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Button dominates Spa as Grosjean is banned for start-line pile up
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Posted By: James Allen  |  02 Sep 2012   |  5:10 pm GMT  |  424 comments

Jenson Button drove a faultless race to secure his second victory of 2012 at Spa, as championship leader Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton retired after a nasty first lap pile up.

It was triggered by Romain Grosjean, who moved over on Lewis Hamilton and who was launched over Fernando Alonso and Sergio Perez causing the retirement of all four cars. It was another in a seres of first lap incidents, which have stretched the patience of the stewards to breaking point. They handed him a one race ban for the Italian Grand Prix, leaving Lotus looking for a substitute driver for Monza. Pastor Maldonado was also punished for a jump start and an avoidable collision. He will move back 10 places on the grid in Monza.

It was a race full of incident and overtaking, but Button stayed clear of all of it, With a lights to flag victory ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen. Button avoided the carnage at La Source and made very good use of a one-stop strategy to put himself back in the hunt for the World Championship with his 14th career win.

Second place starter Kamui Kobayashi was also hampered by the crash as he lost his front wing and finished the race down in 13th.

Alonso’s first non-score of the season means that Vettel is now only 24 points off the championship leader after leap-frogging Mark Webber, who finished 6th.

Button was on good form in Spa, after a mixed season so far. He has recently found a good way to work with the Pirelli tyres, balancing the temperatures front to rear and getting the fronts to work as he wants them to. If he can stay consistent on them, he can easily claw back points on the others, given the raw pace of the McLaren now.

“I’m sorry to all the fans if it wasn’t very exciting at the front,” said Button.

“However, winning a grand prix is never easy: you’ve always got to look after the tyres and keep an eye on the gap behind. Today’s race was particularly tricky to read, in fact, because lots of cars were on different strategies so you never knew exactly where you stood.

“Turn One looked pretty crazy – in my mirrors, I could see cars all over the place. For me, it was all pretty straightforward though.

“It was unusual to be able to run a one-stop strategy. We got to lap 12 and the team asked me how the car was feeling; I told them that the balance was getting better and better, so we were able to get to lap 20 before pitting.”

As predicted, strategy was the crucial factor in this race with both Button and Vettel opting for a one-stop race. This was made They were able to make their option tyres last near half distance and then clear away from the field on the hard compound. It quickly became apparent that the prime was the right choice come Sunday as Nico Hulkenberg started on the tyre and found himself in third place following the first lap carnage. After overtaking Raikkonen for second many of the cars behind were prompted to make an early stop and switch to primes.

This opened the door for Vettel to gain some clear air and put himself in a position for a podium. He, arguably, produced his best drive of 2012 as he put to bed any claims that he cannot race through the pack by making numerous passes around the outside of the Bus Stop chicane.

Raikkonen was unlucky to be held up following both his pit stops and made a tremendous move past one-stopping Schumacher on the entrance to Eau Rouge. He had spent six laps tucked up behind Schumacher as he could not match the Mercedes engine and losing some of his KERS functionality early on did not make this any easier. Schumacher eventually had to switch to “Plan B” and make a second stop in the closing laps. Raikkonen was followed home by Hulkenberg who managed to match the leaders’ pace throughout the race to keep Massa and Webber behind in the closing stages.

The sole Ferrari of Massa had a strong race in fifth and kept the team within touching distance of Lotus in the Constructor Championship.

Schumacher was able to salvage seventh following his unplanned second stop but it could have been much more in his 300th GP after he had sat in third position before the first round of stops. Mercedes’ tyre woes continued and Nico Rosberg also had to make an unscheduled pit stop to make it to the end.

The two Toro Rosso cars of Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo headed Paul Di Resta home to complete the top ten. The trio had made good progress in the first lap but slowly slipped down the order as faster cars made their way through the field. Di Resta was battling with a KERS problem.

[Additional reporting: Matt Meadows]

BELGIAN GRAND PRIX, SPA, 44 laps

1. Button McLaren 1h29:08.530
2. Vettel Red Bull + 13.624
3. Raikkonen Lotus + 25.334
4. Hulkenberg Force India + 27.843
5. Massa Ferrari + 29.845
6. Webber Red Bull + 31.244
7. Schumacher Mercedes + 53.374
8. Vergne Toro Rosso + 58.865
9. Ricciardo Toro Rosso + 1:02.982
10. Di Resta Force India + 1:03.783
11. Rosberg Mercedes + 1:05.111
12. Senna Williams + 1:11.529
13. Kobayashi Sauber + 1:56.119
14. Petrov Caterham + 1 lap
15. Glock Marussia + 1 lap
16. Pic Marussia + 1 lap
17. Kovalainen Caterham + 1 lap
18. De la Rosa HRT + 1 lap

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424 Comments
  1. Sebee says:

    If this is the new McLaren update, Alonso fans better hold off on their Alonso Ferrari Champion tattoo plans.  Now we just need Hamilton not to tweet the secrets of it.

    Also, all it takes is Alonso out at first turn to have the team give Massa a bit more attention and a top 5 arrives.  Magic? I really think Ferrari get a large sum regardless if they win constructors or not which is why they focus on their #1.

    1. Nesto says:

      Did you notice all the attrition that happened in front of him going in turn 1? Grojean, Hamilton, Alonso, Perez, Kobayashi, thats 5 guys, only 1 of which would continue and finish the race (Kob 13th but with a broken car and many pit stops). Maldonado was also ahead but u know him. if those cars all continue, Massa is definitely out of Top 5 and maybe Top 10.

    2. Craig D says:

      Well Massa gets a top 5 cos there was no Alonso, Hamilton, Grosjean or Sauber drivers in the race/contention!

    3. Quattro_T says:

      No magic, but in your impressive analysis, you are overlooking a few obvious facts.

      At the start of the race five cars, all ahead of Super Duper Massa at starting grid were taken out of the equation. Add to that webber being unlucky coming out behind slower car after 2nd pitstop, unable to pass due to too short 7th and destroying tyres. Di resta having kers trouble, MS loosing 6th gear…Undo the stupid crash – bring back ALO, HAM, PER & GRO into equation and suddently Massa is back were he usually finishes, 9th. Not so much magic after all, only the usual day-dreaming and conspiracy BS.

      PS. Alonso tattoo got there already 2006 after beating MS. Although he deserve a 2nd one.

    4. rafa says:

      I have read your comments in and out for the last months. So you don´t like Alonso, and Massa is a perpetual victim of circumstance hampered by his evil team for no obvious reason except that they seemingly enjoy beating a dead horse. Your insight is quite shallow. Massa has been underperforming because the hardware which he gets just the same as his more notorious partner is built around the latter, under the assumption that he is the more qualified of the two to win. Massa has also been struggling to come to grips with the Pirelli´s, and he´s not alone in that department in the F1 field. You know what? I disgust people who let their inclinations go before their judgement. Massa has not been a worthy driver, full stop. he´s recovering now to get some points, but notoriously he´s ended up behind everybody his teammate was looking through the review mirror on this particular race, except for Webber. You and some others will go on for ever about 2007, Singapore, “Fernando is faster than you”, and probably find the guy likes beating puppies with a belt, however all evidence clearly states he´s demolished Massa into a nº2 status, and that your arguments all pend on unprovable or at best devious reasoning (“if massa would´ve been allowed to win that race” “he´s not getting the hardware”). I don´t like Vettel or Hamilton for a lot of different reasons, the major one being that they directly oppose my preferred driver, however I have no problem realizing that it´s just fandom and that both of them are great drivers without doubt, regardless of my inclinations. Your judgements come across as fatuous, just stating “I don´t like this guy, and I will put that before facts or reality”. So be it, but it´s just plain silly.

      1. hero_was_senna says:

        Agreed

      2. Sebee says:

        hero,

        I hear what you are saying below. My point, perhaps not made elequently, is that Massa is not as bad a driver as his recent results indicate. I dare say he could deliver the nice point finishes if he was supported just a bit more. My theory is that Ferrari don’t care about constructors, only about driver’s championship. As such, while they often talk about fielding 3 cars, really they care only about fielding 1, with the second one being but an FIA obligation. Massa knows that even in the event of him leading a GP, if Alonso is still running the goal will be to switch the two cars around resuting in questions and bad press. It’s not an excuse, but as I said repeatedly I believe it clearly plays a mental state role for Massa. Remember while that 2010 German win would have been huge in the Massa story of near death and was very painful for fans to watch it be taken away, the 7 points he gifted Alonso were hugely important for Alonso’s campaign. We know that will always happen in that scenario, so does Massa. It is also why I don’t think at all that Alonso – Massa comparison is valid or worth the time. Massa knows he’s a defeated man before he even puts his overalls on. It must take significant inner strength to know he is a GP winner and almost a Ferrari championship winner and this is the position he finds himself in. But it’s the reality of that 2nd Ferrari seat. Massa wears it best he can. Best anyone can really.

        To shift gears, notice how Vettel and Webber are allowed to drive against each other. Notice how Lewis and Button are allowed to do same. Kimi and Roman? Schumacher and Nico? Of course. Notice how Massa and Alonso are not allowed to do this. Notice how the second Ferrari will never fall in the hands of someone who will disturb the order or challange Alonso. And it’s a great shame, same as it was a shame during the ultra successful Schumacher era. It was wonderful for results, and it was perfection on many fronts. Yet strangely unfulfilling on some weekends.

      3. Oly says:

        Exactly.

      4. [MISTER] says:

        +1 well said

      5. puffing says:

        Fully agreed. Sebee does not like Alonso and Sebee has to shown this dislike day after day, even if Sebee thinks Alonso is a better driver than Massa. This is it.

    5. Oly says:

      Yes – Massa was always faster and better than Alonso but Ferrari, for some unknown reason, always do something to damage his race. You are very clever guy, no doubt about it ;-)

      1. Sebee says:

        Oly,

        I’m not saying he is faster, how many times must I repeat that. I’m just saying he can do top 5 if given a bit more attention and support, which the team gave him since he was the only Ferrari running.

        And yes, there were DNFs but are you guys saying Massa can’t give us Top 5 finishes? Seriously? I think you guys are being a bit harsh.

      2. hero_was_senna says:

        Dear Sebee,
        Last years Ferrari is acknowledged to have been the 3rd best chassis in the field, behind a dominant Red Bull and a strong Mclaren.
        If all cars were driven to their maximum potential, Alonso and Massa would have been registering 5th and 6th place finishes all season.
        In fact, Alonso’s average qualifying position was 5th.
        Yet he won a race, finished on the podium a further 9 times, finished 4th four times and 5th a further 2. In effect, he improved on his average qualifying position 14 times and equaled it twice.
        Massa never bettered 5th.

        This season, Alonso’s average qualifying position is 6th. Yet he has won 3 times, a further 3 places on the podium and a further 3 races in 5th.
        Massa has finished 4th once.

        If any of us are being harsh, it’s because results ultimately speak for themselves.

      3. tom in adelaide says:

        I think you’re arguing for the sake of it now. Any person of sound mind should be able to understand why Massa achieved 5th in this particular race.

      4. ida says:

        I think your right, Massa can give us top 5 finishes and if Alonso, Lewis, Jenson, Vettel, Webber, Kimi, Hulkenberg, Di Resta and the replacement Lotus driver all DNF in Monza then Felipe is in with a chance of a podium too!!!!

      5. Sebee says:

        So what you guys are saying is..

        Sorry Felipe, you’re rubbish. Never mind that you have about half the points of Alonso and scored most of them under the old points system. Never mind that you have 1/2 the podiums of Alonso, or third of Alonso’s wins of which good 5 I can recall were gifted to him while countless ones were taken from you. We don’t care that you won as many drivers championships at Ferrari as Alonso. And really, who cares about those constructors championships you helped win. Who cares that you give it your all and that you are the only driver on the field to honestly come within mm of your life. Never mind that you are the only Brazilian to win at Interlagos since Senna. Never mind that your team clearly is known to have #1 and #2 status and clearly the pay rate shows who is #1 an who isn’t. Sorry that you don’t bring sufficient marketability and sponsorship to have us give you the type of equal treatment McLaren does. I know you are a stand up guy, have never done anything to discredit or shame F1 and have been one heck of an ambassador for the sport. Did we mention that we don’t really care about you until you podium on merit.

        I hear you guys. You’re only about the win. I like to look at the slightly bigger picture.

      6. ida says:

        SEBEE you really drove it home this time….pretty much every point you made highlighted how much more Alonso has achieved in his career compared to Massa. Didnt they both make their debuts in 2001? and got the opportunity to drive winning cars in 2005 (alonso) and 2006 for massa, when he joined Ferrari. Yeah no handouts for Felipe…hang on, isnt his manager the son of Jean Todt?! Surely you dont think he got the ferrari drive that way?
        Also could you please name those 5 races that Alonso has been gifted…..and while your at it name the countless races that Massa has given up. In my 25 plus years of watching F1, i cant recall that there has ever been a more fortunate driver than Felipe. The only consistent things you can count on him producing is his next mistake and followed by his ‘what the hell just happened look’.

      7. Sebee says:

        ida,

        Yes, this is what makes this forum a wonderful thing. You see, everyone here has a point of view, and because F1 really can be quite colourful, everyone can see different situations in different light. This is what makes the discussion interesting, especially in today’s world with fans around the world.

        I like to be moved from my stance, and I don’t disagree with you guys that perhaps I rate Massa a bit too highly based on that 2008 performance. But it was one heck of a season, and he was a class act. He lost that championship in a sequence of events which were so entertaining, I never in my F1 watching life jumped on the sofa quite like that. Not becuase of being a huge Massa fan or Lewis fan – just because of what I was witnessing.

        I’m not going to Wiki these guys and try to dig through data for you, I’m at work and have things to do. But from memory:
        Alonso started a year earlier, and didn’t have a season off for “testing”. So that’s 2 seasons more.
        2006 Schumi was the title challanger. Massa was clearly #2, but won some races including Brazil for which I travelled to say “bye to Schumi”, and got to see the fans lose their marbles when he bacame the first Brazilian to win it since Senna.

        You don’t think Alonso was looked after with Flavio in his corner? Only one of the closest people to Bernie? Vs. Ferrari who extract money from Bernie.

        Alonso gifts: Germany 2010, Singapore 2008 – in my book those two are like 1 + 4 = 5. :-) Let’s not forget that he had hugely supportive teams in Renault and Ferrari where we don’t know how many strategy or other moves were made that compromised the #2 to get Alonso the win. Again, nothing wrong with that, but it happened. As for Massa, I remember his moving over for Michael, Kimi, and of course Alonso.

