch the race and why?

  45. Eric says:

    Fantastic race! Yet more proof F1 needs to stay at classic racing spectacle tracks like Spa, rather than artificial scenery ‘spectacle’ tracks like Valencia.

    Fantastic drive from Kimi and Fisi. Currently, Kimi is driving better than Alonso imo, and Ferrari would be wise to keep him for next year. However, as EJ said on the BBC, there is a valid reason for not keeping a driver who only apparently drives well when his seat is under pressure.

    I’d also like to say that people should not be complaining about KERS ruining the racing. It’s fantastic. F1 is as much about technology as the racing, and for Ferrari and McLaren to pioneer KERS and make it competitive in F1 is a very strong technical achievement.

    Moreover, KERS would be total domination if the FIA deregulated it and allowed any horse power and unlimited use of the stored energy. At the moment, KERS is arbitrarily limited by the technical regulations of 80hp, and ~6 seconds of boost. KERS harvests more energy than that per lap, and probably regenerates it all in one braking zone, as can be seen from the fact that KERS is magically recharged as soon as cars pass the start finish line. The Technical Working Group were a tad too conservative when determining the KERS regulations. Slightly more power for a longer time would see every team running KERS as the trade-off would be clear cut, and not marginal as it was at the start of the season.

    Having said that, unlimited KERS would yield insane top speeds on a track like Monza, if every car used all the energy harvested from the previous chicane on every straight. It would be unsafe.

  46. Boltonjon says:

    top race – best of the season in my humble opinion! however, what on earth was going on with the BBC coverage – was it just me or what it really surreal? With Martin chasing Jenson down the road and then we had the really trippy tyre graphics – i was sure someone had dropped some acid in my pint……

  47. Fausto Cunha says:

    Just a Question for James:

    From what we´ve seen on the race in Spa the Ferrari engine consumes a lot more fuel than the mercedes. I think this will be a big problem for Ferrari next year with the no refuelling .

    Will Ferrari have to put much more fuel a board for complete a race distance? They will need a much bigger tank than for exemple Mclaren?

    James, How do you see it for next year?

  48. Ral says:

    Kimi was sharing 3d with Heidfeld going into La Source at worst, they were side by side with Kubica also coming up from behind them diving in on the inside of Trulli in second. Heidfeld was pushing Kimi to the outside and Kubica did the same to Trulli. With Trulli apparently getting really bad traction out of La Source (as evidenced by the fact that Kubica overtook him on the inside even though he got to the corner later), the only place for Kimi to go was off the track. That, or stamp on the brakes and lose all momentum and risk getting rear-ended by Vettel or any one of the other 12 cars steaming up to the hairpin. On top of that, using that area has always (very consistently I might add) been allowed, as it very often is the only option to avoid problems. It really is a non-issue, except to those looking for excuses why Kimi should not have been allowed to win the race.

    I also agree with those who have said that had the Ferrari not had Kers, it would have been a different car altogether and there is no way of knowing how fast or slow it would have been. As was very clearly shown by BMW when they dropped their Kers, not only does it compromise the weight balancing options, but also the way the body can be sculpted. So even though on the day Fisichella had the faster car over a whole lap, he didn’t manage to overtake the slower one, as each had their relatively good and bad sections. A brilliant drive by both, but the winner surely did a better job in the end, also considering their respective starting grid positions.

  49. Charlie B says:

    “The start of the race saw a pile up which was triggered by Raikkonen going off track and rejoining into the path of Jarno Trulli. Grosjean rammed Button, while Hamilton and Algusuari collided too.”

    It’s been said before but I think that this claim is false. Raikkonen and Kubica were at the next corner when the other cars were braking for les combes. The only person he had to make move significantly was Kubica and Trull had to move as well. The other accident was a racing incident as Grosjean tried to go down the insideof Button but it didn’t work. And Lewis was caught out for being too careful as Jamie hit him.

    Great race.

  50. Alain says:

    Minardi said Raikkonen decided before the start to go off track and reach Eau Rouge with higher speed and thanks to this he reached Fisichella.He said a driver can go off track only if there is an incident and clearly Raikkonen could have stayed on track if he wanted.Fisichella and Force India deserved to win this race

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