Hot fun in Summertime
Budapest 2014
Hungarian Grand Prix
Hamilton wins action packed Belgian Grand Prix
News
Hamilton wins action packed Belgian Grand Prix
Posted By: James Allen  |  29 Aug 2010   |  2:32 pm GMT  |  260 comments

Lewis Hamilton won the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa Francorchamps, in a lights to flag victory, having started second on the grid. It was Hamilton’s third win of the season and the 14th of his F1 career. He retook the championship lead.

Mark Webber was second and Robert Kubica third. Felipe Massa and Adrian Sutil both had strong days in difficult conditions finishing fourth and fifth.

Hamilton survived a major scare on lap 35, when his team insisted he stay out on slicks as the rain began to fall more heavily. It was reminiscent of China in 2007 when he slid off into the gravel trap.


The win was based on several factors; McLaren’s superior grip on a damp track on slick tyres, his impressive final lap in qualifying where he improved despite rain coming down and a better start than pole sitter Mark Webber.

It was a bad day for three title contenders; Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button. Vettel and Button collided, putting Button out of the race and Vettel was given a drive through penalty as a result. He later got a puncture. Alonso was involved in an early collision, then made a bad tyre call and finally crashed out of the race. He is now a long way behind in the points table.

The race started in dry conditions, although there had been a brief rain shower an hour before the start and another short burst on the startline only as the cars formed up. It was enough to make the getaway slippery and this caught Webber out and gave Hamilton the advantage.

Prior to this race Red Bull had only won three of the races they started from pole position out of 11 races and Webber bogged down at the start, allowing Hamilton to take the lead, ahead of Kubica and Button. Webber fell to seventh place. At the end of the first lap, rain was falling on the Bus Stop chicane area and the cars all lost control, including the five leading cars. Button got ahead of Kubica.

Rubens Barrichello’s 300th Grand Prix start ended after one lap, as he went off and tangled with Fernando Alonso. “I wasn’t expecting it to be fully wet and on the hard tyres I went straight into Alonso. I’m really sorry,” said Barrichello.

The Ferrari driver dived straight into the pits for intermediate tyres and when the safety car came out this looked like it might have been an inspired call, but the leaders all stayed out on the slicks and the rain abated. Alonso had to pit again on lap 5 for slick tyres. He had said that the one who gambles will win, but this one didn’t pay off.

At the restart, Button challenged Hamilton, while Vettel took advantage of a mistake by Kubica to steal third place. But he sustained some front wing damage in the process.

Starting from 21st place on the grid after his penalty, Michael Schumacher was up to P12 in the early laps, only two places behind Nico Rosberg. Vitaly Petrov also got a great start from the back of the grid to lie 11th in the early stages.

As the race settled down, Hamilton was using the sure-footedness of the McLaren on a damp track to pull away from Button and Vettel. Alonso scythed through the field, up to 14th by lap 10.

Petrov made a bold pass on Rosberg on lap 12 and Schumacher followed him through, knocking a piece of Rosberg’s front wing off in the process!

As Button struggled to compensate for the damaged front wing, Vettel drew close and made several attacks and a queue formed behind him with Kubica, Webber and Massa in it. Teams were being told that more rain was due, so tried to prolong tyre stops in order to try to catch the rain. But the soft tyres were fading fast on the front runners.

On lap 17 Vettel made a mistake, losing control of his car under braking for the Bus Stop chicane, slewing right into Button’s car piercing the radiator with his nose. Button was out on the spot, while Vettel pitted for a new set of hard tyres and a new nose cone. He was handed a drive through penalty for causing an avoidable accident.

“I had damage on the wing, which gave me massive understeer,” said Button. “I thought I was doing a good job of keeping my position. I don’t know what Sebastian was doing. It’s a massive blow for my championship. He didn’t do it on purpose, but it puts me on the back foot now. I’m pretty down.”

With six races to go and Hamilton in the ascendent, he may have realised that the time for the team to back Hamilton for the championship was closing in.

This all put Kubica up to second place, Weber third, Massa fourth and Sutil 5th. Schumacher was sixth and Alonso up to ninth.

Sutil was the first of the leaders to pit on lap 22 for slick tyres, followed by Webber. Kubica responded a lap later and was able to rejoin ahead of the Red Bull driver.

Hamilton pitted from the lead on lap 25 and rejoined in the lead. Meanwhile on lap 27, Vettel passed Liuzzi at the chicane and sustained a puncture in the process.

On lap 34 the rain started to fall, but the leaders were reluctant to pit until it was clearly wet enough for intermediates. Hamilton went off the road deep into the gravel kissed the tyre barrier but managed to rejoin. Most of the runners pitted, but the top three delayed it until lap 35. Renault had a slow stop and this allowed Webber to pass him in the pits. Kubica missed his marks and the mechanics had to reposition.

Alonso crashed out as the rain fell more heavily, losing grip on the painted kerbs and slamming into the barriers. This brought out a second safety car. There was a final three lap dash to the flag, in which Rosberg paid back Schumacher for his earlier move by putting him on the grass. Schumacher finished seventh, having started 21st on the grid.

Trulli spun off and was extremely lucky not to be skewered by a host of cars around him.

BELGIAN GRAND PRIX, Spa Francorchamps, 44 laps
1. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1h29m04.268s
2. Webber Red Bull-Renault +1.571
3. Kubica Renault +3.493
4. Massa Ferrari +8.264
5. Sutil Force India-Mercedes +9.094
6. Rosberg Mercedes +12.359
7. Schumacher Mercedes +15.548
8. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari +16.678
9. Petrov Renault +23.851
10. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari +29.457
11. Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes +34.831
12. De la Rosa Sauber-Ferrari +36.019
13. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari +39.895
14. Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth +1 lap
15. Vettel Red Bull-Renault +1 lap
16. Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth +1 lap
17. Di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth +1 lap
18. Glock Virgin-Cosworth +1 lap
19. Trulli Lotus-Cosworth +1 lap
20. Yamamoto HRT-Cosworth +2 laps

Featured News
MORE FROM JA ON F1...
Share This:
Posted by:
Category:
260 Comments
  1. Christine says:

    Vettel can’t overtake can he. He was going out and decided to take a championship rival out with him. A drive through just doesn’t cut it as punishment for effectively ending Jenson’s race and possibly his championship as well as McLarens constructors points. Great race by Lewis though and Robert Kubica for Renault. Now expect to see Red Bull get behind Mark Webber for their championship hopes, he is so not their No.2 driver.

    1. Nick F says:

      It was clumsy, and very bad for his reputation, but he didn’t intentionally take out Jenson after losing control. He lost control and the car veered to the left so he steered to the right to try and correct and the car snapped round and veered into Button. I assure you that he didn’t want to hit him. the driving did majorly suck admittedly.

      It’s a major shame for button. Not fair, but that’s racing. Maybe he will gain some luck in the other races that will make up for it. I hope the championship stays tight to the end.

      1. Mojo66 says:

        Vettel reminds me a lot of Ralf Schumacher during the beginning of his career. I’m not through his complete F1 career yet, but so far I’ve counted 11 incidents of Ralf crashing into another car. The most memorable one being the crash into his teammate Fisicella during only his third F1 race at Argentina 1997. Later he even blamed Fisico for not giving him room to pass.

        Much like Ralf, Vettel had to deal with a lot of pressure when he got a permanent F1 contract with Toro Rosso in 2007, after he replaced Kubica in Indianapolis, scoring a championship point as the youngest driver ever.

        Vettel lost the title last year partly because of his impatient driving style, and he certainly won’t win any title until he calms down a bit.

      2. CH1UNDA says:

        Actually 2010 has been a driver breaker of sorts so maybe we are being over-harsh on Vettel loosing the title because of impatience. Out of the 13 races so far, all championship contenders have finished in only 4 – Bahrain, Canada, Germany and China. In all the remaining, there was at least one championship contender suffering a DNF except only Britain where Alonso finished outside the points.

        The worst DNFs or no points finish (NPF) spot is shared by Alonso and Vettel with 3 NPF races each. Lewis and Button share 2nd spot each having DNFéd in two races. The luckiest driver comes out as Webber with only one DNF in the European Grand Prix and this explains why he is in the running when most did not expect him to be. If Webber’s luck holds out for the next 6 races and Hamilton’s does not, he will take the title. However, what are the chances of that? It could be argued that his share of bad luck is yet to come. The point is that this championship is still very wide open – there is still a lot of races for bad things to happen to a fan’s favorite driver and just going by numbers, these horrible things are more likely to happen than not.

        Of the two leading title contenders, i would say Lewis looks the most vulnerable – his two DNF’s have been mainly no fault of his own and would appear to support the general feeling that the McLaren is not very reliable. Webber’s was the dramatic Red-Bull-gives-you wings accident; the sort that happens only once or so in a life time so basically if he keeps his head the car will deliver him the title.

        It may be that McLaren’s unreliability is because they started on the backfoot and therefore have had to develop at a feverish pace. As the understanding of the key technologies through out the year has improved and tested, one may expect the development cycle to have stabilised and the Woking outfit to have a more predictable car for the last six races. Nonetheless i would argue like Coulthard that this Championship is Red Bull’s to loose. They have had the fastest most stable platform from the start of the year and you would expect they have learnt to keep calm heads after recent blunders.

    2. Richard says:

      I think you’re right that a drive through was not enough. He probably lready sealed his own fate for this race as it’s highly unlikely he would have made it back into the points. That means that the drive through was effectively no penalty at all which leaves him on a par with Jenson who he took out. He should be given a grid penalty in the next race to compensate Jenson who is currently his closest championship rival.

    3. CH1UNDA says:

      Notably all the top three drivers today made mistakes – Webber at the start, Kubica in the pits and Lewis into the gravel. The only one not to suffer from their mistake was Lewis but one has to say the last few years have really matured him for him to have come out of that slip up. If the title race now becomes a Lewis-Webber battle, will as Alonso noted a few weeks ago, the experience of a privious world championship win tip it in favour of Lewis? We shall see.

      No doubt,McLaren engineeering needs to close the gap to RBR before the fly away races – in which case it appears they have the driver combination to walk away with both tiles. I think the normalised front wing on the Red Bull and the improved balance on the McLaren with the blown diffuser also played a significant role in Hamilton’s performance today. I seem to have noticed that during the race, Lewis was just as fast as the Red Bulls through the middle sector even when the track was dry, so have McLaren made some steps closer to RBR afterall?

      It maybe that McLaren have an invention coming soon that will give them that final push to win both titles. Hopefully, their car will be bullet proof for the last six races.

      Interestingly if Alonso had not been gifted the win in Germany, he would only be 18 points ahead of Massa, less that a race win ahead. With the new points system as we have seen, that is not enough to rule out a driver in the championship race so let’s see how the Team Orders hearing goes.

      1. Nick F says:

        Remember Mclaren had a DNF in the previous race. So all sorts of things can happen and they haven’t been bullet proof so far.

    4. C Pitter says:

      Do you think McLaren should get behind Lewis as their no. 1 driver too?

      1. James Allen says:

        Too early yet, these things often sort themselves out anyway

      2. mtb says:

        I remember you suggesting after the 2000 French GP that McLaren should be getting behind DC… ;)

    5. Rick says:

      When asked, Chris Horner from Red Bull said that it’s still too early to back a driver, adding that Vettel is still close to Hamilton and Webber, and that the tide can suddendly turn in other directions, as we’ve seen.
      So, it seems unlikely that Red Bull is going to change policy anytime soon. (Hamilton’s chances of winning it all are increasing…)

      On Vettel’s drive-through, do you think it was fair? It was a huge mistake that took out a rival, but it’s not on the same level of the acts of rule-bending, chicane-cutting and plain rule-breaking that usually call for a penalty.
      It’s really unfortunate for Button, but with penalties like this, don’t you think we’re going to decrease the chance of overtaking? Senna, Mansell, Prost and their rivals had lots of wheel-banging.