        If by fortunate you mean spending most of your carrier to be the #2 on the red team, having your championship campaign ruined by your current team mates old team GP fix, coming within mm of your life, then yes, Massa is very fortunate. Given this I think he’s one heck of a class act for F1. But again, that’s just my point of view. He doesn’t seem bitter, he tries hard, he wants to do well for his team. He is sacrificed so that Alonso’s stock can rise, and fans can believe he can walk on water. Yet remains without reward at Ferrari. Perhaps a matter of time, or perhaps fans can continue to use the Ferrari as an excuse. Whatever is in the cards, it’s going to be interesting to watch the rest of 2012. Will 3rd time be the charm, or are we about to see something intereseting in these last 8 races?

    6. Dan says:

      Have you considered that massa only broke into the top five because 6 drivers ahead of him on the grid and therefore faster were involved in race terminating accidents. Had they not he wuld be outside the top 10 like most races, frankly his performance against Alonso this season should see him lose his seat at Ferrari, but theyre a team who think the importance of having a compliment number two driver is the way to win, so he will probably stay in 2013. Which is a shame.

      1. Sebee says:

        Have you considered that paying attention to strategy is super important and when your strategy is determined by the #1 driver it’s a bit hard to get the details right.

        Look people, I’m not saying Massa is faster than Alonso, or others. I am saying that I believe he can give us top 5s is only given the chance. And don’t fool yourself into thinking that every detail isn’t important in today’s F1 to do that. Things went right for Massa today, sure. But he wasn’t just gifted that 5th. He earned it by taking the opportunities.

      2. JR says:

        “paying attention to strategy is super important and when your strategy is determined by the #1 driver it’s a bit hard to get the details right.” You must be talking about Red Bull, right?

      3. Tom Haythornthwaite says:

        To be fair, Massa is probably faster than Karthikeyan….

      4. Elie says:

        Are you for real Sebee ?? People have just explained to you that 5 cars were taken out in front of him ! And you still think he got to 5th all by himself… COME ON MAN ! -Snap out of it!

      5. Sebee says:

        Elie,

        Massa could use a bit of luck. I’m OK if he capitalizes on other’s DNFs. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Spa result gives him a boost for Monza.

    7. fullthrottle says:

      He only needed 5 five cars out of the race to do it! Sorry to break your bubble, but this new rear wing is not suitable for all circuits.

      1. Sebee says:

        What details do you know about this wing? Low downforce tracks only? Both McLarens will have it next weekend I hope. I’ve seen little about the wing outside of the fact that Jenson had it and Lewis didn’t.

    8. KRB says:

      Massa did well today, but where would he have finished if FA,LH,KK, and SP were still in the race?

      Stats time!

      What stands out for me from the stats are:

      - McLaren and Lotus lead on podiums (9); RBR and Ferrari next (6)
      - RBR lead on T5′s (16); next is Lotus (12)
      - McLaren drivers not consistent T5 finishers
      - All JB’s T5′s have been podiums
      - RG’s 5 Retirements vs KR’s 0
      - NR’s impeccable reliability vs MS’s

      Stats to date
      =============
      * T8-DWC = Current top 8 drivers in DWC standings

      Wins: FA3,MW2,LH2,JB2,SV1,NR1,PM1

      Podiums:
      FA6,KR6,LH5,SV4,JB4,RG3,MW2,NR2,SP2,PM1,MS1

      T5 Finishes (3+):
      FA9,SV9,KR8,MW7,LH6,JB4,RG4,NR3

      Pts Finishes (6+):
      FA11,MW11,KR11,SV10,LH9,JB8,NR8,
      RG6,MS6,FM6,NH6,PdR6,BS6

      Longest podium streaks (2+):
      FA3,KR3,LH3,FA2,KR2

      Current podium streak: KR3,JB1,SV1

      Longest T5 streaks (2+):
      FA7,KR5,SV4,MW4,LH3,FA2,MW2,
      SV2(2x),KR2,LH2,NR2,RG2

      Current T5 streak:
      KR5,SV4,JB1,NH1,FM1

      Longest pts finish streaks (3+):
      FA11,KR9,MW7,LH7,NR6,SV5,JB5,MW4,SV4,RG3,MS3

      Current pts finish streak:
      KR9,MW7,JB5,SV4,FM2,MS1,NH1,PdR1,JV1,DR1

      Retirements (not classified)(3+):
      MS6,RG5,NK4,KK3,CP3,PM3,SP3

      T8-DWC Race Finishes:
      MW12,KR12,NR12,FA11,SV11,JB10,LH9,RG7

      (if you spot any errors, let me know – thx)

      1. Ahmed says:

        Hi, thanks for the stats.
        Slight typo:
        Longest podium streaks (2+):
        FA3,*KR3*,LH3,FA2,*KR2*

        KR is mentioned twice :)

      2. fullthrottle says:

        As Alonso. It’s not a mistake.

      3. KRB says:

        Kimi is on a run of 3 podiums right now, but earlier (BHR,ESP) scored 2 in a row. Those five instances of consecutive podiums are the only ones this season.

        This time last year it would’ve read:

        SV9,MW4,FA4,JB3,SV2,JB2,MW2

      4. Peter C says:

        Too complicated to bother with. Sorry.

  2. William Wilgus says:

    I can’t help wondering why Webber was on a two-stop strategy. More team favoritism?

    Grosjean’s one-race ban seems too lenient.

    1. Mike says:

      Webber was on a 2 stop because his tyres were falling apart. No favouritism, just Webber for some reason not being able to manage the tyres in the same way as Seb. There are several other examples of this, the most noticeable was Button/Hamilton for several races.

      And Grosjean’s ban (in my opinion) is about right – harsh enough to make everyone stand up and take notice, but lenient enough to take into the fact that it was, in fact, a mistake (albeit a very careless one with potentially horrific consequences).

      1. Troy Prideaux says:

        I though he (Webber) was supposed to have overcome the tire issue – obviously not. If the crash didn’t happen on the 1st turn, there’s no way Webber would have finished in the top 10, whilst I think Seb would have still finished on the podium. Webber has a serious issue to deal with at the moment.

    2. Quattro_T says:

      Webber ran out of tyres running in the dirty air of slower cars, trying (unsuccessfully) to pass them.

    3. Luke Clements says:

      Add to your Webber question, why gear him short? At Spa of all places. Monza next week, let’s hope they get it right there.

      1. Peter C says:

        Surely Vettel had the same gearing?

        With a short 7th gear, you have to find somewhere other than a straight to pass, Vettel seemed to do many of his overtakes at the chicane before the start/finish, by outbraking the other car.

        Webber didn’t appear to try such moves.

      2. iceman says:

        Christian Horner said the lack of dry running on Friday meant they had to take a bit of a punt on the gearing, and they got it slightly wrong.

      3. James Allen says:

        THat is my understanding also. Everyone was in that boat. If you went lower/higher downforce on Saturday having chosen the opposite on Friday night, then you were a bit compromised

    4. quest says:

      Vettel overtook a lot of cars in the first stint including Weebber and got himself into free air. Webber struggled to overtake.

  3. Chris Normal says:

    “leaving Lotus looking for a substitute driver for Monza.”

    Lotus will defiantly use d’Ambrosio for Monza right?

    1. DanWilliams from Aust says:

      Hopfully they do, would be a great opporunity for d’Ambrosio. Be great to see him do well.

    2. Defiantly? I have this image now of Lotus standing in the pitlane yelling ‘You shall not pass’ at anyone who opposes them. ;o)

      More like definitely methinks…

  4. Johnny Leone says:

    Why wasn’t Hamilton banned from one race as well? He was a major contributing factor to the start crash, and he’s been involved in so many avoidable incidents, he should receive a one race ban (at least) as well. He’ll never, ever learn otherwise.

    1. LD says:

      He didn’t accelerate into him. He was a bystander for this one.

    2. Spinodontosaurus says:

      New Formula 1 rule; you are forbidden from driving in a straight line at the start under the condition that you are turned into by another car.

    3. ian says:

      Because he did nothing wrong is a pretty good reason.

    4. Tim Burgess says:

      HAHAHAHAHAHA

    5. KRB says:

      And what did he do wrong to deserve a ban in your opinion? LH drove straight, moved over to the very edge of the track, but Grosjean kept coming. He was FAULTLESS.

      [mod].

      1. **Paul** says:

        You’ve just explained last years race at Spa for Lewis too if you switch Grosjean with LH and LH with KK ! lol

    6. Alanis Morissette says:

      Erm – no. Hamilton was a bystander – what could he have done? Look at the footage, if he had lifted to let Grosjean pass, Grosjean would have been airborne as he’d have hit Hamilton’s front wheel. His only other choice was to go off track, which would have put himself onto astroturf where his brakes wouldn’t have worked, and he’d have t-boned someone.

    7. WiLL says:

      What a load of rubbish. Lewis did nothing wrong. Try watching the replay over and over until you understand that!

    8. AndyFov says:

      Imagine you’re driving along minding your own business on the inside lane of the motorway and someone veers straight into the side of you from the outside lane.

      I presume you’d consider yourself a major contributing factor in that accident too, then?

    9. Mike says:

      Er, what exactly did Hamilton do wrong?

    10. James Enocre says:

      Watch the replay from the head on camera. Grosjean veered steeply from camera right (drivers left), he’d crossed left row of grid slots by the time he hit Hamilton who had nowhere to go.
      Grosjean caused carnage at Monaco, and has a spate of first lap incidents.

      If you noticed last season Hamilton got tangled up in incidents and always got the worst of the Stewards descisions. Don’t think you can say that this year.

    11. andrew c says:

      Which avoidable incident has Hamilton been in this year? Other than Alonso, he’s been the second most consistent driver. Maybe your mind is still stuck in 2011. Grosjeans race ban proves that the stewards thought he was at fault too just like the rest of the sane world.

    12. Matt says:

      Can you please explain why you think that Hamilton should have also gotten a one race ban? Hamilton was already on the white line which designates the edge of the race track. There was nowhere else for him to go. Slick tires don’t work that well on grass. If Hamilton would have decided to brake, he would have probably gotten rear-ended since they weren’t in the braking area yet.

    13. fullthrottle says:

      Hamilton did nothing wrong. He had nowhere to go. Once he was riding Grosjean’s tail he was a passenger.

    14. JF says:

      Ham did nothing wrong. That said, he is not good at removinging himself from danger, sometimes you have to back off

      1. Johnny Leone says:

        JF, that’s what I’m getting at. Hamilton is involved in far too many incidents overall, and doesn’t anticipate problems, nor does he at times seem to realize the throttle works both ways.

        Phill, thanks for the info from the GP2 race.

        I agree, Grosjean held more of the blame in this one, but as I also said, Hamilton was a contributing factor, and someone with his experience (5+ years now…) he should be able to avoid these sort of situations more than he does. (as well as the fact that he has caused them himself from time to time…)

      2. Alanis Morissette says:

        You really are myopic. Please enlighten us all on how he could have removed himself from this situation.

      3. Ral says:

        At what point do you figure Hamilton should have “let Grosjean go” (which I’m assuming you mean by getting out of danger)? The very reason the Lotus car launched itself, was because Grosjean parked his rear wheel in between Hamilton’s at which point there was nothing he could do anymore. Should Hamilton have given the corner to Grosjean as soon as he saw him sweeping across the track?

        I’m struggling to see how anyone could think Hamilton was anything but entirely innocent in this. Grosjean misjudged his car length by over a half of it if indeed he did think he was completely past Hamilton. It was a stupid move, by one driver only.

      4. KRB says:

        His left front was in front of RoGro’s right rear, and to the immediate right was the grass! If he brakes, he’ll break his front suspension. If he goes right, he’s on the grass, likely will lose control, hit the wall then rebound in. The only thing left for him to do was keep going, and hope to God that RoGro strayed/veered left before the corner, to “unlock” his own front left tire.

        I’ll take it you’re not a Lewis fan then. That’s putting it a mildly as I can.

    15. Wu says:

      Although I believe Hamilton would have built his character much better if he was penalised more heavily from the start of his f1 career, this time he did absolutly nothing wrong (in the race anyway :D )

    16. Phill says:

      That you sir, finally another person that can see the truth and is not just biased in their opinion. I wouldn’t ban Lewis, but neither would I ban grosjean. I am not saying it was hamiltons fault, it wasn’t, however Lewis could have avoided it. In the GP2 race, the same thing happened, yet the driver went on to the grass (not AstroTurf) to avoid him, did not crash, did not spin and went on happily. The grass is not a gravel pit, an Lewis should have moved over, to avoid the incident, which is the most important thing on F1.

      1. James Clayton says:

        Grass?

      2. ida says:

        I said the exact same thing. Not his fault but he should have moved half a meter on the grass to get out of a potential accident. Remember last year at Monza when Lewis pushed Alonso to the edge and he when on the grass and still rejoined the track in 1st place??? Cars overlapping wheels in open wheel racing is potential disaster. When Grosjeans rear wheel was in line with his left front he should have moved over 40 or 50 cm and been the bigger man. Grosjean should have been banned for the SEASON because squeezing Lewis and hoping he moves is not good enough when the incident is 50 meters from a right hand hair pin. They are pointing directly at the leaders as they round the corner for Gods sake!!
        Lewis was not at fault but if the Lotus landed on Alonso’s head, would Lewis go to the funeral saying to himself ‘if only i moved half a meter to the right’? Before you all go nuts at the last sentence just remember thats what could have happened and when a tragedy strikes people blame themselves for a lot less. Schumacher even stated that he wished he wasnt pushing Senna before his fatal accident. All drivers need a wake up call. Leave space and in certain situations yeald. Eg Webber/Alonso eau rouge 2011…Serial offenders, especially drivers with frequent first lap incidents, like Grosjean and Maldonado, needed swifter and harsher punishment.

      3. Heinzman says:

        You are missing the whole point.

        It is not Hamilton’s mandate to move over. If Grosjean has no space he needs to lift, not turn into another driver.

        Grosjean cannot make his problem of lack of space another drivers simply by threat of turning in on them, hence the penalty.

      4. quest says:

        In fact he did get onto the grass and having 2 wheels on tarmac and 2 on the grass seemed to contribute to him losing complete control.

        Grosjean got his rear right between the left wheels of Hamilton leaving him with little choices. He moved right and trying to regain control finally losing as he got onto the grass.

