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Posted By: James Allen  |  28 Aug 2011   |  4:56 pm GMT  |  60 comments

Today was a fascinating Belgian Grand Prix with Sebastian Vettel taking the lead on four separate occasions, giving an idea of how things chopped and changed.

Here are a few other numbers from today’s race to provide food for thought:

There were 8 lead changes in the first 18 laps.

Vettel today moved onto 259 points, which is more than he scored all of last season in clinching the 2010 World Championship

Vettel becomes only the second winner at Spa from pole position since 2002. The other was Raikkonen in 2007.

It was Vettel’s 17th win, from his 24th pole, his 30th podium and 50th points finish – in just 74 starts.

It’s the first win at Spa for a Renault engine since 1995 – when Michael Schumacher won in a Benetton-Renualt.

Webber and Vettel extend their streak of both finishing in the top five at every race this season. E

It was Red Bull’s 10th one-two finish in F1, but only the second this year.

Button made up 10 places to secure his 3rd place finish. Prior to today he had done the most on track passes this season with 39, he added a few good ones today.

Button’s 15 points today are his first at Spa for six years.

Schumacher becomes the sixth driver in a row to score points after being eliminated in Q1.

Rosberg again failed to finish in his grid position or better. He has only managed it once this season (Silverstone)

Maldonado was penalised yesterday, but today got his first championship point, only the second scored by a Venezuelan (Jonny Ceccotto was 6th at Long Beach in 1983)

Watch out for the full in depth analysis of how and why the key decisions were made in today’s race in JA on F1′s UBS Strategy Report, on Tuesday,

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60 Comments
  1. John Starton says:

    Should Hamilton be punished more harshly this time – for example with two reprimands at once?

    1. mo kahn says:

      I think its down to Hamilton to alter his driving style and drive with a little bit more respect to his surroundings… I see more of Stephan Bellof in him and we all know what happened to him at Spa when he tried to pull an audacious move on Jacky Iycx.

      We saw an exact same manoeuvre by Sebastian on Alonso and it was inch perfect, Alonso was in the exact same place at KK was and Seb stuck on the inside and made the pass stick.

      I think complete disregard to his surroundings is what is keeping Hamilton achieve is completeness.

      He has the speed, but has a respect deficit.

      For Sebastian being younger than him is all set to becoming the youngest double world champion and he never would’ve achieved this by disregard to his surroundings.

      1. Paulo Miranda says:

        I don’t see it that way, the drivers mirros don’t let you see much, and he passed koba before the DRS zone, and he was in front when opened the DRS, he expected to be clear of Koba and got back to the normal racing line to get a better drive in the corner.

        In canada people accepted that Buttond didn’t saw Hamilton, but here Hamilton has to be aware of his surroundings. Please use the same criteria.

        I think Hamilton was the one to be blamed in Canada and in here, but in both i don’t see reason for penalty, in one he had the speed and tried to overtake before Button closed the door, in here he was in front and tried to get back to the normal line.

        Its racing incident, it happens.

        Vettel has more % of retirements due to accidents than hamilton if i recall right the stats.

      2. Umar A Hayat says:

        The Jenson-Hamilton(watch canadian Grand Prix again) and Hamilton-Kobiyashi situations are very different to each other. Hamilton overtook Kobiyashi and went to take the racing line without taking in account how much further he was ahead. What was Kobiyashi supposed to do? Disappear in thin air or brake as his highness Hamilton has to move across and he has to give him room. This is the same as what happened between Vettel-Webber in Turkey 2010. Vettel move across on webber to take the racing line when he hasnt even passed him completely.

      3. StallionGP F1 says:

        You have that wrong most of Vettel’s retirements have been due to car failure can only remember 3 accidents from him japan with webber turkey 10 and spa 10 correct me if am wrong

      4. Serrated_Edge says:

        Jenson, managed to make many overtakes today without incident…and he had his right hand side mirror missing form lap 1!

      5. Paulo Miranda says:

        @Umar A Hayat
        I didn’t said that they were the same.
        but in both situations you have to look at your mirrors to see if anyone is making a move? I’m just saying that Hamilton had a good reason to think he had clear space, most of people will agree that after overtaking someone in a slower car and opening DRS should give a good space, and that happened in most overtakes, but today Mclaren didn’t had the speed they used too.
        Mate i said that it was lewis faul, but its a racing incident that doesn’t need further action, because you see him look at the right, and he had a reason to believe that he was past koba. My opinion.