      1. James H says:

        Horner is becoming the Gordon Brown of racing – when things are good, he’s the maestro, when things are bad, it’s someone else’s fault.

        For a company with such good PR people…

    6. Pawel says:

      Yeah, Webber and Hamilton seem to be only title contenders from now on. Hamilton had flawless race indeed but I think Kubica made 3 big mistakes during race.

      1. Brace says:

        How is running off into the gravel and nearly beaching it in there constitute flawless race?
        He was good but not flawless.

      2. Jean-Christophe says:

        Because he had the wrong tyres at the time. And as he was leading, he was more likely to get caught

      3. CH1UNDA says:

        Very lucky for Lewis but then again he has had the misfortune of two DNFs already so maybe that was Karma payback?

      4. bill says:

        being roberts fan i have to agree with you altough i think that only the second pitstop error was pure drivers fault, others were down to car naot generating enough heat/grip in the tires and were very hard to avoid. excelent race from so many drivers

      5. Immi1974uk says:

        Well it may not have been flawless but it was fast, measured and the main thing… first across the line.

        JA – You mention a slippery track and seem to insinuate driver error being the cause of Webber’s poor start. From the in car footage, it appears that the car bogs down from too much grip and clutch bite, not too little grip.

        In addition to this, it happened at the first clutch release. Isn’t that prepogrammed by the team/engineer. I thought initial revs and clutch bite in the first phase are set then the driver controls the rate of clutch release in the 2nd phase.
        Is that correct?

        If it is, surely Webber was one of the few drivers to have an error free race? I wouldn’t say it was his best and definitely helped having Vetel wipe himself and button out but worthy of mention.

      6. James Allen says:

        Agreed, Webber implied it was a team setting problem not his mistake

    7. AlexD says:

      I do not wish anything bad to Vettel, really, but what sort of punishment dive through is for taking Button out? Anyways, I need to trust that it is right…I am not the judge. Vettel took many people out in his career….looks like he is really mastering this area of racing.

      1. Sinnae404 says:

        I feel there should be no penalty.
        It’s a mistake, pure and simple.

      2. AlexD says:

        Yes, a mistake that costs 18 points for Button.

    8. Monji says:

      I so agree with you Christine, Vettel is clearly a threat to the health of other drivers when under pressure.

    9. It was also a bit galling to keep hearing commentators making excuses for Vettel, saying how he’s still maturing as a driver. He’s in his 4th season and has only driven 9 less races than Lewis and yet more often than not he makes a complete hash of an overtake and seems unable to make his way through the front end of the field. He’s young but he’s now experienced enough in F1 and it’s time to deliver.

      1. Kitty says:

        I fully agree. Way too many excuses for Vettel which will not help him in anyway. Hamilton is obviously a superior driver.

      2. Wally says:

        “Hamilton is obviously a superior driver”

        Would you like to cast your mind back to
        June 8th 2008 and a certain 50mph crash ,
        straight into Kimi Raikkonen who was innocently
        and law abidingly waiting for a red light to turn green.

        Tut Tut…….

      3. Kitty says:

        Wally, also do keep in mind everyone is entitled to their opinion. I am commenting on 2010 not 2008. And in 2010 based on the races so far Hamilton is a much more superior driver than Vettel. Who knows things might change.

    10. Allan says:

      Oh come on, Webber got nothing more than a reprimand after the race in Australia after bashing into Hamilton in a pretty dumb move too. Should he have got “more than a drive through” as well?

      I know Vettel is everyone’s favorite villian right now but keep it in perspective… It was a very clumbsy bit of driving but not intentional.

      1. dimitris says:

        I agree Allan, it was a racing incident, one that could have been avoided perhaps, but really Vettel lost control of the car on a rather slippery surface. He should not have been given a drive-through penalty.

      2. Rubinho's Keyfob says:

        I agree – racing incident. Watching the replays, both changes of direction were over in half a second or so – whether he was right or wrong to dart left in the first place, as far as I can see the twitch to the right was purely trying to catch the car as it went from under him and unfortunately it suddenly gained some traction as it was pointing directly at Button’s side. A wet patch, a dry patch. At how many miles per hour? Doesn’t matter how good you are – at that speed at that proximity in those conditions, it was surely just “an accident”.

        So, I’m not a fan of Vettel, but I think in this instance he was unfairly punished. What we _don’t_ want to see is drivers being overly cautious in case they are punished for outright mistakes. There’s a chance with any overtaking move that they get it slightly wrong, especially in the wet. He was punished for causing “an avoidable accident”. Well, yes, but all accidents are avoidable if they just follow each other around the track like they do in Monaco and Bahrain (I know, it’s tantamount to blasphemy to make that comparison, but apart from those two we’ve had some cracking races this season – we all know which tracks are on the calendar for the racing and which are on there for the money) :D

        The implication of the “avoidable accident” wording is that he was punished because he made a reckless move. I really don’t think that was the case in this instance, though as others have pointed out, Sebastian could generally do himself a favour by working out where the corners of his car are …

    11. mtb says:

      What penalty has Barrichello received for impacting Alonso’s race?

  2. James Mc says:

    Can vettel actually overtake without either taking someone out damaging his or a competitors car or going off the track?

    1. Richard says:

      It appears not!

    2. Richard Dreyer says:

      Maybe he’d be better suited to DTM. Get Coulthard’s wise old head back!

  3. Jez Playense says:

    Possibly a pivotal race, Webber and Hamilton now have a potentially big jump on Vettel and Button. Alonso’s and Ferrari dreams may have ended today.

    1. AlexD says:

      Agree. If Red Bull wants to win, they need to back up Webber…and it will be hard for them to do it…but…it is not so hard for McLaren to support Hamilton and therefore…the title might go to Mclaren this year.

      1. Jez Playense says:

        Vettel will never agree, and he could secure a drive in almost every team if he were to become available.

        Neither will Button
        http://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKTRE66T37L20100730

      2. Steven says:

        Thats not the same. He never said he wouldnt help a teammate that had a better chance of winning the WC, all he meant is that he would never sign knowing that he would not be given a chance to compete with his teammate, ala alonso and MSC.

      3. Phil says:

        McLaren don’t need to favour Lewis. He’s outclassed Jensen all season. Even in the races Jenson won due to better stratagy, Lewis was better.

  4. JW1980 says:

    I think that you forget to mention a fourth reason why Hamilton won today and that was his driving. OK he went wide on to the gravel but he looked to have it under control. This makes up for the poor decision by the stewards in 2008. That can now be put to bed. It also makes up for the last two races (team orders and utter RBR domination).
    It was clear that the two best drivers of 2010 were first and second today and let’s hope that either of them are WDC this year.

    1. er,go says:

      Too right. Hamilton drove an excellent race. One mistake that cost him nothing in the end. Lucky? Sure, but the rest of the race, as you say, was his work. Could say the same for Webber. Lots more luck to help him along though, with other drivers making mistakes around him. Mature, calm drive from both blokes. Thats the way to win a championship.

    2. David Jones says:

      Well said, James just wondered why you seem so reluctant to give Hamilton too much praise, bare minimum only?

      1. michael says:

        @David Jones:
        David nice of you to ask James about his reluctance to really praise Lewis for once other than headlining his mistakes knowing what a draw that will make!

        Webber is on a roll and boy what a year this would be for him and indeed the Australians should he come through!

        Who was it today that inferred that Ferrari distracted Massa on the line up enough so for him to park his car 2 meters off the actual starting line in order for him to get a penalty and so help Alonso get ahead of their number two driver? I don’t remember – but having gone down that route did the powers that be @ RBR try to pull one over Webber’ clutch in order to help Vettel get ahead of their number two? ;-)

        James why for heaven sake is nobody calling on Horners lies? Horner doesn’t even stop to take a deep breath when blaming Jenson for having braked too early something Vettel has actually denied??

        I must say Horner and Vettel are a bang’up mess of a pair made for each other.

        Sadly nothing comes over genuinely at Red Bull any more. And that has totally destroyed the freshness of the team. Bad PR and even worse now they are also cheats.

        Hats off to Todt for keeping things under the hood and giving Red Bull time to not loose their advantage during Spa and Monza allowing them to get the legality of their car back in order! seriously I mean that.

        When Vettel was testing for BMW I felt he would actually become a great Racer he showed such clarity and was so factual. I must say there is no possible way he can be compared to either Alonso or Lewis in their respective youth as racers. Vettel is at times a genius at most others a mad man on four wheels! and that can not be said of the others. though, one could compare him to Takuma Sato brilliant at times and disastrous at many others.

        I am glad to see that many Germans have come to accept that there are more likeable German F1 drivers around than Vettel. Rosberg, Sutil, Glock!

      2. Vinola says:

        Agree completely with this thread and in particular David. James adjectives and superlatives fail him anytime he describes action involving Lewis. Heck, the car even gets more praise than Lewis!..lol

  5. Clay of Australia says:

    Hi

    I’ve gotta say, Red Bull’s weather calling leaves a lot to be desired. Cars were not ‘crashing left right and centre’ and to go on the full wet was silly. I just hope for the rest of the year Webber and his engineer stick to the looking out the window strategy.

    Do you think the teams, with all their spotters sometimes suffer information overload when making weather decisions, because I seem to call it better the majority of the time than the teams, from the other side of the world just watching TV. Inter’s were clearly the tyres to be on today at the end.

    1. Nick F says:

      Wasn’t that just a gamble after Vettel was in trouble in the race because they had little to lose and a lot to gain? I doubt they would have made that call if he hadn’t have stuffed up the race before that point.

    2. Grabyrdy says:

      McLaren’s call to keep Lewis out on slicks wasn’t too bright either. Another 2 cm and he was out.

      I was really surprised that none of the first 4 came in at the right time. There was a card to play there, but they all seem so locked into defensive mode they’re afraid to try anything.

      1. Steven says:

        Words of wisdom from the Super Rat “Its better to have 6 points sure than 9 points never”

      2. Grabyrdy says:

        Well, yes. Nice one. But McLaren almost did a China and pulled a defeat from the jaws of victory. Sometimes it’s safer to be more pro-active.

  6. James H says:

    Open letter to Vettel.

    Please go away, learn some race craft, grow up some and then come back to top flight motorsport.

    You might be fast when there is no one else around (to hit) but your decision making during races has revealed an immaturity that simply cannot be accepted at this level. You have become a liability.

    I gave you the benefit of the doubt before as I expected you to gain knowledge and wisdom as you had more experience but you haven’t learnt a thing. You’re a boy playing games in a man’s sport.

    1. Richard says:

      Quite right!

    2. Banjo says:

      Nicely put. Vettel has never impressed me. Sure he’s quick but anybody could be in that car. Races like today’s are just painful to watch. He looked clumsy and amateurish. He’s no Rookie but was driving worse than one.

    3. Pawel says:

      Vettel dissapointed us very much… I’m afraid Vettel hadn’t hit exactly Button you wouldn’t have written open letter, would you?

    4. james walton says:

      Hear hear, Vettel appears to have learnt little about safe driving in four seasons of F1, maybe he needs a two race ban to make him focus.

      1. mtb says:

        I am not certain that he has completed three seasons yet. He is a younger than a WDC to be who drove into a rival at the pit lane exit in Montreal in 2008.