      5. Pedro says:

        Well you obviously do not understand much about braking on grass ! Lewis had the inside line to the corner, if he had just “courteously” left out his braking so grosjean could half wittedly try to muscle him out of his way, he would have arrived at the apex and T boned several cars at far greater speed.

        Amusingly, reading alonso’s version, he tries to put some blame on Lewis, the speed of the McLarens is clearly rattling him, watch how tetchy he will get in the next few races as his title lead evaporates.

      6. KRB says:

        I didn’t read Alonso’s comments that way. He does say that Grosjean and Lewis can be aggressive on starts, which is news to me, considering how aggressive Alonso was at Monaco & Silverstone this year, or Singapore ’10, off the top of my head.

        Lewis has been involved in more than the usual number of shunts, but yesterday trouble found him, not the other way around.

        The McLaren is fast, maybe they’ve finally figured out the tires. I was surprised that Button was able to do a one-stopper yesterday. Lewis is still their best bet for the title, which is nuts considering his three retirements, plus all the points thrown away in the pits and in qualifying, in the races he has finised.

      7. puffing says:

        ‘Amusingly, reading alonso’s version, he tries to put some blame on Lewis, the speed of the McLarens is clearly rattling him, watch how tetchy he will get in the next few races as his title lead evaporates.’

        May be you and I have read different Alonso’s statements, but what I’ve read here in JA’s forum (which is congruent with what I’ve read in the Spanish media) is, literally:
        “(At the start) The first thing was Maldonado; it was still the red lights and he was already P3 or P2, ” said Alonso before turning attention to Grosjean. “I’m not angry,” he said of being knocked out of the race. “No-one does this on purpose. I think they were fighting and they are two aggressive drivers on the starts, Lewis and Romain and this time it was us in the wrong place at the wrong time.” Then… “It’s true also that in 12 races he (Grosjean) had seven crashes at the start…”
        According to it, I think that Alonso is honest. He put in words his thinking, and was unoffensive to anyone. Not incidentally, this thinking has been put in words also by a number of posters here. It is an ‘amusing’ commentary just because of your anti-Alonso bias, IMO.
        And secondly, I think also that between your ‘Amusingly, reading alonso’s version, he tries to put some blame on Lewis,..’ and your ‘…the speed of the McLarens is clearly rattling him, watch how tetchy he will get in the next few races as his title lead evaporates.’ a ‘might be’ is clearly needed. The second part of your statement is only logic in your mind, not in Alonso’s words.

    17. A Tweet From Lewis says:

      Romain Grosjean. WTF!

      1. [MISTER] says:

        epic! :)))))

      2. KRB says:

        Lewis’s three retirements (FIA descriptors):

        EUR – Maldonado’ed
        GER – Suspension (from puncture)
        BEL – Grosjean’d

    18. DanWilliams from Aust says:

      I don’t entirely agree with what you have written, but I do ever so slightly feel that HAM could have helped the situation a little.

      The onboard footage from HAM’s car shows GRO moving towards him once, at this point HAM is already veering away from him towards the right. Both GRO and HAM then continue straight, however you’ll notice that HAM still has approx 1metre (if you want to be conservative then lets say 0.5m) of track between him and the grass. Then GRO moves to the right once more in a fast but gradual manner (IMO it wasn’t overly aggressive like some other manouvers we’ve seen this year – think ROS in Bahrain), at this point HAM does not react and continues striaght on at which point they touch (GRO’s rear right to HAM’s front left).

      I feel that once GRO made his 2nd move towards HAM, HAM could have moved a little more to the right and driven on the edge of the track. Maybe GRO would have only moved a little and this adjustment by HAM would’ve meant they didn’t touch. Or if GRO was completely unaware of his suroundings and continued to the right then I think they still would’ve touched, but at least GRO would’ve have then possibly run into HAM’s front wing. HAM would need a new front wing no doubt but he’d prob still be in the race and could challenge for points, GRO would most likely get a puncture but also be able to pit and challenge for points.

      If this was the case I still think GRO would deserve a penalty but at least the outcome would have been better for HAM and everyone else that was taken out in the accident.

  5. CH says:

    Good on the stewards and grateful they did not wait for something worse to happen. Lucky Fernando. Too close…

    Three-time world champion Niki Lauda: “I have never seen such a stupid accident from Grosjean. I would stop him for two races to start thinking, it was the second time he has done something like this.”

  6. Eduan says:

    Jenson drove brilliantly but Michael did fantastic considering his car is not the best out there currently, good display of skill! Game on for the championship.
    Grosjean seriously needs to take a look at himself, he has speed but he is driving himself out of F1

    1. Brett says:

      Michael did drive a great race, but once again was given the wrong strategy by the team. He was in 2nd place at the first round of stops, but the team decided on a one stop race even though they:
      a) Had almost no tire degredation data because of Friday
      b) Historically have been the car that is worst on tires all season

      I really don’t know how they came to that decision. Mercedes has some serious management issues (and I don’t just mean the tires!)

      1. Wu says:

        Micheal was genuinly strong today. As for the strategy, hindsight is a wonderful thing, but given the length of the first stint, I’m not surprised they carried on with the 1 stopper. Shame the hards lost grip so quickly.

        Without the gearbox issue (top gear?) Schumacher was gaining on Webber after that second stop, and I’m sure he would catch up to the Hulk/Massa/Webber fight. Passing is another matter of course.

      2. hero_was_senna says:

        Funny isn’t it.
        Everyone assumed that a partnership of Brawn and Schumacher would repeat the Ferrari days.
        Maybe it’s time we reviewed and gave credit to the real power behind the throne, Jean Todt and Rory Byrne.

  7. Richard Foster says:

    Where has this one race ban penalty been when dealing with Maldonado this season? He has made contact with several cars in different races this season and taken out a championship contender himself.

    It’s time for harsher penalties to be dished out in F1, these drivers are supposed to be the best in the world. If I had as many bumps on the road as Maldonado I wouldn’t be able to get insurance anymore.

    1. Quattro_T says:

      I guess stewards want to be consistent for once. They figure they did not ban HAM last season, so why banning Maldonado for same if not less # of incidentsthis year.

      1. Nando says:

        Fairly certain Hamilton received less penalties for on-track incidents over the whole of last season.

    2. Seán Craddock says:

      I agree! Another 3 penalties for Maldonado this weekend. He’s not learning at all. So far this year he’s had 10 penalties, a reprimand, and a fine.

      And Maldonado has crashed into drivers on purpose more than once! Ridiculous! In 2006 Ide was stripped of his superlicense after 4 races. He didn’t deliberately crash into anybody

      1. KRB says:

        What were the 10 penalties? A Wiki page with such a record (I’m sure initially set up by some anti-Lewis stooge) has Maldonado down with 9 penalties this season.

      2. Seán Craddock says:

        OK, bear in mind I didn’t say they were all his fault or as a result of racing incidences. Here are the 10 penalties.

        Monaco:
        -10 places for hitting Perez in practice
        -5 places for gearbox

        Canada:
        -5 places for gearbox

        Europe:
        -25 seconds for hitting Hamilton

        Great Britain:
        -2 penalties for incident with Perez

        Hungary:
        -Drive-thru for crash with Di Resta

        Belgium:
        -3 places for blocking Hulkenberg
        -5 places for jump start
        -5 places for Glock crash

    3. James Enocre says:

      That’s been a topic of discussion in my house. I think the thing with Grosjean (a) He’s a serial first lap offender, and (b) he wiped out multiple cars.
      Maldonado has only taken out openents one at a time, which tends to get a drive through or 5 places on the next grid.
      I’d make the rule if you stupidity behind the wheel wrecks someone’s race you miss the next race. If you take out multiple people, potentially you miss multiple races.

      JAMES. I’d love to know if contacts with the likes of Maldondo mean that PDVSA pay Williams less if Pastor picks up a ban. Stewards might have that in the back of their minds.

      1. [MISTER] says:

        PDVSA get more advertisement with Pastor’s incidents. The camera is on his car more often. For the wrong reason, but it’s on TV…

    4. fullthrottle says:

      I’m pretty sure a race ban is coming Maldonado’s way. I also understand he not geting handed one in the past, even if it would have been fair at some point. But with the risk involved in today crash, and also the championship in the closing stages, penaltys are going to be really harsh for the no contenders. The message is necessary IMO. The time for mistakes is gone, let the big guns fight for the championship or stay at home.

    5. Steve Zodiac says:

      I’m pretty sure we could all drive an F1 car as fast as both Maldonado and Grosjean right up until we smashed into someone, just like they always seem to do. Still the upside is that at this rate they should both be gone after this season, especially as this is Grosjean’s second chance and Maldonado I don’t think he could avoid crashing even if he was the only car on track!

      1. AuraF1 says:

        I think the difference is grosjean doesn’t seem to know his own cars geometry – he basically forgets where he is. Maldanado knows and just doesn’t care.

      2. Persi says:

        I think someone has mentioned this in the past and I have wondered it myself: Eric Boullier is both the team principal + Grosjean’s manager…conflict of interest? How does it work?

        As for Maldonado, I really don’t want someone like that in F1 but thanks to his $$$ he’ll probably hang around.

      3. Kay says:

        Well Briatore was Alonso’s manager and they were in the same team. Nothing wrong there really..

    6. Rich says:

      I couldn’t agree more. And I think the fans are getting rather fed up with how much Maldonado is getting away with in his career.

      I was at the Grand Prix yesterday and was sat along the Kemmel straight, along with about 15,000 other people. When the TV screen showed Maldonado retiring, there was a huge cheer from the majority of the crowd. I was surprised how many people shared my frustrations!

  8. Pedro says:

    A great Victory for Jenson and one of the best drives yet seen from Vettel.

    Very happy to hear the moronic “Ah can win everee race at ze first corner” Grosjean has had a ban for repeat stupidity.

    Maldonado, has deliberately rammed people 3 times is it now ? Romain was just very stupid and childishly aggressive, Pastor was deliberately dangerous and deserved more punishment.

    1. Bill of Lading says:

      Both should lose their superlicences in my opinion…

      BL

  9. d.h. says:

    It’s about time bans were handed out. With Maldonado’s misdemeanours this season and other drivers incidents, it might give the drivers a bit more respect for others near them on track.

    Again the safety of the cars comes to the fore. The first corner incident could have been a lot worse otherwise.

    1. Luca says:

      wish they would ban simon lazenby and georgie thompson from the sky coverage – would require a herculean effort to find two presenters that are more clueless about the sport they cover!!
      amazing really.

      But anyway, i think from all the talk about how they drive in GP2, it does sound like they need to be stricter in the lower formulas so that by the time drivers get to F1 they have more respect and understanding of how and where/when they can push and race aggressively. Seems fairly clear that it’s the younger guys that don’t ‘get’ the way you can race in F1.

      1. James Clayton says:

        Lazenby is about a hundred times better than Hamphries ever was (though that wouldn’t be hard). I agree there’s no need for Georgie, though. I kind of wish they’d permanently replaced Davidson with McNish.

  10. Anton says:

    Great decision by the stewards. Ultimately it was RG fault but I feel Maldonado instigated the events by making that jump start to begin with.

    BTW – Why did Maldonado retire from the race? I saw a shot of his front wing missing (did he hit someone?)

    1. David Hodge says:

      I think he clouted Glock in an avoidable accident after the restart. He got 5 of his 10 grid place drops for that – the other 5 being the jump start.

    2. Seán Craddock says:

      he hit Glock at La Source just after the restart. He got a 5 place grid penalty for Monza because of it.

      He also got another 5 place peno for the jump start

  11. paddy says:

    Grosjean is just trying to impress, as they say “the more you try the harder it gets!”, boulier surely is a decent enough bloke with good temperament and realistic nature to realise this and put his arm round him. Grosjeans a good driver pace wise but isnt fully matured or maybe a natural with his decisions, watch the onboard of alonso and he appears to always be looking at whats around, always a second nature of where someone else is, see the second nature razor sharp milliesecond decisions he made taking the lead of last years spanish gp, pure skill. Ace drive by jenson, hit the sweet spot on setup, bang on, as opposed to his team mate who needs his head banged, what a spoilt self obsessed huffy little man he really is? No doubt hes good…. When the cars there. Pity to not see alonso do the damage in the ferrari today though, the way he conducts himself, the way he drives, how he raises his game when needed and how he has taken this years underperforming motor to be leading the title. Awesome. -perhaps hamilton to ferrari wouldnt be such a bad thing as a self development plan for himself, learn a few things, mainly to act like a man and not some half rate spoilt “gangsta”.

    1. Nesto says:

      Maybe I’m in the minority but I think Hamilton’s best season… consistent, level-headed, nearly error-free was 2007 WHEN he had a certain Spaniard alongside him. Funny that eh? Later on in the season as they really fought eachother, we started to see the Hamilton we know today. Races too hard at times and doesn’t use his head. Racer? For sure! He’s better this year for the most part but we all know how 2008-2011 went, WDC and all. Much different from early-mid 2007. His off-track persona and digs at the team are a huge contrast to Alonso who lost a WDC due to his team but he never attacked them. Alonso went thru a divorce and still performed highly in 2011. Ham broke up with his girlfriend (only to get back now it seems) and his performance suffered in the same year.

      1. paddy says:

        Agreed. Fantastic reply. Alonso is the ultimate in performer, imagine investing the millions these people do, working the hours these people do for your work to be strung up like a pair of your grannies auld frillies on twitter?! Hamilton appears to thrive off sympathy. As james pointed out he had missed the part that showed he would be up by a second average over the next sector in his previous blog. If i was doing the hours and investments with the media pressure of running a team for the business to have the correct market appearance, im sorry but hamilton is one of the drivers i woukd definatly not employ. I would rather a strong racer, a mature man, an alonso, a kimi or a perez.

      2. hero_was_senna says:

        I wonder if this is the real reason why Alonso and Ferrari don’t want to have the Ham in the team.
        Contrary to popular belief, I don’t think Alonso fears anyone.
        He was after all suggesting Kubica as a team-mate, he was happy with Webber and if rumors are to be believed, Vettel may join in 2 years time. Even Button has been mentioned at Ferrari a few times now.
        None of those drivers are slouches.
        Think back to 2004, 5 and 6, Trulli often out-qualified him, yet he out-raced Trulli.
        Fisichella was regarded highly back then, enough for pundits to split their decision over who would be quicker over a season, yet apart from 1 or 2 occasions, Alonso destroyed that myth.
        Hamilton is fast, but he seems to carry a personal whirlwind around with him.
        All I’ve ever read of Alonso, is he’s a very private individual, who dedicates more time with Ferrari than even Schumacher did, and MSC was there to actually test the cars.
        I’m certain the Mclaren/ Hamilton love-in tainted Alonso, but maybe he saw enough to appreciate he’s not a responsible man to work with

      3. ch says:

        Interesting wondering about Kimi instead of LH… Given LH’s tweet(why??) If JB pulls ahead in the standings, wonder how LH will react? In worst case, could see McL going for Kimi, who does not seem wholly content at Lotus. Chess game continues.