        @StallionGP F1
        From the top of my head Australia against Kubica. Had to search a bit to find more data.
        I made the calcs early this season, before canada, and Vettel had more retirements due to accidents(not failures)than Hamilton in %. With that said, hamilton clearly has more issues, he just doesn’t retire always (ex: monaco).

      6. Paulo Miranda says:

        @StallionGP F1

        I’m counting accidents without taking into consideration who’s fault it is, that is a bit subjective to peoples opinion.

      7. StallionGP F1 says:

        @ Paulo Miranda last season alone hamilton was involved in 4 collisions so i dont get where ur stats are coming from not looking @ this season so what exactly is your point Vettel has been blighted by mechanical failures in his car more than hamilton. I think spa ’10 has confused peoples perception about Vettel and his crashes as he had an eventful race there if that is looked at that way then you can look @ monte carlo and say hamilton had 5 crashes.

      8. The Shepherd says:

        I think Lewis was too slow after overtaking KK. I don’t know whether he is worried more and more lately about his tyres. Why was he too slow at start, anyways?

    2. Brett says:

      How can people think this is Hamilton’s fault? KK had no business being where he was, and from the replay it looked like KK even steered into Hamilton when he realized he was running out of road.

      I mean, KK is driving around slowly, with a broken front wing, and Hamilton was catching him at like 2+ seconds per lap. KK gets passed in the DRS zone and then thinks, “hey maybe if I just somehow go around the outside of Hamilton at turn 7 I can get him on turn 8″

      There is no way he could have gotten around the outside on turn 7 – there just is no room there. He should not have been there, in fact he should have been in the pits getting that wing changed before it broke off and killed someone.

      KK was 100% at fault for this one. He was running out of road, and instead of braking he decided to turn in instead.

      I am not a big fan of Hamilton – he makes his share of mistakes, but even I have to say that if the roles were reversed, Hamilton would have gotten a penalty.

      A great race was ruined early by KK. It was shaping up to be a great one before the safety car.

      Great drive by Schumacher today – 19 positions is pretty amazing, especially since the Mercedes is not the fastest car in the field this year (well maybe in a straight line)

  2. Jon Wilde says:

    James,

    Do you think Hamilton may have been knocked unconscious in the incident today? he didn’t move for a few second after the impact and made no attempt to brake.

    Something about what happened doesn’t add up to me.

    1. Paulo Miranda says:

      He was ok, i think he was just frustrated for the race ending…

    2. mo kahn says:

      Stunned or Shocked probably, but definitely not unconscious for the window to regain consciousness would’ve been longer than that.

    3. Mark m says:

      That’s what I thought especially with the first interview given by hamilton. It was full of mistakes. It was a big impact when it damages the Armco like that

    4. drums says:

      Not unconscius but dizzy for a few seconds while going along the wall after the first frontal crash. There Hamilton’s left hand was not grabbing the steering wheel, and the right one was not moving it to avoid the final crash. This can be seen on the video footage.

      Yes, I understand no maneover could possibly have avoided the second crash, because of the front wheels triangles and bars damage, but some kind of reflex handling was to be expected anyway. In fact, on Spanish TV live commentaries Pedro de la Rosa was remarking that lack of Hamilton’s refex driving.

      1. Peter C says:

        If you keep your hands gripping the steering wheel when having an accident, you end up with broken thumbs.

        When the situation is beyond retrieval, all the experienced drivers let go of the wheel before impact.

        Different on an XBox.

      2. drums says:

        I stand corrected, but then Hamilton had one hand free and the other gripped.

      3. drums says:

        Seriously, Hamilton’s right hand on the steering wheel and left one out of it was after, I said, after the first crash and all along the way from the car rebound within the track to out alongside the track and then to the final crash.

        In such quite a long lapse it was occasion to try driving the car out of its straight trajectory (I repeat, on the base of pure reflex action without taken into account the damages on the car). But Hamilton did not try to do it.

        Moreover, before the final crash Hamilton did not take out his right hand out of the steering wheel. It can be seen on the video recording.

      4. legend465 says:

        +1

        Yep. Gotta let go of the steering wheel. Obviously many of you just play xbox.

      5. Jacques Villeneuve disagrees. He always maintained that it was better to support yourself with the wheel. His two massive accidents at Eau Rouge didn’t hurt his thumbs.

      6. drums says:

        As ditto above twice. Out of the steering wheel when crashing. Trying to drive the car when possible. In any case, not to have one hand holding grip and the other loosing it.