      2. John H says:

        Yeah, but that was 2 years ago. We’re talking about Vettel in 2010 mate.

      3. Steven says:

        Thats what? Once in a season? How many times has Vettel taken people out already this season alone?

      4. mtb says:

        Hamilton was older then than what Vettel is now. That is my point. And Montreal was hardly the only error that Hamilton made both last year and in 2008.

    5. Kenny says:

      All he needs to do now is take out Hamilton and Alonso, and he’ll have the complete set of Championship contenders this season.

  7. David jones says:

    Alonso was very poor, compunded by a mistake to spin off at the end. He did get bumped, but if he had produced a better qualifying performance, then he wouldn’t have been back there. Even Massa out qualified him, the shortage of tyre is no excuse.

    Hamilton is clearly the most complete driver out there, much of this race was in the dry, and he was fantastic.

    1. Patrick McLaughlin says:

      David,

      I have to agree that Alonso was very poor. Correct me if I m wrong but I dont think he has much of a record in the wet. Nurburgring in 2007 is only rain affected race I can remember him winning. Fuji 2007 in the wet was the end of his title. After throwing it in the wall today I think that it maybe “all she wrote” for his championship challenge. I hope I m wrong but he needs a miracle now.

      I think its a McLaren RedBull battle now.

    2. JW1980 says:

      I agree with your comments. As things stand this is the year whereby Hamilton has emerged as the best driver out there. Webber has been the most improved driver of the year. With regards to Vettel he still has much time to improve and achieve great things. However, inexperience, age, etc should be discounted here. He has only raced a handful ofttimes less than Hamilton and across their respective F1 careers have had pretty similar machinery at their disposal in terms of opportunities.
      With regards to Alonso his season has been one of disappointment. Both of his victories have been fortunate to say the least.
      Button has proved himself very well against Hamilton
      Kubica is the unknown quantity. He’s a great driver but he does seem to make mistakes or notvfullybgrasp opportunities when they arise.

      1. bill says:

        everyone made mistakes today,it was a hard race, cut robert some slack will you, he just drove to 3rd on pure pace and racecraft, not bad for a renault

  8. Ross Dixon says:

    I have to bring this up again. Vettel cannot overtake. He just hits things that are slower. It’s between Hamilton and Webber now.

    1. Grabyrdy says:

      He’s no better when he’s being passed either. Just seems to think that he has licence to throw his car wherever he wants and let the others try and work around him.

      If he has a coach, he needs a new one !!

  9. Lewis Jones says:

    ‘With six races to go and Hamilton in the ascendent, he may have realised that the time for the team to back Hamilton for the championship was closing in.’

    Very true, James. But the key question is, will Christian Horner (and Helmut Marko!) now realise that the time for Red Bull to back Mark Webber in the Championship is now also upon us. Otherwise, I can see McLaren taking the drivers and constructors champs this year. Vettel has wasted too many opportunities this year for them to continue their not-so-subtle preference for him as the ‘chosen one’ within the team.
    I think he needs to be told to knuckle down, support Mark for the Championship this year, then get a fresh chance next year once he has been able to get his head right over the winter.

    1. Rob H says:

      “I think he needs to be told to knuckle down, support Mark for the Championship this year, then get a fresh chance next year once he has been able to get his head right over the winter.”

      Spot on.

    2. Mike S says:

      You can tell from Horners comments and attitude every time he is asked about supporting Webber that he won’t commit to full support and that Seb is still the golden boy of the team. Horner almost seems embarrassed at times that Webber is even in contention for the championship and not just fulfilling a support role.!

      1. Mojo66 says:

        Well what else can be expected from him. Mark is certainly at the end of his career while Sebastien is a young, extremely fast talent. Plus, don’t forget that Germany is a much more attractive place to sell Red Bull drinks than Australia is.

      2. er,go says:

        Yeah, what an inconvenience. Webber’s performance is really quite frustrating for the team, internally. The best laid plans for marketing their product etc. As for Webber, he’s well aware of all the politics in and outside the team. He just has to keep his head down and do his job. I do not believe the team will actively stop him going for it. They also have a constructors championship to think about. The interaction between the drivers is professional, I think and not too far different from the other teams, knowing a drivers first aim is to beat his teammate. Does remind me of a little story though.

        Two bulls, a young one and an old one come over a hill and see a field full of cows before them. The young red bull wants to charge down the hill and mount SOME of those cows and older wiser not so red bull wants to go calmly down the hill and mount ALL those cows.

        Keep mounting Mark Webber!

  10. PaulL says:

    Some thoughts on the state of play.

    1) The championship is now exclusively between Hamilton and Webber.

    2) Hamilton is possibly the only top class driver in the field. 

    3) I applaud Webber’s performance this year, but Vettel is not yet top class – can’t deliver pace consistently and lacks race-craft.

    4) I can no longer say sadly, as an Alonso fan, that he is as good as anyone in the world. Whilst I applaud his self-composure this year in handling disappointment he is, at times, embarrassingly not fast enough and unable to put it together – surprising given he demonstrated both these things so impressively in the first 9 races of 2006.

    5) Button is fine #2 performer at McLaren but not a serious title contender. To be a contender it’s not enough to be able to drive ‘smooth’ and look after your tyres, you’ve got to be fast as well.

    6) Kubica (despite yielding 2nd place) deserves a chance in a top 2 car (hopefully next year’s Renault) to show what he can do.

    1. Jon B says:

      Alonso is and always was overrated. He won two championships in superior cars with clear #1 treatment, then he could not beat a rookie on equal terms and threw up a tantrum. He’s had it easy this year against a teammate who struggles with tyre warm-up and the aftereffect of an accident, but once Felipe finds his stride again Alonso will find himself in hot water and head boiling again.

      1. Alberto Dietz says:

        Jon B: In a scale of 1-10, 20.

    2. Mr J says:

      1) It’s too early to say that the championship is between Hamilton and Webber, remember Kimi in 2007.

      2)I could agree on the fact that he’s the best driver currently but I would like to include Kubica as the driver of the year this far.

      3) Maybe not championship material yet but without his bad luck in the first part of the season he would have been ahead of Webber.

      4) One of the best drivers and a really good one but definitely not the best overall driver. Never has been eventhough his reputations has been exactly that.

      5) He’s dooing a good job but this year has shown that speed wise he’s not top material (to his defence is that car is not developed to his preferences yet). But personally I don’t think he will do better in the years to come.

      6) This guy could perhaps be the best driver in F1 but since we haven’t seen him in a top car yet the title can’t be given to him.

      1. mtb says:

        5) he will probably leave McLaren at the end of next year upon realisin that he is not as good as he thought. This assumes that McLaren still want him…

      2. JeremyS says:

        I don’t think McLaren would want to let go of Button.

        The team is leading the CC despite only one start from pole, and have two wins from the guy. That’s light years better than the previous 2 years.

        McLaren could probably burn through the entire paddock and not find a driver as good as Lewis. Sticking with Button, who is able to keep his head and drive well, seems to be the smartest tactic.

    3. Babi says:

      Beautiful analysis! couldnt agree more.

  11. luciano says:

    Time for RBR to back Webber? It’s looking like it could be a two horse race between Webber and Hamilton.

  12. d.h. says:

    excellent race, i predicted hamilton would be in front after eau rouge, but only after slipstreaming webber. so was half right! as usual spa always provides an exciting race and did so again.

    very professional weekend from lewis, and a good comeback from webber after a poor start.

    as for vettel! the boy and he still is a boy it would appear from todays showing is going to cause a massive accident very soon, he cannot overtake cleanly, if that situation was reversed im sure button wouldnt have smashed into the side of him.

    and alonso second guessing the weather, than getting released in the pitlane into a red bull (silly red/green light system), than slamming it into the armco, cant beat a bit of karma rebalance!

  13. KidrA says:

    I felt punishing Vettel for incident with Button was unnecessary. The track was little wet in that section and things like this happen. It was pretty similar with Barrichello and Alonso, only that at this time track was more wet in that place. All in all was pretty good race, thanks to amazing track and changeable weather.

    1. Peter says:

      Quite right,it wasn`t a huge mistake, but unfortunate and people like taking it very hard on Vettel as he is a championship threat to British drivers. All other crashes are forgotten somehow.

      1. tharris19 says:

        Vettel is coming under intense scrutiny because of his body of work, not just this race and Turkey.

      2. Jean-Christophe says:

        Nothing to do with being British here. It’s just that he’s done it so many times. Not to mention previous years, how many incidents has he caused this season? By the way I’m French & still believe that it’s safer to drive with slick tyres on a soaked track than having Vettel chasing you

      3. James Allen says:

        Yes let’s keep nationality out of the debate. It’s about the driving

    2. Baz says:

      When Rubens went into Alonso the track was wet. Button said that the track was dry when Vettel went into him. Vettel just had a moment all by himself and took Button out. Sadly, there are still too many people out there wanting to make excuses for him. I’m sorry but Vettel has plenty of races under his belt now but he’s making too many unforced errors. Whether Vettel should have been punished is open to debate but someone seriously needs to sit down with him to sort out what’s going on in his head – otherwise, find another driver to back. Being a great driver is more than just being quick.

      I don’t think that the Championship is now just between Webber and Hamilton. Yes, I fancy Webber’s chances of being WDC this year, but under the new points system, there are still plenty of points up for grabs.

    3. Shane says:

      I believe Button questioned the incident since the track was “bone dry” at the time.

      From what I could see, peeked inside saw there was no space, flicked the car to go outside and lost it. Unfortunately for Button, instead of simply going off track once he had lost control he decided to try to correct which sent him into Button’s radiator.

      I think the primary difference between what happened to Alonso and Button is that many cars were caught out in the first corner. At this level, it should be expected that you can drive in a straight line. Not too mention, this is the second time he has hit someone while driving in a straight line.

  14. Ed Knowles says:

    James, could you give us an update as to where each driver stands with regard to engines and transmissions?

    1. James Allen says:

      They are all on engine number six apart from Massa and Alonso (7) and De la Rosa (8). Gearboxes I don’t know

      1. Drez says:

        Are you sure about De La Rosa?

        Fia state he used 8th engine in qualifying and 9th in the race.

        Suppose a 2 place grid drop to the back was not worth worrying about.

      2. James H. says:

        Do Ferrari intend to reuse any of their discarded engines, or are Alonso and Massa near the end of their engine supply too far from the end of the season? And, it is surprising to me that a driver of Alonso’s talent and success can’t seem to come to terms with a great driver’s track like Spa. Spa can make, or harm, a driver’s reputation. Maybe Vettel and Alonso need to hire Kimi to coach them at Spa next year!

  15. Faisal says:

    As an Alonso fan, I couldn’t be more disappointed. The strategy they employed didn’t work at all. First the incident with Rubens, then putting inters when it was almost dry and finally crashing onto the kerb. Though still loved his fightback but there’s a reason to be disappointed and grouchy.

    I still believe he’s got a shot at the title as neither Vettel or Button would be supported by their teams anymore. However 8 Sep hearing would decide whether he can fight for it or not. I am not expecting points penalty but there’s a chance it might happen.

    Overall the encouraging thing was that car seemed competitive. Hopefully in Monza they can win.

    PS Vettel showed he is too young to be a champion

    1. Shane says:

      I agree, I was completely distraught over the race! After Barrichello’s shunt into Alonso I thought it was over! Then it started to rain a little and Alonso was on intermediates! He was in perfect position, but alas the field drove by the pit entry.