      4. DanWilliams from Aust says:

        +1 all of the above.

      5. chrisnz says:

        I thought it was quite ironic when Hamilton went up to Grosjean after the incident and pointed to his head to say ‘what were you thinking?’, given the events in the 24 hours leading up to the race.

    2. Quattro_T says:

      HAM to Ferrari would be a very bad move, at least considering how unstable HAM can become when things does not go his way – e g totally turning back on his own team. Certainly, having ALO as his team mate things will not go his way, much more often than with someone like JB no offence intended for JB. Downside >> upside

      1. W Johnson says:

        Alonso was unstable at McLaren when things did not go his way! This is typcal of most top drivers!

      2. hero_was_senna says:

        Except most top drivers are given the respect they have earnt with their achievements.
        2007, Alonso was a reigning 2 times World Champion.
        Hamilton was a rookie.
        Fair play to Hamilton that he didn’t lie down, but Mclaren, and Ron Dennis especially, were favouring Lewis over Alonso.
        From Bahrain that year, Dennis was fighting fires and issuing statements to the press, in Monaco he asked Alonso to say the team had decided on a strategy which implied that Lewis had been asked to play number 2.
        Forget pride, thats downright offensive.

        Could you imagine Schumacher joining Ferrari in 1996 and having the team focus on Irvine? Or Vettel moving to a new team this year, let’s say Sauber, and yet being over-looked for Perez.
        I think alot of this is anti Alonso rather than reasoned thinking.

      3. Quattro_T says:

        @hero_was_senna
        Thanks for saving me the time of writing that. Exactly my line of reasoning :)

      4. Oly says:

        @hero_was_senna
        Exactly. That was far from normal situation. Two times WDC and a rookie (forget about names here) – they weren’t the same but Ron Dennis equaled them completely. Absurd, and an insult to a WDC (again, forgot the name here). Of course Alonso was shaken, but not with LH performance but with a treatment he got from the team. That was outrageous.

        I wonder what was Ron’s thoughts when Kimi took a WDC that year.

      5. Andrew M says:

        Absolutely, I mean there’s no historical precedent for Alonso and Hamilton being in the same team or anything…

  12. Karim says:

    Its funny Allen, how you rated Grosjean about 3 weeks ago, as the 4th best driver according to your rankings, yet he has been involved in so many unspeakable incidents- it beggars belief. Just wanted to point out that it would be a good idea to revise those rankings ;).

    Also, it really peeves me that Grosjean has been banned for Monza. How many drivers have caused a collision with their rivals? How many of them got banned? Where is the consistency from the FIA? The punishment seems rather draconian and stinks of double standards- although I do agree Grosjean needs a good talking to, as well as Maldonando.

    Keep up the good work Allen :)

    1. Alanis Morissette says:

      His first name is James.

      1. hero_was_senna says:

        I don’t think it’s meant disrespectfully, some cultures use surnames as in place of christian names.

      2. Kay says:

        Not true.

        Some cultures put surnames to the front and first names to the back (mostly eastern culture, like Japanese, Chinese), but even so, these cultures do not call others by their surnames.

      3. iceman says:

        19th century England for example – think of Holmes and Watson!

      4. Kay says:

        +1

        Kinda rude calling James by his surname.

      5. Marcelo Valois says:

        Try some research first. Here in Brazil, for example, is quite costumary that people be called or referred to by their surnames.

      6. James Allen says:

        That’s true.

        In press conferences Livio Orriccio, the Brazilian journo, always does it – he says things like, “Hamilton, can you please explain…. etc etc”

    2. Quattro_T says:

      At BBC they mentioned GRO has been involved in 7 1st lap incidents thus far this year. I think that is kind of a record deserving some kind of “reward”.

  13. Jim Dee says:

    “made a tremendous move past one-stopping Schumacher” who eventually ended up requiring a seccond stop.

    1. James Allen says:

      …as it says in the post….

  14. andrew roseblade says:

    I think Hamilton is also 2 blame for the crash at the start. As i understand a F1 car can stop very quick so why didnt Hamilton stop before he rammed into the back of Grosjean send him into the pack.

    1. Phil Snell says:

      If you watch the replay hamiltons two front wheels were off the ground and will all that force going through the cars he didn’t stand a chance.

    2. Michael Grievson says:

      Once he was hit hamiltons car was lifted up off on the ground do will have lost a lot of braking ability.

      1. hero_was_senna says:

        Pretty much all braking on a racing car is done through the front wheels. Brake bias is usually set significantly to the front in the dry.

    3. KRB says:

      He didn’t ram into the back of him! Grosjean’s right-rear wheel clipped Lewis’ front-left, causing LH to lose control of the car, jerk right, then left, then he was just a passenger.

      I just don’t get some posters. Give your head a shake, and put yourself in Hamilton’s seat, or imagine this happening to your favourite driver, etc. It’s absolutely RIDICULOUS to apportion ANY blame to Hamilton, and only makes those who do so look like fools.

      1. GP says:

        What really scares me is that our legal system depends on these people’s judgement when on jury duty. Facts are not subjective or based on whether the driver is your favorite or not. It’s absolutely clear that Lewis is completely blameless.

    4. Elie says:

      Andrew the point is if you don’t understand don’t point the finger.thats the stewards job and theyve made a fair call.! As soon as Grosjeans rear right-wheel connected with Lewis front left- they pretty much both became passengers Lewis obviously sliding into the back of him with locked brakes trying to control the slide. In fact Lewis was lucky not to slide off the track bounce off the wall and take a few more cars out- that’s happened a few time in similar circumstances!

  15. michael grievson says:

    Hopefully the ban will be a warning to other drivers. I think we’ve seen more risks recently with drivers being pushed off the tracks etc. Luckily no one was hurt. Great race and good for Button.

  16. Jagan says:

    It was a brilliant drive by Jenson who made the most of a dominant car. The driver of the day for me was Vettel, who made a 1 stop work to go from 10th to 2nd. Kimi put in a strong drive for 3rd, he clearly didn’t have the car and it was painful to watch on the live timing how much slower he was than the others in S1. I feel if Lewis had not gone out at T1, he would’ve struggled similarly due to his high downforce setup

    1. fullthrottle says:

      He was handed five positions there, so 10th to 2nd is not representative of what he had to do today.

      1. Spanner says:

        He also dropped a few places having to tip toe round the 1st corner collision debris.

      2. Bart says:

        Vettel was 12th after the SC, and there’s no guarantee everyone who had a DNF would have finished ahead, so he had to fight a long way through the field to get 2nd. 10th to 2nd is representative of what he had to do.

      3. quest says:

        He was also hampered by the accident and was in 12th place ater the first lap. Other including Webber gained places. From there, with great overtaking and good strategy he move to 2nd. So he deserves some credit.

      4. Tom says:

        Vettel was 12th at the safety car restart

      5. fullthrottle says:

        Massa, Force India, Caterham, Ricciardo… Yeah, all out of place. He ended the race where the machinery granted, just like last year.

      6. Bart says:

        @fullthrottle – When Alonso, Hamilton, Button came through the field, by your logic, all they did was end where the machinery should have been.

  17. Robert Gunning says:

    Grosjean should consider himself lucky to get away with a ban. Had Alonso been seriously injured or killed, it is likely that his licence would have been revoked, which would have been the end of his racing career. I feel especially sorry, not only for Hamilton and Alonso, but the two Saubers which had potentially race winning pace. Grosjean completely spoilt a potentially excellent race; but when two title contenders are elimated in the first corner, it does not really holds much interest for me.

    1. Rubinho's Keyfob says:

      “Grosjean completely spoilt a potentially excellent race”

      Hands up who remembers the last time Grosjean drove in F1 at Spa? Took out HAM and BUT (and I think at least one other) on the first lap. I’m sure they don’t think like this, but if I was Lewis I’d think “that’s 88 laps of Spa he cost me that I’ll never get to do”.

      It’s a shame, because I had started to warm to him on his 2nd entry into F1, but he does seem to start to look like a crash waiting to happen again.

      1. KRB says:

        It was Alguesuari that took out Hamilton in 2009.

      2. Rubinho's Keyfob says:

        Hi KRB. Technically, you are correct – it was ALG’s car which made contact with HAM. I just checked with a copy of that race that I have on DVD ;)

        But the whole situation was caused by GRO making first contact with BUT and causing him to spin. The other two (ALG was the one I had forgotten) were part of the aftermath as they tried to avoid the incident (it looks like HAM had to keep left to avoid a spinning BUT, and may have damaged ALG’s front right suspension, which then caused ALG to lose control and take out HAM as he turned into the left-hander).

        My point was, if GRO hadn’t hit BUT, then the race would have been much different (just as this time GRO+1 turned into an incident involving 4+ cars).

        A slight side issue – I’m surprised at how poor some of the replays were back then (compared to the comprehensive every-single-angle-and-every-single-cockpit-view we got to see this weekend). It goes to show how far the FOM coverage has come in just a short time.

    2. Kay says:

      +1
      Same here.

  18. Nil says:

    What a relief that Alonso escaped injury. Are canopies being seriously considered in the 2014 regulations?

    Are all post race interviews going to be on the podium? All not in favor of these podium interviews +1 this post!

    1. Don Farrell says:

      +1

    2. Sebee says:

      Don’t you think open cockpit is a defining characteristic of F1?

    3. Seán Craddock says:

      +1

      Also can anybody tell me if the new podium has actual flags? When I 1st saw the podium in Silverstone I thought they were just TV screens with the flag displayed on it.

      Either way I think it should be changed immediately! Flags need to fly in the breeze!

      1. Monza01 says:

        Totally agree !

        They need to back to three proper flags but flying freely on flagpoles this time.

        As for the interviews, much as I admire Jacky Ickx, today they were excruciating.

        Bernie needs to bring back the studio setting and that awfully knowledgeable chap : now what was his name ?

      2. tara_185 says:

        do you mean peter windsor??

    4. Lynchoid says:

      These post race interviews are awful. Does anyone disagree? We need to moan about this and be as vocal as possible.

      1. Luke Clements says:

        +1

        Though I hate watching them on TV…it must be pretty cool for the fans at the race. It must be about giving them better value because if you bought a weekend ticket, it is probably the only time in 3-4 days where you would hear a driver live publicly addressing the crowd.

        I don’t mind if they keep them, just please stop televising them. They come across awful, better to play highlights of the race for a few minutes & wait for the tv to get the post race media interviews.

      2. Nil says:

        The problem is not that the interviews are on the podium – which is great for the fans at the race – the issue is with the inarticulate interviewers whose only question is a variation of ‘How do you feel?’ to every driver no matter how their race panned out. They should have James, Croft or Peter Windsor up there.

    5. KRB says:

      Yeah, the interview was cringeworthy. I hate the format.

    6. Joe B says:

      I agree the podium interviews are awful; at the very least get someone fluent in English with decent questions to ask up there (meaning no disrespect to Ickx).

      On the other hand though, Button took the opportunity to be his usual charismatic self when he spoke to the crowd. If more drivers were as humble and forthcoming as him, then it might be a better spectacle.

      1. j says:

        Have x-drivers give out the awards or hand out the champagne bottles and get a model to simply say the drivers name and then hand them the mic. We don’t need the “interview” part.

    7. hero_was_senna says:

      +1 as it is.
      Could you do the interviewing on the podium James, instead of these so-called experts.

      Imagine 10 years from now, we have Raikkonen on the rostrum, or Hakkinen asking the drivers questions when they hated interviews themselves.

      This is why we need professional reporters, journalists or TV media asking relevant questions.

    8. James Clayton says:

      The podium interviews are truly awful and bring out the worst in the drivers. They start acting like the latest ex-big brother housemates in a christmas panto

    9. Kay says:

      I HATE THESE PODIUM INTERVIEWS!

      They got it from V8 Supercar Australia I think. Took a leaf out of the wrong books, FIA + BE.

      + u use proper flags!

    10. Warren Groenewald says:

      I think the problem with the podium interviews is not the setting but that the interviewer is an ex-driver.

      With a proper journo up there asking proper questions it would be much better.

      1. Ral says:

        I quite like the podium interviews and more importantly, I think the drivers quite like them (when it’s a driver asking the questions) and that gives what looks to me like more genuine responses. I think the drivers view this setup more as a chance to have a chat with someone who’s been there, done that and appreciates their race accomplishments in that light of their own experiences.

        Yesterday for example, do you think Kimi would have looked quite so happy with a compliment about his pass through Eau Rouge from a “regular journalist”? Also, can anyone say what constitutes “proper questions”? I have no doubt a journalist would have found a way to bring up the supporting role thing again for Button. Do you think on that podium, Button would have enjoyed that more than Icx telling him he’d driven a tremendous race?

    11. tara_185 says:

      +1
      thank god i though i was the only one!

    12. Darren says:

      +1. No, not a fan of the podium interview at all. I was cringing the whole time.

      As for the flags, I think real flags will always be better, but, call me old fashioned and anal but they always fly some of the flags the wrong way round, some like the pole is at the top and some like the pole is at the bottom, sorry but it annoys me!

      Canopies have no place in F1 or any form of open wheel racing. Yes having the drivers head exposed is inherently dangerous but it is part of what makes open wheel racing different to closed cockpit, you can see the drivers. In an incident like yesterday a canopy would not have made any difference if RGs car hit Alonsos cockpit, the force of that would simply break off a canopy. The only thing it would pretvent is debris such as wheels or springs hitting the drivers head.

      As for the penalty, it is fine. They should dish out race bans more often, they used to back in the day. Maldonado is getting worse, not only does he need a ban but a serious talking to, Williams cannot afford his crashes both in terms of cost and in points lost. He took his win well in Spain but his performances and incidents since just make it look more like a fluke than it actually was.

  19. Andy says:

    Button and McLaren were in a different class today. As for Grosjean, a race ban is probably about right, although the wording of the statement left a bit to be desired. To say “It eliminated leading championship contenders from the race” is irrelevant. This infers that had the carnage have happened further down the grid, it would have had lesser importance.
    His mistake took out ‘other’ drivers and could have caused serious injury or worse, although it just shows how the smallest of nudges can cause chaos.
    The fact that the team offered no defence may well have reduced the penalty given.