        May be PdlR knows better than you and me. FYI, I don’t play Xbox.

    5. Jon Wilde says:

      No comment from the team though.

      Either it’s nothing, or it won’t be mentioned through fear of not being able to compete in Monza.

      It’s a real shame for Lewis.

      I don’t really understand why he was so slow on the straight, Kobayashi caught him even with the Mclaren having DRS activated. Jenson was on a dry weather set up, surely Lewis had the same.

    6. Bevan says:

      If it doesn’t feel right its because it wasn’t.
      Not half a lap before this incident with LH & KK we all saw how KK should have handled this situation ,when LH came up next to VP at Blanchimont,LH rightfully & professionally lifted off the throttle,simple thing to do.
      Kamui (Sato) Koboyashi should emulate his fellow countrymen Takuma & move to a series more of his speed,there’s an opening there,Danica Patrick’s seat is available & will more aptly suit Kamui (Takuma Sato) Koboyashi’s skill level,they appreciate hot empty heads in that series. .

    7. Alex W says:

      Yes he was knocked out for a few seconds, you couldn’t see it on the UK feed because his head was obsured by onscreen graphics, but the world feed showed it much, much clearer, that’s why BBC commentators were unconcerned, while I and many others around the world were seriously worried for a few seconds. Hamilton himself thinks he didn’t get KO’d but he is the last guy that would know (if you’ve ever been concussed you will know what I mean)
      Along with the total lack of head movement, the main point is the total lack of braking, you only see that in KO’s (ie: Massa) or brake failures(which it was not).

      1. My first thought on seeing it was that he must’ve been knocked out by the initial impact with the armco, as he didn’t appear to try and slow the car before the final shunt into the soft barrier and then was very still.He was up on the pitwall very soon afterwards though and there’s no way the course doctor would’ve let him go without a thorough checkup if he’d lost consciousness for any length of time.

        Isn’t there some sort of impact meter built into the steering wheel now, that automatically requires a driver to go to the medical centre if deceleration exceeds a certain limit? I thought there was also a crash alarm that has to be deactivated by the driver, so race control will know if they are dealing with an unconscious driver or not.

  3. **Paul** says:

    Vettels record is incredible considering he had a season in a Torro Rosso.

    1. Galapago555 says:

      Actually he drove for “Toro Rosso”, no “Torro Rosso” team as far as I know… ;-)

      1. Michael T says:

        Pedantic much? BTW I think you meant ‘not’ Toro Rosso. Just seeing as we are correcting spelling…. :)

  4. goferet says:

    Meh the Red Bull’s stats are depressing.

    How on earth can Vettel’s worst qualifying grid position the entire so far be third place & more depressing is that his worst finishing position has been fourth. The rest he has been first & second – All this without a DNF.

    Look I wouldn’t mind one bit if Vettel was achieving his out-of-this-world stats if he was the best driver on the grid like Schumi was but we all know with all things being equal Alonso & Hamilton would wipe the floor with him – And that’s why it hurts

    Yes the sooner this season ends the better & I for one take comfort in the fact that I won’t see often a smile on the Wunder kid’s face next year.

    Drivers who get eliminated in Q1 have a unfair advantage for look, Rosberg began in 5th place & was beaten by somebody that came from 24th – That isn’t F1 but rather a video game.

    As for Jenson, yes, he is going to make the most overtakes for when you have the best car on race day but don’t qualify too good, that’s inevitable.

    Meanwhile isn’t it shocking that Webber hasn’t won a single race but yet he’s looking good to secure 2nd place in the WDC!

    No doubt, Red Bull have the best strategists in the paddock, am always left in awe when I recall the dummy the Red Bull posse fed Alonso in Abu-Dhabi last year.

    Horner doesn’t look smart on the outside but it appears he has grey matter after all.

    Congratulations to Red Bull, they beat us fair & square this year

  5. giorgio0078 says:

    Interesting start-finish for Ferrari,
    Alonso: P8 – P4
    Massa: P4 – P8

  6. gil dogon says:

    I think the most surprising/amazing number here is that BOTH RedBull drivers have finished in the top 5 at all races this season! I am not a RedBull fan, but they are the new Ferrari, and it seems indeed that the myth of Newey producing brilliant but unreliable cars is no longer applicable.