      He drove brilliantly through the field, which is expected. I think, and have thought for a while, that Ferrari think too hard. They try to outfox others when they just need to put their heads down and fly. I wonder if there was some unseen damage to the rear that finally gave way going over that last curb? Seems so odd for him to lose it like that, although Spa can catch people out quickly.

  16. David says:

    James, both La Sexta and BBC commentators noticed that Massa’s car was about 2 m past his start box at the start of the race. Do you know if this was investigated, or if any action could be possibly taken?

    1. F1Maniac says:

      Yeah, i also heard Martin Brundle mention this, but nothing after, so he must have been in the right spot.

  17. Just says:

    Great race. Hamilton, Webber and Kubica were all fantastic. Although if Webber’s poor start was a problem with the car (?) then he gets my driver of the day, as that would mean he was the only one of the three to not make a mistake.

    I wonder if McLaren and Red Bull will throw their weight behind Hamilton and Webber now. Probably not, especially in the case of Red Bull given how they operate.

    James, do you agree with the drive through penalty for Vettel? I’m undecided. On the one hand he completely ruined Button’s race, and it would have been unfair if Vettel still scored good points while eliminating one of his title rivals. But on the other hand it was an honest mistake in difficult, changeable conditions that could have happened to any driver.

    1. James Allen says:

      I definitely agree with the penalty. He ended Button’s race

      1. KidrA says:

        I felt the incident between Barrichello and Alonso was pretty similar. Both made a mistake in changeable weather conditions while braking. It’s either punish both or none. Just cause Button’s race was ended and Alonso got going doesn’t mean that what Vettel did was worse. This really confused me and made me think that things are not right. Right after the penalty I thought – Mansell. I really hope I’m wrong and penalties are not given by nationalities.

      2. JimmiC says:

        Button/Vettel happened on a close to bone-dry part of the track. Rubens/Alonso happened after a sudden shower and most of the field also fell off. Also, Vettel’s accident was preventable by virtue of him not sawing at his steering wheel when running close behind another car.

      3. mtb says:

        Couldn’t agree more

      4. Sinnae404 says:

        These incidents should not be penalised. Stuff like this happens, Vettel certainly didn’t gain from it. So what purpose does the penalty serve?

        In general I’d like to see the stewards to stay out of it unless absolutely necessary.

      5. NJ says:

        Course he did, Button was not able to continue and therefore lost all points. Vettel on the other hand was able to continue and could have been in hte points had he not F’d up another overtake manouver.

        The RB incident was as mentioned when most of the field slid of the track together, almost like syncro swimming. Where Vettal moved violently to the right saw he had no space, then swerved to go round the outside and lost it which is not suprising as the RBR car is know for problems when tucked in behind another car, then instead of just going off into the run-off area, he tried to correct it and ran back onto the track to T-bone JB.

    2. kayjay says:

      Kimi made a similar mistake at Monaco and took out Sutil,wrecking Force India out of a huge result for the team.

      There was no penalty for that incident I remember.

      1. mtb says:

        Correct. Should a driver be punished for making an error on a damp track?

      2. Mojo66 says:

        You got a very good point there, kayjay, especially as Kimi’s excuse was very similar to Vettels excuse, he said he misjudged a bump under breaking.

        I think we see a development towards more punishment. Similar to DTM, for example. In the old days, drive through penalties were unknown. I think it all started when Senna pulled out some unfair antics against Prost and others and then later with Schumacher vs. Hill and Villeneuve. If this development continues, we’ll eventually see penishments for harmless incidents like when Schu passed Rosberg today.

    3. Nando says:

      Difficult, changeable conditions aren’t an excuse, he should of took that into consideration before attempting the manoeuvre. Another bump that made him swing right. Hamilton will have to be careful of Vettel he’s likely to pull a desperation move.

  18. Matthew says:

    Anyone know what’s with the Mclaren’s engine note? Heard it in qualifying and again in the race (when the American broadcast made note of it). In Qualifying I thought it was due to the ignition retard system, but it was also there during the race. Due to the Mclaren’s EBD?

    1. James Allen says:

      We think it’s to do with retardation of ignition to help constant exhaust pressure onto the diffuser

      1. SKWD says:

        For those of a certain age it would sound unnervingly like the pulse jet of a Doodlebug (German WWII V1 flying bomb)!

        In fact, that probably gives you a clue – there is presumably some combustion going on in the exhaust system, which in turn allows the exhaust gasses to continue to exit with sufficient vigour to perform a useful function over the diffuser elements.

        I wonder what the rules say about this? It is only a small step from there to using the piston engine solely as a gas generator and just burning fuel in the exhaust system in order to create forward thrust :)

      2. Luke A says:

        I thought you said this was only possible for a lap or two as it would cause overheating, or have McLaren found a way of using this constantly?

      3. Matthew says:

        That’s why I was a little confused. I thought it damaged the engine if used for more than a lap or two. Seemed like they were using it more. Then again, I wasn’t actually at the race, just guess from the coverage I saw.

      4. SKWD says:

        I used to be involved in the design of aircraft engines. Given enough will, enough money, and enough design time, such a system could be engineered so as to run full-time. Amongst the teams, McLaren could be said to have a sufficiency of all of those three things…

      5. Nick F says:

        I’m very interested in this too. Are you able to find out James? It was constant. I thought there were problems with heating (and maybe fuel consumption??) if you ran it constantly.

      6. James Allen says:

        Yes, it’s something you would only run briefly for maximum performance.

      7. SKWD says:

        @Nick F: if the system is worth more in lap time than the penalty from carrying the additional fuel, you could run it for the whole race.

        That said, there are other ways to gain some of the benefit with little or no penalty, which may account for the car’s strange exhaust note.

  19. Mr Squiggle says:

    Congrats to Hamilton, a great race in difficult circumstances. A good save by Webber too.

    The main story for me is that the shape of the championship race has altered significantly in just one race.

    I hate to say it, but Vettel …ummmm….well its four mistakes from the last four races:

    1) Silverstone – tried to squeeze Webber off the line and wrecked his own race
    2) Hockenheim – similar move to Silverstone’s, he veered right when the lights went green, he didn’t try to get to the corner first, Ferraris benefited.
    3) Hungry – a mistake behind the safety car plus a bit of tantrum broadcast to the world’s media.
    4) Spa – T-boned the current world champion and, ..oh well…do you see my point?

    1. Kitty says:

      Re Hungary: in the race edit he apologised for stuffing up the restart after the safety car so he shouldn’t have been so surprised + angry about the drive through penalty.

      I have been trying to be positive about Vettel but it’s just too many incidents already.

  20. Alex says:

    So… Did anyone see Vitaly Petrov’s awesome overtake around the outside of Schumacher (I think) towards the start of the race on full tanks and a slippery track? If Renault can up their game next year they’ve got a champion and a succession plan all in one.

    Webber for the drivers title and McLaren for the constructers now by the way.

    1. Grabyrdy says:

      Petrov’s doing well isn’t he ? As is Hulkenberg. It’s just so tough for rookies these days without testing, but I reckon these 2 are definitely worth perseverence.

      And that’s despite the fact that they must be less useful for development than a more experienced driver would be.

      Let’s hope there’s a mid-season testing window next year.

      1. Mojo66 says:

        I agree that Hulk is doing well since he was able to keep up with Rubens for the last few races. But Petrov? He’s miles behind Kubica. Petrov has shown some amazing car control so far, but he’s far from being consistent. I wonder what he’s struggling with because the car is capable of driving to the podium, as we’ve seen a few times this year.

      2. Grabyrdy says:

        He’s obviously quick, and RK certainly sets the bar very high. If Renault have tried him this year, surely they must persevere in 2011.

        He’s not made more mistakes than Junior, has he ?

      3. Alex says:

        I don’t think his inconsistency is that of the Crash Kid’s no!

        I like Petrov and Hulkenberg and their style is certainly good enough to win races and possibly more. I liken Petrov to an early Jody Scheckter and Hulkenberg to an early Mansell, he’s just dogged and persistent approach is impressive. Kudos to them both and may their future be prosperous!

  21. S.J.M says:

    I know every expert and James says that Vettel is a future Champion, but frankly after the last few months, i cant see it. The kids quick, but his head just does seem to keep up with the car. Maybe im being harsh, maybe its cos he took out my countryman, i dont know. But my gut says he’s in a too good a car at this stage of his career and would have been better in a midfield team to learn like his team mate did. Its probably a problem in F1 with drivers coming through to quickly and not spending enough time in the lower formula’s being coming to F1.

    Well done Hamilton, my heart was in my mouth when he almost binned it, glad he kept the car going!! Great race as always at Spa, just love the races it produces.

    James, theres been only a little said on Redbulls wing, have you seen any still photos to check if it flex’s as much as Hungery? It passed the FIA’s test and Horner claims its the same one, but Jenson Button on the BBC just commented that he thinks its not flexing as much as the previous race. Would be interesting to find out.

    1. James Allen says:

      Mercedes feel the same. The wings weren’t the same as Budapest as they were not high downforce and therefore had fewer elements

      1. SKWD says:

        Horner claimed the wing was the same as that in Budapest. But, note that he has only claimed the wing is the same, and has made no reference to other elements of bodywork.

        For instance, is the nose the same? The floor? The nose mountings?

      2. CH1UNDA says:

        Since we are not going to get hold of that wing and do some reverse engineering on it, its my opinion that Horner is telling tales – that was not the same wing. If RBR take this championship, they would have done it by bending quite a few rules. Maybe Mr Whitmarsh should just fix his own flexble wing to the McLaren. Ditto Mr Brawn.

      3. Mojo66 says:

        I agree, we have to wait for a high downforce circuit to see if the wing flexing actually changed.

  22. It was a bit unfortunate that Alonso damaged his car in what looked to be a fairly light impact and yet his car survived that almighty thump from Rubens at the start. I wonder if his left rear suspension had any damage which might have contributed to the eventual spin? I know, it just looked like he got on the white lines.

    Credit must also be given to Alonso for continuing to drive the car hard at over 200MPH after the incident with Rubens. He must have feared suspension damage and a failure at speed would have been devastating!

    Starting to look more like a two horse race unless Webber and Hamilton have some bad luck in the next couple of races and Alonso, Vettel or Button can capitalise. For my money Hamilton, Webber and Alonso are the team reps who have earned a shot at the title this year with Button seemingly a bit too laid back, Vettel lacking discipline and wisdom and Massa just lacking speed. It would be nice if those top three can continue to fight until the last race or two.

    Very interesting race today and certainly exciting even if, as an Alonso fan myself, the result was a disappointment.

  23. R.B. says:

    We ought to face facts. Vettel is not delivering what is expected from him. The hype around Vettel has shot in the air long ago with the poor Seb failing to trail. Please stop calling him a kid as he is only 5-6 races short of Hamilton. There has been enough time for him to prove himself and he failed.

  24. Banjo says:

    Great race but I don’t think races like this will help me age well.

  25. EM says:

    Oh why can’t every track be like Spa? Long straights followed by tight corners, challenging turns and unforgiving run offs. Even without the weather it consistantly brings us a fantastic memorable race.

    Firstly a well deserved victory for Lewis Hamilton he was so quick he could even make a mistake and get away with it. He’s now in the driving seat for the championship given he doesn’t have to tussle with a faster team mate and has a fast car plus a clear head.

    Secondly it appears that Red Bull and Ferrari’s advantage has gone with the tougher wing tests. Spa was never going to be somewhere their higher downforce counted that much but they really weren’t setting anything alight this weekend and on the Red Bull in particular their front wing was moving much less and much more raggedly than before.