    1. fullthrottle says:

      Is not irrelevant in my view. We need no contenders to the title to think twice before trying stupid moves. Three times if it means disrupting the fight for the title. The field is too close, and there are several young drivers in fast cars. Some of those drivers are prone to make mistakes that ruin other people races. I see it as a warning to Maldonado after how he T-boned Lewis in Valencia. If something similar happen again he will get a race ban.

    2. william says:

      My thoughts exactly, this definitely infers that its fine when somebody destroy your car if you are in a HRT and will be punished severely if you lay a finger on the McLaren and Ferrari.

      Utter nonsense and extremely discriminatory!

  20. Esplanadist says:

    I have often sung the praises of JB, but I think 2012 has not been great …. too many races at the back, then one day a new device appears on his car and the leaders slip up for one reason or another, and zapp !! we’re supposed to hail JB. Well, I’m not minded to …

    Super impressed with Raikkonen: wrong set up, no kers, but makes the move of the year on MSC into OH Rouge.
    Is KR now the only one to finish every race? 6 podiums, 3 of them on the trot, and [more imp] his progress up the standings to joint 3rd …. My money is on this boy for the title.
    Also impressed by Vettel. Maldonado and Grosjean need more than bans and penalties to set them right…

    1. Andrew M says:

      I don’t think anyone’s saying we should forget Jenson’s troubles, but the fact is this was probably the most dominant weekend (pole position by a distance, lights to flag victory) any driver has put together this season. He deserves credit for that.

    2. hero_was_senna says:

      If Kimi wins the title without a race win, Bernie will seriously bring in the medal system for champion.
      what an absolute joke

    3. Elie says:

      Please do not jinx Kimi ! It’s still way too early and Fernando has a good lead. I would be more concerned about Sebastian now he is closer and Lewis in a fast Mclaren. I think with the top 5 so consistently on the podiums Kimi has little chance unless he wins races – and I’m starting to doubt that cause that Damn KERS is too troublesome for them and they have more work to do with pits and strategy.
      BTW hero_was_senna, why are you so anxious? Fernando is well in front. Would you be upset if Seb wins a few races but Fernando finished 2nd or 3rd every race from now (very possible)on and won by a point over Seb.. I doubt it.

  21. Chris says:

    Simple drive for Button, good skill shown by Vettel. Alguesuari for Lotus at Monza? Surely not Heidfeld!

    1. James Clayton says:

      I really can’t see they have any choice but to run Jerome??? Especially after Boullier has been promising this weekend that he’ll definitely have some track time before the end of the season (I think he was referring to free practice, but still…)

  22. Esplanadist says:

    McLaren team members declare that “This is war!!” on HAM for publishing Button’s quali briefing online !

    James, is there any truth in this?

    1. James Clayton says:

      Considering there’s no reference to it anywhere online other than in your post, I’d say there’s pretty much zero truth in it…

  23. Mike says:

    KOBAYASHI WILL RISE AGAIN !!! BANZAI !!!

    1. Kay says:

      Huh lol what the…

      The Eastern Driver Rises eh? :D Then the legend ends.

  24. Dmitry says:

    A great race from Button and McLaren…and a “what could have been” for Lewis.

    It’s great to see F1 back and McLaren in such a good shape! Bring it on Monza!

  25. DK says:

    It was a scary moment at the start and thank God nobody was hurt. Jenson clearly has the fastest car at Spa and he seem to have the easiest job in the race. Both Seb and Kimi worked very hard to make it to the podium.

    Seb is the driver of the day for me. Best overtake was Kimi on Michael at Eau Rouge.

    Romain now leading Maldonado in the running for “top crash kid” of 2012 season.

    Negotiation with Lewis on his contract perhaps become a bit more complicated after this weekend.

    The title fight just got more exciting after this race!!

  26. Dean G says:

    Raikkonen using KERS to thread a 1 meter opening and pass Schumacher at Eau Rouge is the one thing from this race that I will remember ten years from now. To figure that out, and to execute it so as to be able to use his DRS to make it stick… That’s just all-world talent

    1. paddy says:

      Agreed. He also has sportsmanship. Now ask yourself how grosjean compares against genuine world class… Unless he makes a dramatic diffrence pretty sharp, then i doubt in this league he ever will.

    2. coronwen says:

      Yes, brilliant. And even more amazing, in a way, that Kimi managed to explain what he thought and therefore did in that post race interview, he not usually being a man of lengthy sentences. But who needs the words, it’s the deeds which count. Magic!

    3. DanWilliams from Aust says:

      Yeah fantastic move. This race was full of great racing (apart from the start), but Kimi’s move into Eau Rouge was just breathtaking. Pretty dam good for a comeback driver! :)

    4. Kay says:

      That guy Kimi has bigger balls than anybody else on the grid…

      Go back 2011 when Webber v Alonso, neither impressed as much as what Kimi did yesterday. Kimi just didn’t lift and left it up to MSC to pull back or crash.

      Kudos to Kimi.

      1. Elie says:

        +1 Kay. The other thing is that he actually had less KERS available to him and a car that was not well balanced. Truly Epic !

  27. Raj Shekhar says:

    With Eight races to go, there will be more DNFs and leading contenders finishing lower than expected due to the relative similar performances. This Championship will go down to the wire.
    p.s. – Think this was the correct time to punish Maldonado with a one race ban as well.
    p.p.s – The Mclarens look strong.

    1. Kay says:

      p.s. #1 ain’t enough for Maldo. I wouldn’t feel sorry to see Maldo have his Super Licence stripped from him. That guy is a total maniac with no concern for others safety.

      1. Raj Shekhar says:

        What makes it worse is that after the incidents all they do is say words that seem right at that particular moment but do not learn from what happened. And yes, do not think Maldonado is going to escape with too many more of the kind of incidents he gets into. Love the way Raikkonen and Alonso race. Firm but fair and they make the moves stick, which is so much more exciting than seeing somebody go out.

  28. paoloc says:

    It would be nice to have Lotus give Monza seat to Jaime Alguersari!

    1. ida says:

      I was thinking Rene Arnoux!!

  29. Sebee says:

    James,

    Is your BBC Radio team mate putting in a call to Lotus? Could you hold the fort for one event solo while he grabs a top 10 at Monza?

    1. James Allen says:

      I can see them calling on him. He’s been testing the Pirelli car which is run by Lotus, so they know what he can do. He’s much faster than D”Ambrosio, the reserve driver

      Who else would they use?

      1. paddy says:

        JOHNNY HERBERT.

      2. ch says:

        good one…

        I think JH is the best of any of the tv folk.

      3. Sebee says:

        Ha ha ha.

        I see your Herbert and raise you a Mika!

      4. Sebee says:

        Now that you mention it, it’s amazing how few race ready options come to mind beside Jaime.

        Let me try to be 2 for 2. Murray Walker to fill in for Jaime at Radio 5? :-)

      5. AndyFov says:

        I somehow doubt Sutil’s expecting his phone to ring. :)

        I think Jaime would be a good choice too, and it’d be interesting to see Kimi pitched against a different driver.

      6. Andrew M says:

        Lol, +1

      7. Robert Gunning says:

        Adrian Sutil?

      8. Andrew M says:

        I doubt Sutil’s getting a call since he glassed one of the team owners…

      9. Robert Gunning says:

        Oh yeah. I forgot for a moment that Lotus and Renault (Genii Group) are/were the same team.

      10. sut says:

        Please, please, please bring back Rubens. He can at least show Maldonado some race class. As I said after Spain, while I take nothing away from his victory, I’m yet to be convinced he’s not a one hit wonder. Was slagged off at the time and don’t like to gloat but it looks like I might have a point.

      11. Sri says:

        How about Bottas? seems to be decent. loan him out from williams.

      12. James Allen says:

        What so he can learn all Lotus’ secrets, like how DDRS works?

      13. Denis 68 says:

        As it’s a one off race, in Italy why not put an Italian driver in the seat seeing there is no Italian driver currently in F1.

        Give Liuzzi the drive for Monza, It couldnt do any harm with the crowd either after one of your drivers took out a Championship leading Ferrari.

      14. James Clayton says:

        “He’s much faster than D’Ambrosio, the reserve driver”

        James. I’m interested to know what data you’re basing this on?

      15. James Allen says:

        You don’t agree?

      16. Kay says:

        Since it’s pretty much a French-run team, maybe they can call up A.Prost and see what he can do in modern F1 cars? That way it’d stop the arguments of whether yesteryear’s drivers can still perform in today’s equipment from your previous post James :D

      17. James Allen says:

        He’s certainly fit enough!

      18. Kay says:

        Well James, he can take it as a nice Sunday drive, just to relax and enjoy :D :D :D

      19. Dunky says:

        Funny I actually had this thought myself!

        He’s so fit still and his speed and reactions are still very evident through his ice racing.

        What a story that would be for F1 :-)

        You can only dream.

      20. quest says:

        Also did’nt Alguesuari come into his debut race weekend without ever having driven an F1 car. Yet never once did we see him doing crazy thing we have seen some drivers do this year. It’s unfortunate that many deserving drivers are sitting out this year. The racing would have been even better given how close cars are this year.

      21. Quick Nick Rules says:

        Bring Back Quick Nick! He was ditched for Bruno Lalli a year ago who has done absolutely nothing – he is in the sport due to pointless sentimentalism over his acquired surname, nothing else

      22. Marcelo Valois says:

        Bruno had OGX money and some consistency. Nick had bad results in a nice car.

      23. Quick Nick Rules says:

        Consistency? Consistently slow! One 9th place in half a season is hardly a great return. Quick Nick had 6 times the number of points finishes Bruno had, including a superb podium in Malaysia.

        Unfortunately in F1, perception is everything – think Germans really suffer in this respect, especially in the UK media – we barely heard a flicker about The Hulk’s wonderful drive on Sunday, yet if Di Resta had delivered it it would have been big news. Same deal with Sutil last year – got almost double the points of his team-mate yet numerous UK commentators were certain he should be ditched.

        Am I the only one that doesn’t get the hype surrounding Di Resta? He seems steady enough, but he looks likely to be beaten two years in a row by his team-mate – the same criteria that many speculate will lead to Kobayashi losing his drive for 2013, yet Di Resta is being talked up for Ferrari / Mercedes – have I missed something here? Never seen anything special from him.

  30. Irish con says:

    I was thinking thru the race that grosjean deserved a race ban but I never expected it to happen. Reckon it’s the best decision made in years. You can’t have guys wrecking people’s races and the thousands of fans who pay there money to go to the race to see there favourite drivers took out by a stupid mans driving at the start. Pretty clear to me that fernando would of been on the podium today too. Big big blow to his hopes although the McLaren looks the best car now and it’s Lewis who is still 47 points behind. Good race though and vettel and kimi overtakes out of the drs zones were class. Looks so bad when Michael just sails past kimi in the drs zone after kimis great move.

  31. ChrisJ says:

    What a race! Brilliant from start to finish. Jenson was supreme all weekend. The Saubers could have had their best result had it not been for the devastating crash at the start, and am eagerly awaiting to see if they can pull it off at Monza. All in all the best race for a long time!

  32. Paul says:

    When I initially heard that Grosjean got a race ban, I initially thought it was very harsh. Has it been handed out on the basis of his first lap incident history? It doesn’t mention that in the FIA press release.

    If Grosjean is being given a ban for his history, how many race bans has Maldonado earned?! I think it’s the only way Pastor will learn.

    Will be very interesting to see how d’Ambrosio gets on at Monza in the Lotus. It’s still unclear how good he is. He stacked up relatively well against Glock at Virgin last year (although Pic has probably gone better this year). Jerome never really shone in GP2, although his then teammate Kobayashi has done rather well in F1. It makes me think that the DAMS team really struggled with the ’08 GP2 car.

  33. Vinay says:

    Hey James,

    I thought the ban on Romain was a bit harsh. Although he was involved in 7 mishaps so far, i think he was not warned or reprimanded before. So, a ban straight off – a bit too harsh. I think you cannot look at the result and then judge the incident – the result could have been different and much less damaging as well.

    Do you think Hamilton could have done something to reduce the carnage? Could he have lifted off a bit? I felt Hamilton also should have been talked to.

    1. hal says:

      Why when most pundits and more stewards clearly lay the blame on RG?

    2. Kay says:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cBLYtI8ZIAY

      Watch for yourself before commenting.

    3. Davexxx says:

      Someone else commented that Lewis should have avoided him – by driving off the track! 1) drivers are supposed to stay on the racing track! 2) WHY should he have to?!! Romain had NO cars to his left that he was having to avoid, so he had NO excuse to be running so far to the right. 3) Drivers are told to leave enough room for another car. I agree with ‘everyone else’ – Lewis was in NO way to blame for this.

    4. Elie says:

      Vinay- another name I will ignore from now on. Grosjean went into Lewis ! Where was Lewis supposed to go – into the wall at 200+kph if he slowed he would be hit from behind ?? Honestly guys enough of the … I will say “random” comments so this does not get moderated.

      1. Vinay says:

        Elie, I do not want to start a flame war. I was just expressing an opinion. I take back my question as to if Lewis could have done anything.

        I dont think we have to be angry with fellow commenters. We all care for F1.

  34. Joe B says:

    Surprised to see such decisive action from the FIA/stewards, but the ban is completely deserved. It was a ridiculous move and the total lack of awareness shown by Grosjean was dangerous, and not the first time he’s exhibited that kind of driving. As an aside, with another driver in the Lotus we’ll get more of an idea of its potential, and of where Raikkonen’s real pace is. For the record, I’m guessing he’s getting the maximum out of that car…

    Awesome drive from Button, and I would love to see him pull himself back into the title fight. Here’s hoping he’s that strong at Monza, which I am looking forward to immensely!

    Also, and it’s really tough to write this, but a really strong race from Vettel. He made some impressive overtakes and showed pace that Webber couldn’t match. Wish the Mercedes could’ve held together better, because Schumacher drove like the champ he is. And it was great to see the Marussia cars duelling, wish we got to see more of that backmarker action.

    1. Kay says:

      As much as I dislike MSC, he really did put up a good fight and race in Spa. Amazing drive by him.