    1. JF says:

      Agreed: Newey makes a fine car, no longer so fragile. All the cars are more robust these days with parc ferme rules etc. Don’t know the stats off hand but over the last 20 years most of the dominant cars have come from either Newey or Byrne (with a brief interlude from Renault). Since Byrne has retired, Newey has little competition!

  7. brendan says:

    there race was a but of a joke. Why didnt they pit under SC? they blew the one big advantage they had which was better tyre wear.

    if fernando had pitted with seb he would of been able to put seb under pressure when seb’s tyres would of gone off and probably forced him to pit earlier(to get the under cut) and maybe do the original planned 4 stops.

    instead they continued for ages on already old tyres leaving seb to walk off under no pressure, therefore not as much tyre wear. fernando pitted earlier(than they would of on fresh tyres) to go onto slow hards. Losing so much time!

    madness. Red bull must love racing against ferrari and mclaren this year. they are making their life easy for them.

    1. stoikee says:

      Agreed! Considering Alonso is blistering fast on that softer tyre, my first thought on the SC was for them to pit. I guess they over estimate their pace on the harder compound.

  8. Jaco says:

    If I’m not mistaken this is the first time in 12 races at Spa that Ferrari or McLaren didn’t win – this makes the RBR 1-2 very very impressive. I think they clearly managed to make a step forward in the summer break. I think in reality Vettel needs on more win to make 100% sure of the championship, but he’ll probably win it in India for real.

    1. James Draper says:

      I just thought Ferrari were flat and McLaren had their usual errors which are rampant this year. Redbull didn’t need to do anything special even though they had blister problems.

      1. I have to agree, it was McLaren’s for the taking. Without Button’s qualifying snafu and Hamilton’s accident, I’d have been impressed if they found a way not to come home 1-2. It is to Red Bull’s credit that they were able to capitalise on this so fully, at a circuit that doesn’t really favour their car.

  9. Jeff Squire says:

    Great drive from Schummacher today.

    Lets hope Mercedes can build a decent car next season and have him on the podium 1 last time before he is gone forever.

    Like him or not, it is great to see if him out there. A genuine living legend.

    1. Ivan Julian says:

      Well, to be fair, the word ‘decent’ is a relative term in this context. Compared to every other class of motor racing, the Mercedes F1 car would be unbeatable – and even in comparison to the 12 manufacturers in this year’s Championship, Mercedes currently sits 4th in the Constructors points.

      I agree with you that a win in his second F1 career would be a lovely thing to see. Just saying that the Mercedes car isn’t catastrophically bad. Few vehicles on the planet can take Eau Rouge like the Mercedes can – indeed there are only 3 teams who can, it would seem.

    2. Giovanni says:

      Great Sunday Drive Schumi!
      Although Rozberg is ahead on points has anyone looked at Michaels stats for this year he has always finished ahead of his starting grid position not so for Rozberg, twas nice to see the old boy pass him on Sunday regardless of different tyres he did start from 24th! All i can say is give this man the car and he will deliver!

  10. Edgp says:

    Spa class track and racing the DRS was a bit much but how can bernie possibly leave this track off every 2nd year every corner on it is better than than anything the rest of the calendar has to offer he should make sure it stays

  11. Richard says:

    I think what caused the Hamilton-Kobayashi incident was that Kobayashi turned in on Hamilton from the outside as Hamilton adopted his normal racing line. Most drivers from behind slow down sufficiently to turn in across the back of the car in front avoiding any contact. It was a fifty-fifty thing which is why I expect the stewards decided to take no further action. Unfortunate for Hamilton he came off worse. That said the Red Bull team have set a very high standard in terms of consistency this year and if McLaren are to seriously challenge them next year they need to smarten up their act wholesale.

    1. I don’t think Kobayashi really ‘turned in’, but he should have got off the throttle and let Hamilton return to the racing line.

      By the same token, Lewis didn’t really need to get right back on the racing line so soon. He could’ve left a Sauber’s width and cleared Kobayashi in earnest before the next corner. Personally I’d say it’s 60-40, with Kobayashi perhaps slightly more to blame. It was a risk Hamilton didn’t need to take, though.

      I thought Brundle made in interesting point about Button’s passes – that he knew which drivers to trust and which to be more careful around. The same was true of Webber; how many other drivers apart from Alonso would you gamble on safely passing through Eau Rouge? I reckon maybe two.

      Hamilton clearly knows when he’s ‘got’ a corner and when he can turn in or return to the normal racing line, but I wonder if there’s another thought process that he needs to develop if he’s to avoid these kind of tangles. Kind of like: “I’ve got this corner and I’m entitled to turn in, but has ‘x driver’ backed out like he should? Maybe I’ll leave a bit more room at the apex just in case.”