    Finally Herr Vettel, calm down! You probably lost your shot at the world championship with two ill judged turns of the wheel today. Two bad decisions taken with impetuous haste a calmer head would have kept you in with a shout. Although his drive thru’ penalty was harsh given it was a poor decicision not a monumentally stupid or unfair one.

    Great race though, can we come here every week?

    1. James Allen says:

      Agree. I love this place. I’m sad to leave. Thanks for all the excellent comments on this post. It’s interesting to hear your points of view on the race

      1. Dave says:

        I have to disagree with a couple of points above.

        Whilst not taking away a brilliant drive from Hamilton he ultimately has his team mate to thank for his advantage. Without Button backing up the field he would have been passed by Kubica and Webber when he went off – still a minor point to what was overall a very good drive.

        It’s a shame that Webber was bogged down at the start as I think we were denied a great battle between them today. There was little to separate them from Saturday onwards.

        As for Red Bull and Ferrari not having an advantage this comment is too premature. We have seen all year that car performance varies immensely from one circuit to the next. Spa and Monza require quite unique set ups and we really have to wait until Singapore to see if there has been much change.

        Webber was 0.1 km/ph faster than Hamilton through the speed trap and it would make sense on a circuit that is all about power and straight line speed to run a more rigid front wing. I’m not saying the new more stringent tests haven’t had an effect I just think on the back of this race and Monza the only people that know 100% work for Red Bull and probably won’t be speaking out about it.

      2. James Allen says:

        YOur first point is right, but don’t forget that all the advantage was wiped out by the second safety car

      3. CH1UNDA says:

        If i remember clearly the only time the Red Bull and the Renault were clearly faster than the McLaren was after they went in for new tyres while Lewis was still out. However once he changed tires, he started matching their pace and even gained two or three seconds before the rain. Important thing is that this buys McLaren time to make some improvements to their car – if they can close the gap to 0.3 seconds or so, Button and Lewis will do the rest

      4. saturn v says:

        “Without Button backing up the field he would have been passed by Kubica and Webber when he went off”.

        Without Vettel taking out Button, Webber and Kubica would have been even further back with more cars to pass.

    2. Taz says:

      I wish we could come here every week. The best qualifying session I have seen. Totally worth waking up at 8am on Saturday and the race was awesome.

    3. JimmiC says:

      I bang the drum for the ‘old’ circuits all the time, but it is a travesty that this track has been on and off the calendar. Formula One should be bending over backwards to race at this brilliant place. Wonderful layout, men-from-boys corners, unpredictable weather, big and enthusiastic crowds…

      1. Mojo66 says:

        It’s one of the few classic cicuits that was always good for overtaking and hasn’t been castrated beyond recognition in the 80′s and 90′s like other circuits have, probably because no fatal accidents happened since Belloff died. Which wasn’t even at a F1 race.

        Monza received three chicanes, old Hockenheim also three, Imola has been totally crippled, those were classic tracks with lots of overtaking opportunities back when they were in their original state. Similar tracks like Zeltweg, Paul Ricard, Dijon and the original Kyalami have vanished from the calender. Instead we got very technical Tilke tracks, beginning with the Hungaro Ring at it didn’t get much better.

        The only other circuit that haven’t changed much and delivered lots of exciting racing were Interlagos and Suzuka.

      2. Oliver N says:

        I don’t agree with your first point, with the exception of Imola there haven’t been any fatal F1 crashes anywhere since 1982, and don’t forget serious crashes for Zanardi and Comas and plenty of scary ones particularly the BAR’s in 99.

        Yet as you say many of the great circuits have, in many peoples opinion, been castrated. I also miss the old Jacarapagua circuit in Rio. NB, Interlagos has been extensively castrated since its original layout, although as far as castrations go, it is one of the better ones.

  26. Peter says:

    People who criticize Vettel are right, but should not forget Hamilton crashing into Kimi in Canada in the pitlane and doing similar mistakes whils he was immature. He is just young and hot headed. Stop this only Hamilton can overtake siliness.

    1. AlexD says:

      And people did not like what Hamilton did, but…how many times Vettel did in, really? It is not the first time…even this year….

    2. Stuart says:

      For which Hamilton received a grid penalty on top of being out of the actual race.

    3. DC says:

      But Hamilton made those mistakes in his first two seasons…and not made the same sort of mistakes since…only Monza last year being a straight driver error…

      Vettel is in his 4th season but does not seem to be learning….that is most peoples problem with him. Hamilton is still young but his driving is very mature and he only has a few races more experience over Vettel.

      1. Kitty says:

        Well said. Hamilton is competitive and mature. Vettel is rather childish next to him.

    4. tharris19 says:

      As has been stated in other comments about Vettel, it not just this race, it his history of questionable shunts in F1. People are very worried that he is going to hurt someone or get hurt himself.

  27. Michael A says:

    Vettel is the victim of his own early success. He was so hyped by everyone that eventually it got to his head and now he drives like he owns F1. Credit to Lewis and his Dad for keeping him firmly planted on the ground in his rookie years. People say his phenomenal early success was purely due to being so well groomed by Ron Dennis but come on guys, give credit where it’s due, he is an astonishingly complete driver and he just seems to get better and better. In years to come, people will look back at this era of Formula as one of the best, if not the best, we have ever seen… and Lewis will by up there with the likes of Senna and Fangio in terms of out-and-out respect. Vettel on the other hand, i suspect would only be in the ‘could-have-beens’.

    1. DC says:

      There is a great comment on the autosport website from the post race press conference from mark webber…

      When asked if he thought he was sitting next to his.main championship rival he replied…..

      MW: “I think if you beat Lewis in the championship you are doing very well.”

      So MW certainly has a lot of respect for Lewis. Maybe more than he does for his teammate?

      1. Phil says:

        Yeah, I read that too. It sure stood out didn’t it? Ultimate respect.

    2. mtb says:

      Short memory there. In 2008 Hamilton was being accused of behaving as if he owned F1.

  28. Rafael says:

    Great race! And what an outstanding performance from Hamilton and a very solid show from Webber. Too bad about the Aussie’s start though.

    As for Vettel, I still think he’s a future world champion. But he needs to hone his race craft: most of his wins came from when he started on pole or when the car in front of him dropped out. He doesn’t quite know how to win yet on just an average day and starting from the mid-field.

    James, I am a huge Alonso fan. Although he is still pretty much competitively quick and at times freakishly quick, I can’t help but notice that since his move to McLaren he’s been a bit less consistent and composed compared to his championship winning years with Renault. In Renault, he’d always be in the top 3, now he seems to have a knack for shooting himself in the foot. Would you agree?

    I do hope he bounces back and wins more WDCs! It would be a shame to see such a talent achieve less than it is meant to.

    1. James Allen says:

      He had a bad day, no a bad weekend

    2. "for sure" says:

      How much did his success at Renault depend on a significantly superior car?

      1. Grabyrdy says:

        Not at all. If anything the Renault was behind the Ferrari at a majority of tracks both years.

      2. Carlos Eduardo Del Valle says:

        In 2005 it was easy because Michelin was vastly superior, and Kimi’s McLaren was nor reliable at all. Ferrari didn’t show up in 2005. I consider 2006 Alonso’s greatest deed, because in 2006 Ferrari was generally better than Renault and even then he won over M Schumacher

    3. Shane says:

      Alonso is my favourite as well, although Kubica is closing in! It seems like Alonso has to push just a little too hard lately. Chock it up to his car? We know he can perform still, he can be brilliant, but I think he is always just barely hanging onto the ragged edge.

      2005 and even more so in 2006 he was able to run that ragged edge in an arguably inferior car, but I think it was just barely inferior. After 2006, he hasn’t been in a team long enough to get the maximum from them. I think his move to McLaren was a huge mistake, but only in hindsight.

      Hopefully his tenure at Ferrari will prove fruitful.

  29. Jey says:

    James,
    Martin and Ross have both stated that RBR and Ferrari modified their front wings at Spa owing to the FIA scrutiny scheduled there.

    How much do you think that affected the races of Alonso especially.He clearly seemed to struggle

    If RBR and Ferrari did modify their wings for this race,will they be back to the normal wings for the next race onwards?Any detailed info on this?

  30. John Player says:

    I think it is a one horse race to the championship now, Lewis takes it for sure. He is fast, McLaren is fast enough and reliable too. Plus he carries a huge amount of luck with him, making mistakes not too often, and getting away with them.

    Would it be good idea to let Vettel work for his teammate now ? Yes, because there are not too many races left and the german is behind. But with Webber there is always a big shunt behind the corner waiting to happen, so it would not make a difference at the end. Moreover, giving instructions over the radio might hurt their title contender more(remember Hockenheim?).

    Sad race for Renault, this last safety car period gave them a good opputunity, but Kubica overcooked it. At least their car ran well, important for the remaining races.

    1. vivek shetty says:

      “Plus he carries a huge amount of luck with him”

      I think not so huge. DNF at Hungary from P4 and Spain from P2.

  31. Grabyrdy says:

    Once again we had unnecessary safety cars, particularly the one after Alonso’s late crash. The result is that everyone’s tyres go cold, making the restarts a time of high danger. One of these days there’s going to be a really big shunt because of this idiocy.

    1. James Allen says:

      Disagree, you had a broken car hard to move lying sideways on a wet track. That’s a safety car

      1. Grabyrdy says:

        Once the safety car has come out, the whole field has passed the incident and knows where it is. Yellow flags would be sufficient. But these days, they bring it out to spice up the race, and sometimes create dangerous situations elsewhere, notably in the pit lane.

        Should we now call it the Spiceitup car ?

      2. bill says:

        you are talking about a situation that creates a precedent

    2. Wayne Sadlier says:

      what about the marshalls removing Alonso’s car from the track.. dosn’t their safety count

    3. Charlie B says:

      I believe the first safety car was unnecessary because the field had passed it and it could have been moved considering how long the circuit is. The second safety car was necessary Alonso’s car was in the middle of the track, ok it wasn’t on the racing line but two cars side by side and they would have had to back off and potentially cause an accident behind them if they didn’t crash into themselves or Alonso’s Ferrari.

      I think over the years safety cars have come out more for less and less. Also, ok it was practice, but a red flag for some apparent kids climbing a fence. It would be aright if we actually saw them and saw anyone do anything.

    4. mtb says:

      Massa’s speed at that tome was impressive but not noticed

    5. Mojo66 says:

      Alonso’s safety car was imperative, his car was at a location where incoming drivers wouldn’t be able to see it in advance because it was behind a brow. However, the safety could have come in at least one lap earlier as it actually did. Charlie let it go around another lap while Alonso’s car was already on a truck. This has nothing to do with safety anymore, it’s just annoying to watch. And similar situations happened earlier this year. In BTCC, for example, race control is reacting much faster.

      1. Grabyrdy says:

        Agree with your seconf part mojo, and I’m glad to have stirred things up a bit !

        Watching the old races on the red button before each weekend, you see that they managed to cope without safety cars in those days. I don’t recall a single incident of marshals being taken out by passing cars (except one with Martin Brundle in the wet, when the race should have already been stopped).

        Were drivers perhaps a bit more aware and responsible in those days ? There’s some guys out there now who seem to think it’s their god-given right to never lift their foot in any circumstances (step forward Junior …)

  32. Nathan Graham says:

    Everyone seems to be quick to draw conclusions about who is in and out of the WDC. If this season has shown us anything it is that fortunes can change in the blink of an eye. Alonso was up there at the start of the year, then disappeared, then came back. Button was there leading the championship, webber has had a go up there too. Anything can happen in the next 6 races and where a DNF can cost you up to 25 points to a rival the championship is wide open.