      1. Elie says:

        Agree Kay on both

  35. Qiang says:

    Hi James,
    What is your view about Maldonado and Grosjean in their place in F1? I honestly think the FIA should seriously look at banning those two drivers once for all. I know it’s harsh. But they appears to be not willing to learn from their mistakes. What was the problem with the smoking Sauber of Kobayashi? Together with the crazy jump star of Maldonado, maybe it was enough to get Grosjean lost his head.
    It is all a bit too much for F1 really. Do you think Williams F1 could survive without Maldonado’s money?
    I fear that somebody will get hurt if they are allow to do that.

    1. AndyFov says:

      I don’t think either deserve lifetime bans.

      It’s not unusual for some drivers experience more than their fair share of drama early on in their careers, most mature and improve.

      Mika Hakkinen is the most obvious example that springs to mind.

    2. Quick Nick Rules says:

      Absolute Rubbish. If we’re debating those that shouldn’t be in F1 then we should start with The Pastor’s Team-mate – he was over 2s slower in Quali and had a pathetic race. I’d rather a reckless but fast driver over a slow clogger any day of the week – F1 is a show and The Pastor is always exciting to watch. Had Gilles Villeneuve been born 30 years later I dare say you’d want him banned for wild driving also

      1. Marcelo Valois says:

        It is quite clear that your comments are heavily influenced by your anger on Bruno, and we know it has origin on the fact that he replaced Heidfeld after his epic failure.

        Bruno is not brilliant, but he is able to finish races. MAL is a “reckless but fast” front wing smasher.

        Furthermore, comparing MAL with Gilles is an heresy.

      2. Quick Nick Rules says:

        Hardly an ‘epic failure’ – they had a half-season each, Quick Nick got a podium, Bruno Lalli got a 9th place.

        Maldonado is capable of brilliance, as we saw in Spain. Where was his team-mate that day? Scrapping in the lower reaches after another dire showing in Qualifying – out in Q1 while his team-mate takes pole!

        Bruno is able to bring the car home, but he’s not exactly interesting to watch – Maldonado guarantees excitement – if we relate it to Formula 1’s greatest ever season, 2003, then The Pastor is like a latter-day Montoya – always quick and always going for it, whereas Bruno is akin to Jarno Trulli – boring to watch, not a racer.

        I know which one I would rather watch, and I’d imagine Millions of TV viewers agree with me

  36. KRB says:

    Only right that Grosjean got the one-race ban, but I wonder why it doesn’t extend to the car as well. Surely that would drive home the message far better than just banning Grosjean. I have no idea what he was thinking, it was a pretty drastic move over to the right, and I don’t know what he was trying to accomplish by it.

    I actually feared Alonso could’ve been dead in the car when he wasn’t moving afterwards. Grosjean’s car did twirl over Alonso’s, and a rear wheel to the head then would’ve been the end of him. So, so lucky.

    Feel bad for him and his 23-straight points finish streak, nevermind the championship picture. Also gutted for Hamilton, just horrible luck, again. If this isn’t the end of his bad luck this season, then there’s no chance at the DWC. Also feel horrible for Kamui and Sergio, a great potential result destroyed by Grosjean in less than 300 metres.

    Also, I think Maldonado’s jump-start played some part in the carnage that followed, as it seemed to make everyone a little frantic. I’m surprised no one else jumped after seeing him go, much like how an NFL defensive lineman will go at the first sign of movement from the offensive lineman opposite. I see they’ve handed out two grid penalties to him, one for the jump-start, and one for colliding with Timo Glock.

    I didn’t hear anything about any outcome of investigations into Schumacher’s cut across Vettel into the pits (it was bad), and then Webber’s potential unsafe release (it was close, but no harm, no foul).

    Seems like the FIA’s website is down, so can’t check to see if there’s been any further news there.

    Great drive for Button, but the big winner championship-wise is Vettel, with Raikkonen almost benefitting. Didn’t much care for Button seemingly taking some satisfaction pointing out Alonso and Hamilton to Seb and Kimi on a classification screen on the TV in the weigh-in room before the podium ceremony.

    I was going to say that the result would’ve been very bad for Di Resta, vis-a-vis Nico H., until it came out that he had no KERS for the race.

    1. Elie says:

      KRB the car Didn’t cause the accident. The driver did .

      1. KRB says:

        I get that, but in the same way as football leagues will fine teams for not controlling their players after they get a set number of yellow/red cards, the FIA could do the same. Nevermind the inherent danger of letting in a driver who’s never been in the car, or only had limited running in it.

  37. Thomas says:

    If Grosjean has stretched the patience of the stewards to breaking point, what of Maldonado?

    There was a replay from Charlie Whiting’s gantry point
    showing the Maldonado jump start and the look on Charlie’s face was priceless.

    Maldonado received a total of three penalties during the race weekend, which must be some sort of record.

    It ‘s been a while since we’ve had a drive get a ban, but surely Maldonado deserved it more than Grosjean for today’s debacle.

    1. Kay says:

      I bet ya Charlie would tell ya: “If I got any say, I’d have him banned if not for his daddy paying off the FIA”

    2. Marcelo Valois says:

      I don’t think GRO’s punishment took into account previous accidents. Seemed to me quite fair a one-race ban for yesterday’s accident, given its consequences.

      That’s why I don’t think MAL should receive a one-race ban for a jump start plus a light avoidable collision.

      And we all know that “crime to punishment ratio” in F1 is not exactly linear, too.

  38. Matt says:

    I’m not saying that I’m psychic, but after Maldonado got the 3 place grid penalty, I knew that Fernando Alonso would not make it pass turn 1. I didn’t think that Grosjean. I thought it would be crash expert Maldonado. Maldonado crashed his Williams F1 car in Venezuela while doing a demo run over the four-week break.
    I just read that Grosjean has now wracked on the first lap in 7 of the 12 races this year. That is unbelievable to me. That’s GP2 stuff. It makes me wonder if a one race ban is enough.
    I looked at the accident several times to see if another driver came over on Grosjean which forced him to come over on Lewis Hamilton, but there was no one remately close to him.
    The next thing that puzzles me about Grosjean’s move is his move to the right. To make a right-hand turn, I would think that he would move to the left a little. There was no one to his immediate left so he had the room to do so. I’m not a formula 1 driver, but any racer knows that it is out-in-out whenever you’re taking a corner.
    Massa finished 5th so Fernando Alonso would have easily finished 2nd or at worst 3rd and extended his lead over everyone except Jensen Button, who is bssicly out of the Championship.
    Also Fernando Alonso would have tied Michael Schumacher for consecutive races in the point at 24.

    1. FerrariFan says:

      Hey I had the same feeling and I am sure many more had it. But I thought it will be Maldonado and Hamilton coming together. If not for the jump start I am sure Maldonado would have made a contribution as well.

      1. DanWilliams from Aust says:

        I was worried for everyone in front of Maldonado on the grid lol! Did not expect him to be somewhat innocent in the huge inncident that followed him into the 1st corner. Personally, and as mentioned by others in theis colomn, I would not be surprised if his jump start actually snaked a few guys around him and therefore meant they weren’t thinking 100% on the run down to the 1st corner.

      2. Kay says:

        Yer and Maldo would think he’s being charity as he’d blame the other guys, as usual.

    2. Marcelo Valois says:

      So… you think GRO hit HAM so he could be pushed straight into ALO’s car so the later could not tie MSC’s record?

      1. Matt says:

        Wow! Your comment to my posting is AMAZING to me. (1) You didn’t comment of Grosjean’s 7 lap crashes out of the 12 races so far, (2) you didn’t comment of Grosjean’s car almost decapitating Fernando Alonso, (3) you didn’t comment of Grosjean stupidly misjudging the distance between his car’s right-rear tire and Lewis Hamilton’s front-left tire and causing a major accident, (4) and you didn’t comment on Grosjean taking out both Saubers. Sauber is not Ferrari, McLaren, or Red Bull. They need every point they can get because at the end of the year mean million of dollars for the team. With more money, the team can build a more competitive car.
        What you chose to comment on was a little side comment by me. What do you think Fernando Alonso really cares about? Not breaking Michael Schumacher’s consecutive points in a race or not having the opportunity, by no fault of his own, to extend his lead in the championship?
        I thought it was worth mentioning because it was a record, but if you noticed, I saved it for last.

  39. hal says:

    RG should do the decent thing and apologise to all the drivers races he ruined. He needs to face up to it andacknowledge his errors.
    Agree with punishment – too many time now where he was involved in a first lap incident.

    1. Kay says:

      Apologies ain’t enough and don’t really help. He should be banned from F1 completely.

      Same goes to Maldoidioto

      1. Quick Nick Rules says:

        Calm down. Maldonado is constantly entertaining – give me a quick but wild driver over a slow clogger ie Senna any day of the week

      2. Marcelo Valois says:

        Have you ever tried to watch NASCAR? :-)

  40. Monza01 says:

    Having looked at the footage many times you can only blame Grosjean for causing the accident but whether he was actually aware that his rear wheel was inside Lewis’ I’m not sure.

    Had the consequences not have been so serious and dangerous we could – just about – make a case for it being a racing incident.

    I’ve admired the speed of Grosjean this year but, like Maldonado, he has been involved in just too many incidents – particularly first lap ones – so a 1 race ban could be considered quite lenient in these circumstances.

    However there are far more serious issues to consider :

    F1 was extremely lucky not to see Alonso or possibly Kobayashi beheaded live on TV this afternoon. The consequences of such an event could be equally fatal for the sport.

    None of the safety features built into the cars contributed anything towards safeguarding either driver in this incident, a horrific death was avoided through pure luck, nothing more.

    F1′s tank of luck is running close to empty : it can only be a matter of time before we see another fatality. Such is the standard of safety built into the cars that a driver’s head injury will be by far the most likely cause.

    First of all, we have to do more to stop cars being launched into the air as well as take a fresh look at how to do more to protect the driver’s head from a front or side impact.

    I think the consequences of wheels touching each other are far too dangerous : F1 could do a lot more to stop cars being launched into the air which is usually caused through wheel to wheel contact.

    The new Indycar rules for 2012 go some way in reduce these risks with bodywork in front and behind the rear wheels.

    F1 could easily introduce some form of vertically narrow structure outside of the current sidepods which would stop the interlocking of wheels when cars are running side by side.

    Bodywork in the form of an additional low rear wing assembly would protect the area behind the rear wheels.

    I don’t pretend to have an acceptable answer for protecting the driver’s head and personally I would not want to see fully enclosed cockpits in F1 but the consequences of a driver losing his head live on TV would be catastrophic.

    F1 owes it to the drivers to introduce something imaginative to prevent this happening.

    1. KRB says:

      Grosjean had to have known that he was not fully ahead of Lewis, and then he should be able to see that he hasn’t left a full car-width on the right-hand side of the track! I just have zero idea what he was trying to accomplish by that move … surely he would not have continued on in that line and then turned, would he? He would’ve veered left then back into the corner, I would think. Just bizarre driving from him. I would’ve banned the car as well, meaning Lotus would be playing one-handed in Italy. Surely Lotus have a responsibility to keep their driver in line, just as Williams do with Maldonado.

      Seems to me the near-rookies near the start of the grid all got too excited, first by Kobayashi’s smokin’ car (“oooh, wounded car!” they must’ve been thinking), then Pastor blatantly jumping the start.

      If Pastor is sent to the back before both both penalties are applied, will that penalty carry over? It should.

      1. Monza01 says:

        In the past I feel sure that Maldonado would have been replaced by the team before now but, sadly, I can’t see how Sir Frank can lose the money that having this deeply flawed driver brings.

        The FIA should therefore step in and ban him. Maybe in those circumstances the contract might allow Williams to keep the money ?

      2. Kay says:

        Frank ought to realise that the repair bill for Maldo’s car is costing more than what he brings to the team.

    2. Novotny says:

      I said much the same things when MSC almost lost his head in Abu Dhabi.

  41. Pulkit Tripathi says:

    Hi James,

    1. What was wrong with Kimi and his car…why he was struggling?
    2. Romain’s accident was racing accident…I don’t think he did purposely…ban may be justified for creating accident but “Eliminating Leading Championship Contenders” as the reason for Grosjean’s ban. I can understand the penalty, but the “eliminating championship contenders” ? are they out of the mind?”
    3. MSC levying and Lewis in at Merc?

    1. KRB says:

      Did Grosjean deliberately cause an accident? No. Did he cause an accident through reckless driving? Sure did.

  42. AlexD says:

    As a Ferrari fan, I am sorry for Alosno. But…Alonso knows it that you have good and bad luck throughout the season. Hamilton is probably the most unfortunate this season, whereas 2 drives in particular are making way too many mistakes – Maldonado and Grosjean.

    I am glad that he is banned – maybe other will learn.

    For some reason you do not see these mistakes from the likes of Vettel, Alonso, Button or Raikkonen. I did not mention Hamilton because of him driving into Kimi’s back in the pitlane.

    So….Alonso is now only 24 points ahead of Vettel. In all honestly, they are equal. Alonso had bad luck and so did Vettel – they both understanding it.

    I think the title is between these two guys.

    On the positive side, Massa was relatively quick so it means Alonso could have finished P3 or P2. Could be a good sign for Monza and an additional motivation for Ferrari to count on their own performance and not bad luck of other drivers and teams.

    1. Quattro_T says:

      “So….Alonso is now only 24 points ahead of Vettel. In all honestly, they are equal. Alonso had bad luck and so did Vettel – they both understanding it.”

      While agree Vettel was unlucky in Valencia, I would not say equal. Alonso was hit from behind at no fault of his own or team. Vettels car stopped due to fault of a component of the car – due to being too optimazed for performance, too tightly packaged for performance…

      1. KRB says:

        Yes, not similar. Alonso had absolutely no control over his situation today. RBR might not have had too much control over theirs either (though their working relationship with Renault makes them effectively their works team), but certainly more than the zero that FA had today.

      2. AlexD says:

        This was not my point….I am simply saying from a driver perspective.Hamilton was taken out – lost points twice. Vettel lost 25 points in Valencia. Alonso lost valuable points yesterday.
        Actually, Hamilton suffered the most.

        So all in all, Alonso is alive, still leading a championship. If Ferrari can improve the car, he will win the championship.

      3. Quattro_T says:

        Yes, Hamilton have the 2 DNFs, but equally you could argue he put himself in that situation at least for one of the DNFs. Why push another driver off the circuit, knowing that driver is at least as aggressive as himself and given history can be unpredictable?