      It’s his nature to fight for every inch on track, but sometimes discretion is the better part of valour.

  12. Andrew says:

    Hi James, love the analysis and insight.

    Talking numbers, how about Mark’s terrible set of stats (which I don’t actually have at hand) about about losing X positions in Y races from starts!

    Could you offer some insight into the extent to which a successful grid get away in 2011 is the result of driver skill and talent vs. car/team technology?

      1. Andrew says:

        Cool, look forward to that.

  13. Glenn says:

    I too thought Schumi and Jenson both had spectacular days under the circumstances. It seems that McLaren CAN get strategies right when they only have one to deal with.
    I loved the message to Nico to conserve fuel when Schumi was pressuring him :)
    RBR 1-2 on a circuit that shouldn’t have suited them as well as some of the other teams. Is there a circuit on the current calendar that RBR is not suited to? It doesn’t look like it to me. Well driven Seb, another memorable win.

  14. Michael C says:

    Here’s a stat I’d like to see: how many runs through the field like Button’s and Schumacher’s compared to previous years. Seems to be commonplace now, almost expected.

    1. superdad27 says:

      i would love to know how much fuel nico had remaining, or was it code for alonso is faster than you

  15. jonnyd says:

    RE the hamilton incident – Coulthard hit the nail on the head during commentary.
    Ham was well aware Kobi was there….that’s why he had to move back to the inside to defend. If you do that…….surely you’d do that expecting the car behind you to then have to go the other way, and if so Hamilton should have recognised that Kobi may or may not have been alongside him.
    Either way, there was no need for him to move back left again because there might have been a chance Kobi was there (and in this case, he was).
    It is irrelevant whether he could see him in his mirrors.

    It was a racing incident but clearly avoidable on Ham’s part. There’s no way Kobi would have expected Ham to move back left, why would he?

  16. bmg says:

    James, could you tell me why Webber stayed on the medium compound tyre for his last tyre change?
    I thought he could have challanged Vettel had he gone on to the softs at the end.

    Was 14 laps too long a stint for the softs.

    1. James Allen says:

      Because they were not confident about the blistering on the soft tyre on his car, clearly. They were running some extreme camber angles and didn’t want to change them after quali -which would have meant starting from the pit lane, so he used medium mainly for the race, which did not overheat the shoulders as it did with the softs

  17. Glenn says:

    I have a question for anyone that honestly knows.
    Why does Webber have such woeful starts? Is it all down to electronics (anti-stall business) or is he just that bad at starting? I have no idea how a F1 car gets off the line. I can’t imagine it’s the same as a regular manual trans’ street car.
    What’s the deal?

    1. DonSimón says:

      Its basically a double clutch. I don’t remember MW being particularly poor of the line previously, and I’m fairly sure that all of the drivers would be capable of performing this task 50%+ of the time with no worries at all. Perhaps a software issue that Seb is more comfortable with?

    2. Chapor says:

      I think that Webber looks directly at the lights when they are about to turn of instead of just keeping the lights in his peripheral vision… Like Martin Brundle always says, “Look but don’t stare”

      At least that is what I believe the reason is. I could be wrong. :-)

  18. Wayne S says:

    from Lewis’s twitter
    “After watching the replay, I realise it was my fault today 100 per cent,” said Hamilton. “I didn’t give Kobayashi enough room though, I thought I was past.”

  19. Past Pupil says:

    Maybe it’s RBs way of keeping him behind Seb ;-)

  20. Benalf says:

    the problem is that Hamilton doesn’t respect any driver on the grid; the “golden” boy thinks that anytime his car’s nose is an inch in front of another, he’s on the lead and that’s incorrect. The other, dnagerous, antic is to change slightly his raceline, like you use to do when racing go-karts to push the other driver into a more compromise raceline. That’s what happened between him and KK, and it was also the reason he bumped into Maldonado’s car at Spa. In Montreal, he was trying an impossible raceline, waiting for Button to open the door for him. He’s been doing a lot of overtaking since 2007 a lots of times he got it done because the “other” drivers let him space. If other drivers start racing Hamilton as they should, he’s gonna keep having accidents, and I hope he will learn to race relying only on his good judgement, not waiting for other to make him look like a great overtaker

  21. Evaline says:

    The paragon of udnrestadinng these issues is right here!

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