    All that aside I do feel that Hamilton is putting in the performances that place him as the driver to beat. He is being consistent with very few mistakes.

    I’m a massive (one eyed) Webber fan and I believe he has the opportunity to take the championship with the car he has been given. The rest of the season is sure to be just as exciting as what has already been shown this year.

    1. Mojo66 says:

      Yeah, I also fail to see why this should be a two horse race from now on. One crash of Webber into a back marker and a Vettel victory and both are equal in points. Same goes for Button and Hamilton, and if while Lewis’ driving is very consistent, he had a lot of DNFs in the past due to technical problems. Only Alonso seems to be a bit of an unknown, the car’s performance seem too erratic to predict anything. So over all, I think it is still a five horse race…

  33. Lilla My says:

    Really exciting race! Actually almost all the top drivers made some mistakes: Hamilton got himself into the gravel and almost onto the wall – I guess he was quite lucky to get away with it. Webber had an awful start, Kubica missed the pit stop (though according to Polish comentators his long pit stop was Renault’s mechanics fault – that made me really laugh), Massa didn’t do anything wrong (quite suprisingly for me as I don’t think he’s comfortable in the wet), Button didn’t have time to do anything wrong as somebody else took care of his race, Vettel – no comments, Alonso – oh dear…

    Apart from that – great race by Lewis – had some luck on his side but also managed to make use of it.
    I thought Hamilton was bad in 2007 when he made some rookie mistakes and actually threw the title away. Then I thought that 2009 was this kind of a year for Vettel as he lost the title by himself then. But this guy is getting worse and worse. He’s not learning on his own mistakes at all. I really hope Red Bull will support Webber now, cause Vettel simply doesn’t deserve to be the champion – not yet at least.

    Alonso made me quite sad today. He had bad qualifying, quite a good start, then bad luck with Rubens crashing into him, that sent him to the back of the field. He was doing a really good job fighting his way through (which some people seem not to notice) only to make some stupid mistake. Like I said, everybody made mistakes today (only some, like Lewis were more lucky), but that was really painful for me as an Alonso fan. And it hurts me to admit that he might not deserve to win this year’s title – though I hope that race didn’t put him out of the championship. I can’t get rid of the impression that after few years in a bad car he wants to get on top too much, maybe even more than the other guys and so he sometimes looses his head and makes these stupid mistakes. So I’m very sad and quite disappointed with Fernando today. I honestly hope he’ll prove me wrong in the last races and show his true face, cause I believe he’s still got that something, only he has to find it and put himself together (which he already did a few times this season so it shouldn’t be too difficult). And I definitely won’t stop supporting him only because he’s had one or two bad races. I still think that Fernando and Lewis are the top shelf of F1 drivers, beyond all the rest and I’d love to see them both fighting for the title in Abu Dhabi.

    1. JonB says:

      Massa is great in the wet, actually. However Ferrari likes to produce cars that are light on their tyres, making them less suited for wet races than say McLaren who likes to produce cars that warm up their tyres quickly.

      The little Brazilian got pole in Monaco in the wet. Won Brazil GP 08 in changeable conditions. Did a solid race here today. People tend to remember him (and not Kimi, weirdly) spinning a lot at Silverstone 08 – while conveniently forgetting that rainmaster Lewis went for some spins at Silverstone 09..

      1. Lilla My says:

        O.K. You convinced me. From my point of view (and speaking only for myself) I have to agree and disagree with you at the same time. I disagree, because I, for once, do remember Lewis spinning here and there in the wet (I don’t think he’s such a rainmaster as many would like to see him) and I agree, because you’re absolutely right about my memory concerning Massa. I tend to forget his good races in the rain but still keep in mind the image of him spinning round at Silverstone. Maybe it’s because people generally tend to remember bad things much better and since he had quite a few spins there it just became so memorable.

        I still think he did really well today. He might have been invisible, but it’s definitely better to be invisible and finish 4th than be very visible and get a DNF.

      2. Shiro says:

        Actually I disagree. This year’s McLaren has been the total opposite to what they’ve produced in recent years – the car seems light on its tyres which explains why their race pace is much better than their qualifying pace. Did anyone notice Lewis and Jenson weaving during today’s race?

        I think you’re confused. Massa did not get pole in the wet at Monaco – it was dry qualifying in 2008. And Silverstone 2009 was not wet either.

      3. James Allen says:

        Jenson was very clever with his mini-weaves down the straight, holding his line from Vettel

      4. Lilla My says:

        I personally was thinking about Silverstone 2008 which was wet and Massa was spinning there. Apart from that you’re all confusing me a lot now. I definitely have to look through his previous wet races, but I’m quite sure he’s not a rainmaster (maybe not as bad as many think, but not great either).

      5. Mojo66 says:

        While Lewis technically might have made a mistake today, actually it was the pit’s fault. He was clearly asking why he can’t come in for wet tires when the pit was waiting to see what the others did. So they were putting him at risk while he felt that the conditions called for wet tires. BTW it’s not the first time I thought that Lewis was depending a bit too much on his pit, I think he should give his own opinion a bit more weight.

      6. Lilla My says:

        Yes, you’re right. I just stated the obvious saying that he made the mistake (which was caused by the fact that he was forced to stay out too long). Apart from that he had a great race and a deserved victory.

    2. tharris19 says:

      Keep the faith, a lot can and will happen in the last seven races.

    3. Panya says:

      Hi Lilla My,

      I am a big Alonso fan and I am very sure that he still has that something inside of him. I am very positive that he will come around and keep the WDC chance alive. I sure can’t wait for the remaining races.

      Good to hear from another Alonso fan on this site and remaining positive.

    4. JohnBt says:

      Hi Lilla My,

      Liked your posting very much.

      SAD & HURT, that’s exactly how I felt with Alonso’s result.
      It’s truly a very nice feeling to know there are still many sincere supporters for Alonso.

      We’ll continue to stand behind Alonso and keep positive!
      Because I’m sure in Alonos’s mind, “It ain’t over until it’s over”.

      1. Lilla My says:

        Thanks guys. I’m also glad I’m not the only Alonso fan here. Somebody has to protect him on an English site and I always will for sure (as Felipe would say ;-)).

        Though I must admit James Allen is not that hard on Fernando which is nice :).

      2. James Allen says:

        We treat everyone fairly here, regardless of nationality. It’s about the driving

  34. JimmiC says:

    Everyone seems to be hammering Vettel at the moment, but I am undecided on his on-track behaviour at the moment. On the one hand, he has been in F1 for a couple of years now (more than enough time to learn that snaking violently behind another car isn’t very productive) but he is still at an age where most people are behind their Vauxhall Corsa’s.

    I don’t know how things are behind the scenes at RBR – we hear all the time about how Vettel is the darling of the team and how much of this is tabloid tittle-tattle? – but perhaps someone needs to sit him down and really give him a bit of a shake. He has a massively experienced team-mate, and although RBR are a young team none of them are wet behind the ears, so there is no shortage of sage advice out there; if he is willing to listen.

    Great result for Robert Kubica today. Cool, calm, measured, ruthless when it was needed, with a duff pit stop in difficult conditions as the only blot on his copybook. Driver of the day for me, narrowly beating Lewis by virtue of the car underneath him being a Renault rather than a Mclaren, a car that probably has no right to be up there so high.

    1. peter says:

      Vettel hasn’t just left school, he’s been racing in various formulae for a few years now. Defend him by all means, but you must accept that he has too many rushes of blood to the head to be taken as serious WDC material.

      1. JimmiC says:

        I wouldn’t dream of defending him – he’s been a liability to the team at times this season. At least he appears to be learning some PR skills – he didn’t take responsibility for taking out Webber earlier in the year, but he apologised for removing Button.

        It’s a start I suppose..

  35. Bob says:

    Prior to this race Vettel declared the only thing that could prevent RBR from winning this years championship was “bad luck”.

    I would submit that he neglected to mention his own mistakes.

  36. JohnBt says:

    Hamilton deserved the victory rightfully without a doubt.
    Whoosh, he was right in front. Bye bye, lol.

    Webber and Hamilton closing in on WDC.
    No more 5 contenders, only two now.

    Alonso put on a good show overtaking until…..
    Vettel was awful. He needs a shrink.

    Overall the race was fanstastic!!! Spa is the best track assisted with fickle weather conditions. Perfect.

  37. Matt B says:

    Wow, hardly a glowing assessment of Hamilton’s race

    Sounds like you were dissapointed someone else didn’t win, if Button won today we would have had the “stunning win in difficult conditions” and the dreaded “Button’s smooth driving puts him in a class of one”

    Hamilton’s win today came off the back of a race in hungary which saw Hamilton suffer a DNF and McLaren end up over a second off the pace. Surely today’s win against a Red Bull team which is far superior merits a few choice superlatives…….

    Yours sincerely,

    Hamilton Super Fanboy (thought id get in there first)

  38. Russell says:

    I agree. Vettel is exceptionally quick but his ability to race is weak. How quickly he will acquire some racecraft is an important question for Redbull. The probem is both racecraft and mental overheating when the situation is less than perfect.

  39. Debb says:

    Firstly, congratulations to Lewis Hamilton for a great driver today!.
    Im gutted for Jenson driving fantastic and then bam- Vettel attempts to overtake!!
    There is no denying that Vettel is an extremely quick driver and his qualifying this year has been superb, but you need alot more than that to become an F1 world champion. It seems at the moment that Vettel can only run and hide for victories and if he is placed under pressure he crumbles( E.g. the clash with Webber,clash with Sutil and panic at the start of races when he is alongside Alonso)- I hope that he proves me wrong and improves, but at the minute I dont see him in the same league as Button, Webber, Hamilton, Alonso, Massa and Kubica

    1. Darren says:

      I Agree with you Debb ! Ive never really liked him but as you say you cannot take away his pace…

      Although that is all it is … Pace, He clearly cant “Race” we’re seeing that this year and snippets of it last…

      In my eyes what he said in the Apology was rubbish ! Its a damp track so obviously the breaking will be slightly longer, He went for the inside then realized there wasn’t enough room (And out-braked himself) pulled to the left and then came a cropper !

      His own mistake but he cost Button the championship …

      Then you have the Incident with Sutil … That just sums it up !

      1. Debb says:

        I have been saying to my friends since early last season that if Vettel could start a race in about 7th position and finish on the podium by overtaking other cars on the track then I would be impressed. I just remember when he was driving for Toro Rosso and crashed with Webber and Webber said something along the lines of” Thats what happens when you let kids in the sport…they mess things up.” Sadly, for Jenson today very little has changed! To be fair to Vettel I think that it wasnt deliberate- although that does not change the fact that Buttons title hopes have taken a major blow.

  40. Freespeech says:

    Hamilton is easily the best current driver in F1, his drive today was superb, maybe even James Allen will concede that Hamilton is a better driver than Alonso!?

    Vettel should at least receive a one race ban for what he did today, the lad just cannot overtake and today he ruined Button’s championship hope

    1. James Allen says:

      LOL at your first line!

      1. David says:

        Lol – I don’t think so.

        Alonso was the best driver in F1 for a few years in the mid 2000′s in his championship winning years at Renault and deserved his success.

        However, Hamilton has now surpassed him as the most complete (and fastest) driver in the field and he has not even reached his peak as a driver.

        Ferrari were looking for a Schumacher replacement. On the evidence of Alonso’s performances in 2010, they need to keep looking.