    2. Matt says:

      Did Ferrari count on bad luck when FA won in Malaysia? If the other team cars can’t perform in adverse weather conditions or their drivers are not good in the rain, is that Ferrari fault?
      I will give you Valencia, but how did Ferrari count on bad luck when FA won the German Grand Prix? Vettel and Button cars both finished the race, right?
      Vettel should pay Grosjean’s $50,00 fine because he benefited greatly from the first corner accident which took out both Alonso and Hamilton. If Alonso was not taken out by Grosjean, he would have extended his lead in the championship.

  43. GP says:

    I’m very happy for JB that his bad run is behind him. Despite some terrible races he kept a good attitude and remained professional with his team, the media and his fans. A class act.

    On the other hand, Grosjean’s driving and attitude are frankly inadequate for an F1 driver. How many starting accidents has he had this year? To be starting on the left hand side of the grid and, right after the start, move hard right is incomprehensible to me. There was what, 8 or 9 cars behind him on the right side of the grid, where did he think they had gone?

    What’s even more worrying is that he has no clue. When interviewed his only answer was I’ll have to look at the replay. He doesn’t appear to even suspect that moving from left to right at the start may have had something to do with his taking out 2 championship contenders. Unbelievable…

    1. Marcelo Valois says:

      Championship contenders or not, he can’t do that.

  44. Sasa says:

    Disappointing race really, boring compared to usual high standards of Spa races. Dominating win from Button, shame on Grosjean.

    1. Bluefroggle says:

      I thought so too. I was looking forward to a good duel with Alonso and Hamilton in the race. After they were taken out, and Button having nothing to do ‘cept stay in front, I fell asleep half the time!

    2. Noel says:

      Finally, some one has used the B word. Boring boring boring! While the stewards are handing out bans perhaps we need to look at banning the one stop strategy. The Pirelli tyres are just lasting too damned long and while I commend JB for his skill in nursing the Mclaren around Spa for 44 laps, it was not what I’d consider to be F1 racing. In fact by his own admission he didn’t race anyone all day. Boring! Other catagories have mandatory stops so why not this one?

      1. Sasa says:

        Mandatory stops are’nt needed. Its just the tire choice made by Pirelli, they went conservative because of the issues they had last year in Spa. I would like to see refuelling back in F1 though. Guessing fuel loads made everything all the more interesting in the past.

    3. Marcelo Valois says:

      Boring? If you say that from a P1-P3 dispute point of view i do agree, but from P4-P12 it was a great race. VET overtook a lot; RAI made a class act overtaking maneuver, and so on.

    4. Matt says:

      I totally agree with you. It was a very boring race to me. I usually TiVo the races and watch it 3 or 4 times before deleting it, but after Alonso and Hamilton got taken out by Grosjean, I deleted the race immediately after it ended. The only exciting thing was Kimi’s pass on Schumacher, but we saw the same thing last year when Webber passed Alonso.

  45. TheGreatTeflonso says:

    Grosjean deserves the ban sadly, as likable as he is, he seems to shut his brain off for the first minute of a race. I think he deserves it for his combined errors, and feel that this one was closer to a racing incident than some of his prior. I dont know why Hamilton didnt brake earlier on the inside… He was always going to risk something by not doing so. I love Spa, it’s my favorite track, but the race was relatively dull given that the main protagonists this season were out. I never doubted that Vettel can overtake people, I doubt he can win a world title in a slower car, and I think he had a great car under him today… Only slower than the McLaren. But if others crash into Alonso again, I think the Red Bull is still a better package than the Ferrari, and Vettel would win the title.

    James, some are saying Bernie Ecclestone let slip that Schumacher is leaving. Do you know if this is true? Hope he stays. He’s gotten classy with age. You know in 2007 a lot of Hamilton fans loved attaching the phrase “throwing his toys out of the pram” to Alonso. I think over the last few years Hamilton has made the phrase his own, and this weekend was another example.

  46. D@X says:

    Well it was interesting to read several articles on whom actually caused the accident and Im glad with stewards decision to punish the culprit. Several sports journalist got it very wrong and it was embarrassing to say the least..I guess speculation and excitement adds to the banter!

  47. Roh George says:

    Button and his McLaren were matchless today but Kimi’s move on Schumi through Eau Rouge was the day’s highlight. James, why does Grosjean get a race ban while “Mad”onaldo get away with just grid place penalties after being a hazard race after race. I understand PDVSA are pumping in a lot of money on his behalf but with his track record, the return on capital is bleeding by now! He’s just unrepentant of his mistakes and its strange the stewards let him get away pretty lightly everytime.

  48. Craig D says:

    Button sure did need that! Top stuff from Vettel too; one-stopped but still made aggressive overtakes.

    Warranted penalty for Grosjean. He’s good but his lack of awareness at the start has occurred a few times this year.

    Maldonado seems to never learn as well.

    Still open fit the Championship. McLaren have a good car again, Red Bull are up there as well, but Alonso still would have got a podium if he hadn’t been nearly killed! Then there’s Kimi and his ever-consistency.

  49. danny11 says:

    What a shame for Fernando and Ferarri as they have showed here that they were quite competitive (Massa finishing 5th). This really hurt his title hopes since they still don’t have the best package! These young drivers can really screw whole situation, for some and help someone else (red Vettel)!!! They should have a bit patience and I don’t see that! Question for you James; Should the stewards penalties be harder on such a reckless driving and second why was Webber not penalized when it was an obvious case of unsafe release?
    Thanks!

    1. AlexD says:

      Let’s be honest…Alonso capitalized on misfortunes of other so far, so….it is more or less equal.

      I am a Ferrari/Alonso fan and it hurts to see the result, but I remember Alonso winning in Valencia with Vettel DNFs.

      1. danny11 says:

        True Alex but Vettels DNF was caused by engine failure, not someone crashing at him. And still I believe that you agree that most of these young guns are just hot heads. I don’t remember these things happening in the era of Picquet, Mansel, Prost, Senna and even Shumi! Back then young drivers had respect and knew when to back off. I am afraid if they continue like this someone is really gonna get hurt.

      2. Warren Groenewald says:

        That’s a view through rose tinted glasses. Up until a few years ago, first lap carnage was a regular thing with multiple cars being taken out after the start, usually by the “young guns”.

        And you’re talking about Senna and Schumacher having respect for other drivers? That’s highly debateble

    2. Marcelo Valois says:

      Unsafe releases are clearly pit crew faults.The driver shouldn’t get punished once he just leaves the pits once the “lollipop man” raises the sign.

  50. b.kellers says:

    Very entertaining race.

    Anybody still saying Vettel can’t overtake?

    Harsh penalty for Grosjean though, especially if you consider some of Maldonandos moves this year.

    On the other hand: Grosjean has been in quite a lot of starting accidents so far and in my opinion generally is one of the most overrated drivers this season.
    I think the Lotus package had a lot more potential then the drivers were able to get out of it first half of the season.

    1. Quattro_T says:

      “Anybody still saying Vettel can’t overtake?”

      I think everyone will agree Vettel can overtake, given a good car – only not comparable with the absolute best out there.

      1. Persi says:

        @Quattro_T

        +1

    2. mayberth says:

      The E20 is not really a good car…..lose tyre temp easily behind safety car, cant generate enough heat for 1 lap pace….it seems that car was only good in race pace when the temp is hot!!
      And spa proved that E20 has no pace at all on the long straights.

    3. Kay says:

      Vettel can’t overtake.

      There you go.

  51. Adelaide says:

    As soon as I saw the replay of the start crash, I said it should be a two race ban for Grosjean. Later, on the BBC forum, Lauda said the same. It was crazy video-game racing.

    Well done to JB. Sad watching Spa with the two best racing drivers taken out in the first corner incident…bring on Monza!

    1. Persi says:

      I agree.

      Aside from Grosjean completely ruining 3 drivers’ race (4 if you count Kamui) it was just such a foolish, careless move. He seemed so clueless when Natalie interviewed him (supposedly he hadn’t seen the footage but he just sounded so nonchalant). Christ Alonso nearly got beheaded.

  52. Don Farrell says:

    :( Gutted to see Alonso out on the first corner… but so relieved nobody was injured… amazing how safe these modern F1 car are.

    Both Grosjean’s and Maldonado’s antics at the start of the race are just typical of the impetuous behaviour of the newbies in F1. Prehaps these newbies need a few lessons on Driver Etiquette before they are allowed race with the ‘big boys’?

  53. FerrariFan says:

    I couldn’t believe what happened at the start. I had a weird feeling about Maldonado causing havoc in the middle but it turned out to be the other twin Grosjean. Its time some of these kids are taught a lesson about not crashing into one another. This will definitely give Vettel the momentum to propel him to a third title. Sorry state at Mc Laren. Looks like there is serious in fighting between Hamilton and the team about the contract. Now they are going to self destruct and hand Vettel the championship without a challenge. The Ferrari is just too slow. But a good showing by Massa. At lease he overtook Webber and kept him behind.

    1. Don Farrell says:

      I wonder if Hamilton jumped shipped to replace Massa would he get on better with Alonso second time around?

      After all they both have a common enemy now… McLaren!

      Hamilton has matured greatly in the past year and Alonso seems to have hinted Hamilton is a talented driver… I’m just thinking out loud…. what does everybody think?

      1. Quattro_T says:

        I do not think Alonso ever saw Mclaren as an enemy, rather the incompetent management that was at place at the time.

        And no, HAM at Ferrari would be the most crazy idea IMO. HAM mature?? Did you miss the famous tweet from this morning? Actions from own employees do not get much more immature/destructive than that.

      2. Don Farrell says:

        lol ya Quattro_T your right… I barely had my comment posted when I remembered his whole ‘twit-gate’ this morning! Hamilton had been more mature in the first half of the season.. but since he returned from holidays he seems to have regressed to the ‘old Hamiliton’

        I’m convinved he suffers from depression or something that causes him to go into ‘self-distruct’ mode.

      3. KRB says:

        Alonso and Hamilton get on well now, but I doubt that would last if they were in the same team again. Better that they race in their respective teams.

        They are the alpha dogs of the sport … what struck me today is how much the race resembled those of the dominant Schumacher era, where you had one a-cut-above top driver (Vettel), a few near-top drivers (Kimi,Button), then the rest. No wonder Schumi won five in a row then.

      4. FerrariFan says:

        As a ferrari and Alonso fan I would relish that. It will be a dream team for sure. But sadly I dont see that happening.

    2. ian says:

      Hi FerrariFan,
      I fear your reading of the situation at McLaren is spot on. Whitmarsh has been woeful this season, even more than previous years, and their handling of a precocious talent has been painful to watch.
      This is not to defend Hamilton, who has yet to grow up,but the team is there to get the best out of everything at their disposal.
      Whitmarsh must go and now. He has no idea of man management and McLaren must let him go.

      1. Quattro_T says:

        Strange comment at a day when a Mclaren have had a dominant win in a very uncertain season.
        Are you suggesting that Dennis who put his money on HAM instead of ALO was better? What exactly has Whitmarsh done wrong? He has provided his drivers with very competitive packages since 2010, even when considering the vast advantage the RB have had with their super EBD. Frankly, Whitmarsh cannot help his drivers throwing away sure points by being way too aggressive as Hamilton clearly demonstrated e g in 2011.

      2. KRB says:

        The ol’ Dennis-sabatoged-Alonso nugget … it never gets old!! Like a trusty blankey it gives instant soothing comfort!

      3. Quattro_T says:

        @KRB
        “Like a trusty blankey it gives instant soothing comfort!”
        No, it is the logical reasoning and actual point scores of the two 2010-2012, seasons when mr Dennis was not a factor. Care to count and compare? No, obviously much easier close eyes and make pointless statements count.

  54. Spinodontosaurus says:

    So how has Maldonado not recieved the same treatement?
    At least Grosjean is not deliberately ramming people.

  55. LD says:

    Faultless from Button.
    Gutting for Hamilton – McLaren have by far and away the fastest package. No.2 was his.

    Jenson was so far behind in the WDC points his win today hasn’t really added pressure to the top current top 3. The only person who is now under pressure is Hamilton, whose inter team lead has been drastically cut to 10 points.

    McLaren’s split strategies, development in any particular direction and strategy calls between drivers will be very interesting and need careful managing.

    Fair play to Whitmarsh for also mentioning how badly affected Alonso was due to the first corner incident.

    Vettel must be thanking his lucky stars. Failed to make Q3 on Saturday, looking at damage limitation today. Instead he ends up 2nd and eating into Alonso’s WDC lead handsomely.

    1. KRB says:

      Aside from the Valencia alternator, he’s had a good-sized horseshoe up his posterior this year. He’s driven well of course, but he’s had good luck along the way too (I’m thinking AUS & MON as two prime examples).

      Over 20 races, you’d think it would even up for all, but we’ll see.

      1. Sri says:

        Vettel had 2 DNFs till now: Narain’s accident (debatable who was wrong) and alternator. He did lose some significant points.
        Alonso had only 1 till now. So luck is in still favor of Alonso (besides 2 races of rain where Ferrari is superior to others).

      2. hero_was_senna says:

        Malaysia and the other was???

      3. Sri says:

        Make it three – 1 race, 2 quali. MAL race, GBR and GER quali. He won the MAL race and got 2 poles which helped a lot in the race (won in GER and second in GBR).

      4. KRB says:

        Malaysia was not a DNF for Vettel, he finished 11th. I guess Christian Horner would theorize that Webber and Raikkonen are all due a DNF soon, then Vettel and Alonso again shortly thereafter.

        Lewis and Jenson have 3 and 2 respectively (DNF’s plus classified non-finishes).

        Of course we know it doesn’t work that way. It’s like saying the next toss of a coin has to be heads b/c it’s been tails the previous 10x. Nope, previous results have no bearing on future ones.

    2. hero_was_senna says:

      Great point. In fact I’m fairly certain Alonso will be happier that Button won and Lewis crashed out than the other way, because it means that Mclaren won’t put their weight behind Lewis for a few races more.

      1. LD says:

        Yep, Lewis doesn’t need his paranoia to kick in (again) and distract him. Jenson was so far out of the picture before Sunday and Lewis would have had the benefit if him easily being McLaren’s best hope of a Championship.

        Now, it’s really too close to call and Jenson looks like he’s really extracting the most out of this revised McLaren.

        Lewis is a bit like a petulant teenager sometimes and the smallest thing that set him off. Look at the Twitter shenanigans, the deliberating over his contract with statements about it not being an emotion decision, etc.

        A dominant win for Lewis at Spa would have probably ended with a new contract, signed and a team effort to get him his next WDC.

        Now? Who know….

  56. Tom Stagg says:

    Grosjean’s ban is fully deserved. This season, he’s been involved in too many first lap incidents. This particularly was gruesome considering how close his car got to hitting Alonso in the head.