      2. Faisal says:

        Alonso is having just another bad time in his career, recovering from the 2 year slumber he had in Renault. What will be your opinion if next year Lewis is in Alonso’s shoes in Valencia, gets tagged by Button at the start, nudges the wall and heavily damages the chassis that he cannot participate in qualifying ?

        Alonso has been erratic and I as Alonso fan have no problem swallowing this extremely bitter fact but he has been UNLUCKY at few occasions.

        These kind of things happen to anyone. Hamilton will find himself in similar situation if Barrichello hits his car and contrary to Ferrari tank, his car breaks into pieces, instead of getting away with gravel trap moment, hits it like PDLR hit yesterday. In F1 luck counts a lot and currently, it’s not just on Alonso’s side.

        Alonso really hasn’t yet proven for what he was brought at Ferrari but at least it can be easily said that he is doing better than Kimi Raikkonen who couldn’t match Massa and showed lack of interest and fighting spirit. Alonso might be falling to the back of order in races but look at his spirit, fights back in a tigerrish style

      3. Tom (London) says:

        Alonso inferiority complex has been very interesting to watch this year. He has become obsessed with Hamiton and it has been to the detriment of his own driving.

      4. James Allen says:

        Don’t you think that feeling started in 2007? Not sure I agree with your view on him today.

      5. Lilla My says:

        I totally disagree with the Hamilton obsession thing. People should really get over 2007.

        I think Alonso is a bit obsessed with winning the title and he gets mad when he sees his chances flying away. Everybody bases their assesment on the Hamilton overtaking the safety car incident and Alonso’s comments on his team radio then. But I think these weren’t comments targeted on Hamilton personally, but on a driver that broke a rule and got away with it and is leading the championship. I’m quite sure he would have reacted exactly the same if it had been any other driver in Hamilton’s shoes. He was just mad that the gap between him and the LEADER (and not Hamilton) is increasing due to breaking a rule, while it was blown out of proportion and misjudged because it involved Hamilton. I think people try to see too much meaning sometimes…

        He was a bit obssessed with Hamilton back in 2007 but it’s changed since then. Basing on Alonso’s and Hamilton’s interviews only I believe they truely respect each other now. May not be friends outside of the track, but there’s mutual respect regarding the driving skills and no obssesion really.

        P.S. I heard Alonso saying after Spa that Lewis deserved the win as he was the best that day.

      6. Tom (London) says:

        @Lilla

        Agreed I think Lewis and Alonos have a lot of respect for one another.

        I hadn’t picked up Alonso’s comments after Spa.

      7. C Lin says:

        Come on James, everyone knows you are a big fan of Alonso & Ferrari lol.

        Hamilton the new King of Spa.

    2. Nando says:

      It would appear Hamilton has improved more since 2007 than Alonso. Hamilton was the quicker driver in 2007 but his inexperience and a helping hand from Alonso cost him the championship.

      1. Faisal says:

        Hamilton HAS improved a lot , no second thought on that. However people forget that since his arrival in F1, he has had the car that’s been no worse than 3rd best car and pretty reliable. This makes his record look pretty good and no one should have a problem with that, his luck he is getting the fruit. But to suggest that he has been comprehensively better than his competitors is a bit too much. IMO Alonso did a better job in Renault in 2008, Button also did no worse in 2009

    3. JohnBt says:

      Credit must be given to Alonso for catching up swiftly despite the mistake for the first pit stop. If you followed live timing, it was amazing to see the chunking of Alonso’s time as he caught up.

      Alonso is not in a great position for the WDC, but don’t rule him out yet as he’s a fighter never gives up. Despite all the negatives he received I’m still backing him.

      But I must admit Hamilton is maturing very well.

      1. David says:

        If Alonso is thought to be unlucky, consider that of the 2 races he has won this year, the first through default when the lead car retired, the second after his team mate gifted him the win. If that’s not luck, I don’t know what is. Many of the incidents this year have nothing to do with luck, but more his inability to handle pressure. Witness Valencia when he got hot headed and lost a place to Kobayashi, crashing in Monaco qualifying which was pure driver error, jumping the start at Sepang, undertaking Kubica at Silverstone and not returning the place straight away so therefore opening himself up for penalty and being outqualified by the No.2 driver Massa at Spa. The list of driver induced mistakes for Alonso 2010 spec is almost endless.

        Alonso was rightly considered the best in 2005-2006 for managing to combine strong pace, persistence and making very few mistakes. Alonso is a top 5 driver without a doubt, but he is no longer the top and anyone who thinks otherwise is looking through rose tinted spec’s at his previous achievements, and not the here and now.

  41. Nik Simpson says:

    The big question if RBR decide it’s for time Vettel to support Webber, is will Vettel actually do that? The bad blood between them may come back to haunt Webber before the season is over. I don’t have any doubts about Button taking one for the team, he knows it’s over for the title and he’s mature enough to deal with it, not sure about Vettel.

  42. SPIDERman says:

    MCLAREN should stop this habit of being too cautious to the point whereby they keep HAMILTON OUT FOR TOO LONG …to me he should have pited at the end of lap 34… to avoid a nerve racking perilious lap 35 which almost ended in the gravel…

    THAT was a disaster for Hamilton luckily and skillfully avoided…

    NOW for Vettel he cant perform under pressure …so at this rate his title chances are fast diminishing into nothingness this year.

    WITH SIX RACES LEFT can somebody calculate the mathematicle probability of any of the top six drivers winning the championship?

    1. vivek shetty says:

      Completely agree with you on the first paragraph!

  43. Mxx says:

    I wonder what RBR and Ferrari did to their front wings. They claim they are the same but have they maybe done something to them to make them stiffer just to see what kind of tests the FIA comes up with? And they’ll try to outsmart them again for next race….

    1. Matt B says:

      They definintely didn’t look as fast today…

    2. F1 Novice says:

      What ever they did they ain’t flexing like they used to check out Webber’s pole lap (in-car) at the end of the Kemmel straight I would say about 50% of the amount they used to flex

      http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/motorsport/formula_one/8952229.stm

      1. Mojo66 says:

        That’s because Spa is a medium to low downforce circuit compared to Hungary which is a high-downforce circuit. We have to wait after Monza to actually see if the front wing changed.

  44. nickname says:

    I agree that Vettel has not yet polished his racecraft, however its good for f1 to have a “rough-diamond” driver that we can watch develop into the best of them all, he is also setting the stage such that when he finally gets it all together we’ll all say
    “and to think this is the guy that used to be so rubbish at overtaking”

    1. Lilla My says:

      The only problem is that it’s his third year so it would be about time to be more or less polished… however, he doesn’t seem to be improving in overtaking. I even think that instead of learning how to overtake, it’s becoming his habit to crash into people. He might be still young, but if he doesn’t improve fast, crashing into others will really become his landmark and he will become next Nakajima only on a different level or a great wasted talent (cause you can’t deny his talent).
      So you can say he’s unpolished and young (in this case – irresponsible), but the longer he stays unpolished and irresponsible the more used to it he is and the harder for him it would be to change his ways. Thus, I think (despite his age) he doesn’t have that much time to change.

  45. Paul says:

    I think it’s too early to say that it is between Hamilton and Webber. Vettel is firmly still in the championship hunt. He has the best car and needs to execute a couple of clean weekends between now and Abu Dhabi. I believe he is quicker than Webber on pure pace, and we’ve seen in qualifying several times this year. He will be difficult to beat in Singapore, Suzuka and Abu Dhabi, but he needs to stop making silly errors like today.

    I think Button is out of the championship now. Hamilton is the quicker driver and McLaren need to back one driver now because their car isn’t quick enough.

    Difficult to tell about Alonso’s chances but a lot will depend on a potential penalty for Hockenheim.

    Certainly Hamilton and Webber are the favourites now, and I would be inclined to back Webber, even if he has been quite lucky this year.

    One thing I am confused about is Renault’s strategy before the rain fell. I don’t understand why they reacted to Webber’s stop for slicks when it was clear there would be rain. I can understand why Hamilton and Webber went conservative and pitted but had Kubica waited until the rain fell he probably would have won today, and Renault could have done with getting the opportunity to steal a win on strategy.

    1. Mario says:

      I agree with you on Renault strategy.

    2. JD says:

      It seems Renault really is following what Kubica said. The team are more concerned with closing the gap to the front rather than going for opportunistic results. Renault had two chances today to take a risk on tires but instead chose to follow the leaders. While it shows a long term focus, which usually is a good thing, I sure hope their 2011 car will be up to the task to justify their decision making today.

    3. bill says:

      what are you talking about, webber and kubica pitted for slicks around lap 22 and the rain fell at lap 34, do you think kubica would keep the pace for another 84 km on option tyre, that was the only correct strategy there was. excelent race

  46. Peter says:

    Brilliant win by Hamilton – controlled the race expertly. And as for Vettel – I really like the guy but the mistakes he has been making are just incredibly destructive to his and others chances. And as for Alonso – don’t know what to say. He had an erratic race and the fact he crashed out when the rest were comfortably hadnling the conditions was bizarre!

    1. Lilla My says:

      As for Vettel – maybe Red Bull has decided to back Webber now and Vettel’s role is to get rid of the rest of the contenders and crashing into them is the only way he knows…

      As for Alonso – I think he is too demending on himself and wants to win the championship too much, which makes him drive on the verge all the time, thus making him more mistakes-prone. Sometimes it pays off, sometimes it doesn’t (like today). And judging from Stella’s comments on the team radio, he’s not that good in calming down. If he only manages to calm down, he’ll be the Alonso from 2006 again and that would be just great. I hope to see him back on top in Monza.

  47. nash says:

    Vettel when in the heat of the moment… in that zone…wheel to wheel dicing.. becomes very unpredictable…

    While he was chasing Button I was becoming nervous and had to think of David Coulthard’s remark once, about Takuma Sato… something along the lines of “he (DC) never feels comfortable having him (TS) close… very unpredictable driver”… if someone can dig up the original quote.

    Vettel seems to be building that same reputation… of being unpredictable..

    Is a shame really for himself, the team, other drivers… I guess that is what Whitmarsh meant with not the level of driving one would expect in F1.

    Perhaps some martial arts would be good for Vettel.. close body-to-body combat, heat of the moment and still keeping a centred mind.

    (and perhaps that is why Lewis (martial arts practitioner) is so calm headed in wheel to wheel dicing… who knows..

  48. Érico says:

    Fantastic drive by Lewis. This was the exact result Mclaren and him needed to begin their final charge into the season. Webber is close in the championship, but truth the aussie can only beat Lewis on the wekeends the RB6 is vastly superior. Whenever the Mclaren comes too close for comfort, it’s Lewis who prevails. It’s looking good for the WDC.

    Where is the 2005/2006 Alonso? The guy driving with his name since 2007 takes one (or two) step back every time he manages two steps forward. Is this what they wanted to fill Kimi’s seat?

    And Vettel, hum, when will the rookie mistakes cease?

  49. Ian Blackwell says:

    Super race by Lewis. He thoroughly deserved the win. Mark Webber drove a mature, championship calibre race too and managed to salvage nearly everything (not for the first time this season) which is more than can be said for his teammate and Alonso. Its hard to look past these two for the championship now. One must also point out another excellent drive from Kobayashi who has been fairly consistent of late. Surely he must be destined for greater things.

  50. Robert Lujan says:

    Vettel Again! OMG. I am big fan of his, but this reckless driving has got to stop…. He has hit everything on the track and off it, including his teammate. That is just ridiculous…. I feel for Button today and hope he can get his championship back on track and take on Hamilton and Webber. Red Bull please keep Vettel away from these three as they fight for the championship in a clean way. If not I hope the FIA do something about his driving. Also, my hat goes off to Kubica and Sutil. As I wrote here before the race those two were the ones to watch. And they didn’t disappoint. Go Sutil! At least he gets his car to the finish in one piece!

    1. Mojo66 says:

      While my hat goes off for Sutil too, compared to last year, they actually moved backwards (Fisico on pole, finished 2nd).

  51. MR says:

    Surley logical and justice dictates that Vettel should get a grid penalty for Monza because he took out a championship rival when (I know it was early on) he was on for a 2nd or perhaps a win causing him to score 0 points which Vettel did as well and probably would of regardless of drive through, therefore he has not lost anything to Button when it was his mistake and Button did nothing wrong and in a position to overtake Vettel in the championship. Surely then Vettel deserves a grid penalty to actually penalise him for ruining a rivals race and probably championship?

    1. tharris19 says:

      No grid penalty! that would mean that he will have to race someone who is a contender for WDC.

  52. Tony says:

    Was vettel expecting more front end grip when trying to get past JB ? A change to the front end of the car that wasn’t there before? I love a good conspiracy theory.

    1. mtb says:

      On the topic of conspiracy theories, why weren’t any of the championship contenders ahead of Webber penalised for cutting the chicane and not giving up the advantage that they obtained?

      This is as credible as most of the so-called theories that do the rounds…

    2. Mojo66 says:

      Maybe he forgot to adjust the brake balance for this particular corner. Since a few years, F1 cars have a three-way lever to adjust brake balance during the course of a lap.

  53. James says:

    Even being at the “young end” of his F1 career, the pressure to get the title must be huge for Vettel. The RB car has been awesome and could have done it last year. These things come in cycles and RB won’t have the advantage forever, so it’s a question of making hay, so to speak. Webber seems to be a able to let the race results come to him at times, something that maybe Vettel isn’t comfortable with. I guess the driver that’s behind his teammate on points will always feel the need to push on, leading to perhaps some silly errors, as Webber has also done in the past. Unless of course, there is a clear number 1 in the team…..

    1. Steven says:

      I dont think its so much that that he’s behind in points, thats part of it, but not all. I think all the hype that he has received as the next best driver and WC, and the fact that he has the best car in the grid has got to him. Its almost like he expects to win, he could have got a third today, but he lacks patience.

      Some drivers get the best car and they win, others just dont have it. Its starting to look like SV doesnt have it. LH got a lot of crap for coming into F1 with the best car, but he won with it right away, against the defending champ. SV cant beat a driver that everyone thought was slow and washed out because of his age. Instead Weeber finally got a break, he finnaly got a car that he could win with and he has taken advantage of it. Hes no match for LH in a good enough car though, it would have been interesting to see SV against LH today, how would SV react?

      Roll on MONZA!!

  54. Christine says:

    Just a thought but Lewis may want to keep well away from Vettel in Monza, as he could be next on Vettel’s list of people to take out!

  55. Matt says:

    I expected Vettel to come back from the break refreshed and refocused. Once again it was Hamilton who showed that he has this ability come back from adversity and to focus when it really matters. In the past Vettel has behaved with an air of arrogance and entitlement. For all his love of the English, he is in danger of turning into the role that Schumacher once provided – the modern day villain.

    A battle between Webber and Hamilton for the title is mouth watering. Cant say who I would prefer to win.

  56. rolo.cz says:

    Mr James, I was thinking, in addition to your fine “your driver of the day” poll, you should also setup a “showman of the race poll”. This time I would vote for Vettel.

    I have no criticism for Vettel, I think he’s been the (unintentional) architect of the most amazing and surprising moment of the race.

    Those moments break the monotony of the race and create the opportunities for interesting results, keeping me watching the race.

    regards

    1. Mojo66 says:

      I could very well live without that moment…

  57. dkfone says:

    James, can you shed any light on Schumachers form. There is no apparent pattern with some awful races and then today where i thought he drove brilliantly. Also he used be great at quali and awful at starts while this year is the opposite. Would be interested to hear your thoughts

  58. Lilla My says:

    Everybody keeps on talking about Vettel’s lack of race craft. And that made me wonder… I mean – does he really lack race craft and simply can’t judge the situation correctly and doesn’t know when and how to overtake? Or is it the outcome of his poor psychological strenght? I mean, maybe he would be perfectly able to judge the situation if he just calmed down? Or is it something in between – his got poor race craft plus he’s mentally fragile?

    Lewis should definitely watch out in Monza. If we assume that there are still five title contenders (I honestly hope that’s the case so that it would be fascinating till the end), then Lewis is definitly next on Sebastian’s list – Vettel took Webber out in Turkey, had a go at Alonso at the start in Germany (though was quite unsuccessful) and now ruined Button’s race. That leaves Hamilton as the last of his rivals. I will be really surprised if Vettel missed that and didn’t try to do something to Lewis too soon…

  59. Kitty says:

    I cannot believe Vettel. Maybe this will teach RB not to put all their eggs in one basket. Or at least make sure their young drivers program includes teaching how to overtake without crashing into people or taking bits off other cars.

    He’s done it too many times now. And proven once again that he still loses his head under pressure.

    Lewis is extremely competitive + you can see he gives his all. Glad Webber managed 2nd.

  60. Oliver N says:

    I’m a big fan of Seb Vettel, but I have to say that today’s incident(s)is beginning to show signs of a guy who is out of his depth. I don’t doubt that in the fullness of time he will turn out to be a great driver, but his propensity for unforced errors suggests that he needs a few seasons at a lower team where he can polish his craft without the glare of the F1 media dissecting every move he makes. Perhaps he has been elbowed into the limelight a gnats too early for his own good.

    1. James Allen says:

      Not out of his depth, but showing signs of pressure now he is expected to win the championship, rather than being in the “challenging rookie” mould

      1. F1Maniac says:

        Too many willing to pronounce Vettel as the worst driver ever now, let’s wait till the end of the season before we all pronounce judegement. Hamilton is now in the form of his life, he too had scrapes early on in his career and was labelled as a crasher by some, he hasn’t turned out too badly now has he!

      2. Oliver N says:

        True enough, but the ability to cope with the pressure that comes with challenging for titles is much of the defining factor between those who win, and those who come close. It got to Hamilton in his first season, but he quickly learned to cope. Seb clearly hasn’t got there yet.

  61. Sinnae404 says:

    Behaviour around La Source was very good, after Nigel Mansell’s warning. How ironic, considering he pioneered that line in 1989!

  62. Nic Maennling says:

    I’m sure that near the end of the race I could hear Massa shout over his radio “Not bad for a number two driver !”

    1. James Allen says:

      Yes, but in this case not “great” either

  63. Ryan T says:

    Given the fact that Webber’s poor start was down to a problem with the clutch, not his own performance, my vote goes to the Aussie.
    Everyone else made some kind of error.. although Hamilton’s didn’t cost him a place, and his race was superb, he did have clean air from start to finish so there really wasn’t too much he needed to do besides keep his nose clean to take the win.

  64. fausta says:

    Such a fantastic race! It would have been perfect if anyone other than LH won the race.

    There is not much to say about Vettel, hopefully he will grow out of these foolish misjudgements.

  65. Cameron Isles says:

    Wow, Charlie Whiting has the safety car on speed dial doesn’t he?

    F1′s insurance just gone up or summat?

  66. Volkan ARDA says:

    Spa and Istanbul may be two completely different incidents, but what Vettel did to Button proves yet again who’s the new “Kamikaze” in F1… :)) This ain’t Play Station kiddo, you’ll get someone killed……

  67. Grabyrdy says:

    Some drivers seem to be instinctive passers right from the off (Lewis, Montoya, Nigel …), others are very very quick but never do quite seem to nail this bit.

    Is it something you can learn ? Anyone recall a driver who started out just quick, like Junior, and learnt to be a demon passer with time ?

    Rôle for a coach, James ? If so, who could teach him, and how ?

    1. James Allen says:

      I don’t think you can learn, but you can improve. Damon Hill springs to mind. Vettel is forced to grow up in the spotlight. He’s very quick but lacks some of the racecraft of a Hamilton. Good brain on him though

  68. Aey says:

    My Idea about punishment of Vettel today . . . I think he deserve that

    One might argue that . . that is racing accident on the damp track. . . . OK It was not his intension but why he still deserve the punishment?

    In his case . . that should be avoidable accident.

    Normally, if you have a chance to take over, you should do, or should try . . let say 50:50 . . if in the case of 50 : 50 and then shit happen. . . that OK to call it – racing incidence. . . Otherwise no one will try to pass.

    but for the case that Vettel hit button . . . that should be avoidable accident . . . becasue if he read the situation where his car is . . there is no way he can overtake button.

    if he read the situation more carefully, he should hit the brake early and solfly then his car wouldn’t snap that way . . I think he hit the brake to hard when he know latelly that he couldn’t over take button and the why he lose control of his car. . . . when there is no chance, don’t do some stupid thing.

    in the same stupid error, if it was with another no name driver, there must be the big blame from team boss. but for Vettel, it might be exception as he is still the team or the boss favorite.

    In my Opinion, Vettel don’t have the quality to be the top driver soon . . . look from his several stupid error. every top driver have errrors, but I think he have more.

    He only have speed but less analysis skill in the game.. . . only his speed cannot take him to be World Champion.

    Actuallly, This year is very great chance for him to be WC . . . He got far superior car but cannot convert it to the result. . . . when is his next chance .. who know?

    If next year, Redbull car is not much faster than the rest like this year . . . where will vettel be.

    I think as a qulity driver, Lewis is much better than Vettel . . . I think he have the least crash with other driver compare to the ohter top driver.

    This year, Vettel have not shown the impressive drive that he deserve to be the WC, I would prefer Mark to be WC rather than Vettel, But as a McLaren Fan I will cheer Lewis more anyway.

    Just hope the performance of McLaren car will be better for the rest, enough to take a fight with Redbull.

  69. k miles says:

    the man who supposedly ended schumacher’s career crashed out in the rain on intermedaites in a ferrari!!! JAMES ALLEN please wake up and smell the cofee!will you finally stop blowing his trumpet! alonso is no schumacher rather a lucky driver who was exposed for what he really is!

  70. Richard G says:

    Vettel hits button, Spa 2010. A lot of movement in SV’s front wing. Super-elusive flexing wing at work 22/23s into this clip? http://dai.ly/9DVKAS

  71. Marcello says:

    Vetel needs to go back to karting and learn how to overtake safely.

    Lewis was quite simply brilliant.

  72. Nathan says:

    James, is there a reason why they changed the set up of the post race press conference? I’m actually referring back to when they had the plasma screen on the front of the desk with replays of the best parts of the race with the driver’s views on it. Would have loved to seen Hamilton’s reaction when he went off, Webber’s at the start and Kubica’s pit box error. Also some other races like turkey with Hamilton and Button passing each other and Webber with the crash. It is a part I really enjoyed and would love to see it again.

    1. James Allen says:

      They are evolving it. I think they’d like to have that facility, but it’s how best to achieve that

  73. Dani says:

    I would like to mention that Felipe Massa overrun the starting grid in this GP.

    There is proof in Youtube:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iO52rGxhty0

    The stewards didn’t react, how sad.

  74. MontanaVista says:

    If they were on the same tyres, would Webber have had a better run against Hamilton in the closing laps?

LEAVE A COMMENT

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Top Tags
SEARCH News
JA ON F1 In association with...
Download the chequered flag podcast today
Download the chequered flag podcast today
MTS
Industry-Leading Testing and Sensing Solutions
Multi award winning Formula One photographer
Multi award winning Formula One photographer