    I think F1 is still lucky to not have had a serious injury in recent years. Fully-enclosed cockpits anyone? I don’t see what else could be done.

    1. Elie says:

      Yeah ,At least a screen head high Tom. FIA were testing some new high tensile composite material. Maybe that should be back on. Very frightening to see that Lotus almost take Fernando’s head off!!

  57. Peter Jones says:

    I have to say it’s fair for Roman to miss a race but how many chances does Pastor get before he’s banned too?

    Also, I hate to say Lewis got what he deserved but posting telemetry is really out of order. His lack of maturity is stunning frankly.

  58. Robert N says:

    Hi James,

    did Kimi overtake Schumacher where he did because that was after the DRS measurement point, meaning that Schumacher could not use DRS to get the position back again?

    1. Andrew M says:

      Yes, good racing intelligence from Kimi. It strikes me how rarely I’ve seen Kimi have an incident with another car despite all the brilliant overtakes.

      1. ida says:

        Of the current crop of drivers, think Kimi and Fernando are the only ones who have never taken anyone out while trying to overtake……others should take note that its possible to race hard, fair and SAFE.

      2. Mike J says:

        Kimi took out Sutil at Monaco a few years back. Pretty sure Alonso is not a clean skin either.
        All drivers have had incidents/accidents. Just some dont learn from them.

      3. ida says:

        So in a career that has spanned 10 or so years, you found Kimi made a mistake and took out sutil in monaco in 2009……and your ‘pretty sure’ Alonso has misjudged an overtake and ruined someones race, in a career that started in 2001!!!!
        Well you really put me in my place. Go find those incidents that your ‘pretty sure’ are in abundance, and when you see there are no more, post back and say “the current new generation of drivers should be ashamed to even share the same tarmac as them. They are the ones who dont learn from mistakes….

      4. Kay says:

        Hence all those media-created stuff about Kimi lazing off are all BS.

  59. AlexD says:

    Grosjen could cost Alonso a title.

    ….The pain will go away if Alonso wins in Monza and I hope it is the case.

    1. FerrariFan says:

      which seems unlikely with their car. He might qualify 5th or 6th again and next time there will be Maldonado to finish off any hopes of Alonso winning the title.

      1. hero_was_senna says:

        I am a Ferrari/ Alonso fan myself.
        It’s not the end of the world, in fact I’m optimistic.

        2 years ago, Alonso left Britain 47 points off the lead, encouraging Ferrari that they could still win the WDC.
        In Belgium 10, a set back, he spun out of the race. At Monza, with an update package (traditional for FerrarI) he won and arriving in Abu Dhabi, he was in the lead of the standings.

        One thing that earlier this season was a handicap was their straight line speed, something they seem to have sorted out.

      2. AlexD says:

        So….Ferrari must try harder and give him a car capable of P1. There is always a risk of being taken out if you do not start from the first row.

    2. Kay says:

      The pain would not go away until Alonso wins the title or Grosjean gets rammed off by somebody else that’d take him out for the rest of the season.

      1. Sri says:

        “take him out for the rest of the season” – Are you hinting at some injury for Grosjean (a life-threatening one) as a revenge? You should really have some good mental check-up done. Be well.

      2. Kay says:

        Nope, I meant take him out by policy, i.e. ban him from racing or move him back to lower categories for more experience first.

  60. Serrated_Edge says:

    Brilliant drive by Jenson, dominated every qualifying session and blew the rest of the field during the race.

  61. JR says:

    This race proves that is better to start 10th like Vettel that 5th as Alonso but surrounded by the likes of Grosjean, Maldonano and Hamilton, drivers who cannot understand that the race is not won on the first corner. One of these days we are going to regret a nasty accident, could have happened today with Alonso.

    BTW, what the hell is Red Bull doing with Mark Webber strategies? Is this the team that yesterday said “We will continue to give both guys the same opportunity and ultimately it will be down to what they do on track, as it should be.” What an hypocrite Christian Horner is.

    1. Bart says:

      “BTW, what the hell is Red Bull doing with Mark Webber strategies? Is this the team that yesterday said “We will continue to give both guys the same opportunity and ultimately it will be down to what they do on track, as it should be.” What an hypocrite Christian Horner is.”

      Webber was stuck behind Senna, Vettel passed Webber then passed Senna. Since Webber couldn’t overtake Senna, Webber had to be pitted to leapfrog Senna. He had an equal opportuinity to Vettel, but he couldn’t get the job done.

  62. Oly says:

    I know there is a lot of LH fans here and I also think Lewis is one of the best f1 drivers today, but I have to say this:

    Looking at the replays it looks to me that RG (obviously) triggered the incident, but LH made it a lot worse than it had to be. It looks like LH had full throttle all the way util the end, and deliberately launched Lotus in the first rows. I mean he was with his nose into Lotus rear end pushing him forward and moving along with him; his McLaren never actually stopped to push Lotus, which would be a normal raction after rear-end crash.
    Why he would do that ? Couple of things to consider. We all know this weekend Lewis was frustrated and very angry. We all know his temper and how impulsive he could be.
    It could be one of the ” If I’m going down you are going down with me” thinking.
    After all, Alonso’s retirement placed Lewis on the exactly same distance from WDC leader as before the race, so Lewis lost nothing in the incident.
    Am I right ? I don’t know, but I would surely like to see his telemetry during the crash. And if it’s nothing there he will stay my favorite no.2 driver.
    But if I am right, man.. I hope I’m not.

    1. Quattro_T says:

      If you allow yourself to be a bit cynical, it certainly looked that way and HAM probably knew that under normal conditions he would finish behind ALO. Accident maybe was avoidable and it did certainly not look as HAM did anything to avoid it (as ever). You know, after the tweet of this morning, I would say everything is possible.

      1. Rubinho's Keyfob says:

        If you watch the in-car footage from HAM’s POV, you will see that during the initial impact his hands are very forcefully thrown left and then right by the steering wheel as his front wheels make contact with other cars.

        He then removes his hands from the wheel to avoid any damage to them (and if you continue to watch while his steering wheel turns back and forth violently by itself as the car continues to make contact, you can probably see that it was wise of him to do so).

        My point is that actually, Lewis has no control of the car from a fraction of a second after the initial impact until it comes to rest (whether he is holding the steering wheel or not). To suggest he calculated the best way to improve his WDC hopes and decided to “aim” the car at ALO in that fraction of a second and then execute the manouvre perfectly with his hands off the wheel is preposterous.

    2. ChrisJ says:

      Totally agree!

    3. KRB says:

      Check the video’s online, you can clearly hear Lewis is off the throttle right away after contact.

      It amazes me how people place superhuman powers on these drivers, as though Lewis could possibly have the clarity of mind needed in that instance to a) know where Alonso was, and b) to guide a crash into him!!! And that’s after making the ludicrous leap in thinking to believe that a driver would deliberately look to endanger another driver’s life!

      1. Oly says:

        Hold your horses. I never said he aimed at FA or anybody in particular.
        Second, maybe you should check it again. There is too much energy in that McLaren AFTER he already hit something (Lotus).

        I read that Lewis don’t want to talk about the incident any more. Strange, few hours earlier he was crying out on twitter for injustice made to him and now suddenly he is cool and moved on. Either he knows he had done something wrong and don’t wanna talk about that or something is seriously wrong with him mentally. Pity cause I really liked him.

        And btw yes, F1 drivers are superhumans. Only 1% of populationcan are able to fly a fighter jet, and to race in a F1 car percentage is even less.

      2. Elie says:

        Oly when your driving 750horsepower of 640kg car and accelerating hard at over 200kph- even when you lift off there is Still tremendous energy and speed in the cars. If you really looked closely you would notice the Mclaren is actually locked then sliding into the back of the Lotus… If only there was 1 ounce of common sense in your way of thinking you would appreciate that people’s lives were almost lost and this was not some retaliation! Honestly some of you people need a reality check !

    4. KRB says:

      I just don’t get how people can concoct such crazy conspiracy theories when it comes to F1. But I’ll have a go, and think this one has greater plausibility (in an absolute sense, near zero plausibility, but far more than others of its ilk) than your LH-takes-out-FA theory:

      Renault have three drivers in DWC contention from two leading teams. The fourth driver from those two Renault-powered teams is Grosjean. Renault do not want to be beaten by a Mercedes or Ferrari-powered car, so Grosjean is told that he can help the cause (and secure his drive next year) by dicing with FA and LH any chance he can, to allow Vettel, Webber and Raikkonen to claw back some points to Alonso, and to snuff out any resurgence by Hamilton.

      So today, after chopping Hamilton hard, getting the resultant contact, Grosjean looked up, spotted Alonso, and directed his seemingly “out of control” (but we know better) car at his gearbox, while at the same time booking a vacation for himself next week from within the cockpit, comfortable in the knowledge that his next two weeks were now clear as far as work was concerned.

      1. Andrew M says:

        All seems perfectly reasonable.

      2. Oly says:

        /I just don’t get how people can concoct such crazy conspiracy theories when it comes to F1./

        Maybe because I’m not British and I’m not Spaniard either. It’s easier for someone without strong emotions to see things clearly.

        It’s like that unique Hamilton’s unlap maneuver on SV on German GP. While most of you guys think that was ok, as much as I like LH and dislike SV that was totally unacceptable. Not agains the rules but against a fair play. If the situation was the other way around and SV, FA or Maldonado (!) had done this to LH you guys would have ripped their skin alive. Think about it.

      3. hero_was_senna says:

        You’ll have me believe that the management team that told Piquet to spin in Singapore 2008 also told RG to hit Alonso this time round.
        I love conspiracy theories

      4. KRB says:

        I was being facetious. That was what the “in an absolute sense, [it has] near zero plausibility, but far more than others of its ilk” bit was about.

        You have no problem believing the “Dennis sabatoged Alonso to help Hamilton” conspiracy theory though, which is equally inane.

      5. Quattro_T says:

        How about this other very real scenario. GRO spends all Saturday evening, like prior to most other GPs this season, practicing starts – SPA starts with codemasters 2011 (waste of the word masters IMO but different story there). Lights off, power on crash, restart race. Lights off, accelerator on power on…crash, restart race. Lights off, accelerator on power on…2 places gain , hmm good line? restart race. Lights off, accelerator on power on…restart race. After a hundred restarts, with all different lines tested, and a fair amount of nicely animated and perfectly safe crashes, strategi is 100% clear – best line is inner line. SPA here I come!!
        Lights go off (none codemasters starts this time), 1000% comittment to the choosen strategi, clinical french discipline – inner line.
        The other car: WTF man…stop coming closer or else!#¤¤&. Thats it, not going more right..not going on the grass – If we crash we crash; shouldnt be here anyway, that pole was miiine!! [In the mean time GRO takes the closer approch to right, still 100% sure TAHT IS THE LINE] I am NOT gonna dirty these shiny new mediums no way &¤%¤%¤%! Does not he know all my homies are watching….and ma girl is watching??? WTH GRO, didnt you see my tweet?%¤%&%&!! I am not even supposed to be here – that pole was mine mine!!!!! Crash boom bang.
        What happened, oh…when are we restarting??

    5. LD says:

      Lewis might be the same distance from Alonso, but he’s now barely ahead of his (finding form) team-mate.

      This weekend has been a disaster for Lewis TBH.

  63. Ram says:

    there seems to be more than one “gherkin” on the track now ….

  64. Shah Alam says:

    One would assume the way Schumacher was fighting with Kimi he was fighting for 3rd or 4th but No he ended up in 7th place.

    All he does is uses his skills to hold people up.

    I hope Lotus get the Double DRS active by Monza as Kimi is in joint 3rd he may with a win or two fight for the lead.

    Come on Lotus

  65. sandyf1 says:

    James, the press release by the FIA mentioned Grosjean “eliminated championship contenders”.Is that a possible reason that the punishment was a bit harsh?

    1. James Allen says:

      Along with previous form, yes

      1. Anthony says:

        So thats why they didnt give Maldonado the same treatment? I mean, for me it is worse to crash into people on purpose like Maldonado does (see Ham @ SPA 2011 and Perez @ Monaco 2012)

        so, when Maldonado crashes into Vettel /Alonso they will give him the ban?

  66. Lisa Thomas says:

    I knew Vettel and Kimi would come through.

    there were just 4 in the title hunt this morning: Alonso, Vettel Raikkonen, Hamilton.

    There are still just 4 in the title hunt now: same 4…

    Is this the Jenson of 2011 we see once again, or will he revert to the JB of the pre-spa 2012?
    I guess we will find out soon enough in the coming races.

    Who is the old guy that accepted the team trophy for McLaren? Not much of a gentleman, unlike JB. He chose to talk and laugh in a very rude manner while Kimi was answering Jacky Ikcx. Kimi got the biggest cheer from the crowd!

    1. Kay says:

      Paddy Lowe if I recall right.

    2. Quattro_T says:

      ” Kimi got the biggest cheer from the crowd!”
      They probably thought the it became too silent when it was his turn to speak.

  67. CanadaGP says:

    Indycars has implemented bodywork changes to minimize the chance of cars launching into the air upon wheel to wheel contact. Pure open wheel racing is an anachronism that is based on nothing but tradition dating to when racing cars only went 50 mph. It wouldn’t hurt to have bodywork covering the immediate area behind the front and rear tires. In addition the roll bar structure can be extended to the space beside the driver’s head while still having an open cockpit. Anytime a car launches into the air at today’s speeds it’s a plane crash live on TV.

  68. Carlos F. says:

    Definitely the ban is necessary but I agree Maldonado deserves a ban as well for having accumulated so many errors.

    The biggest losers here were Alonso and Lewis. Alonso was possibly in for a podium to extend his lead and Lewis as well but is now way back with 117 points. Sauber also lost out premium constructor points, I hope they send Grosjean a bill.

    As a Ferrari and Alonso fan I am just glad he walked from a scary situation but not matter the race ban drivers will continue to do these silly mistakes. I’m 100% this was unintentional but the result was a big mess. This was just a frustrating race.

  69. BusStop and Go says:

    I have nothing against severe penalties, for years I have felt that discipline is a little out of control. Drivers should use their skill and car control not only to clock fast laptimes and respect each other as well.

    But inconsistency in handing out penalties makes me feel that they penalize for the consequence, not the actual wrongdoing.

    This time, the cars are flying centimeters away from driver´s head, everybody react like “ooh, what a reckless driver that Frenchman is!”. Haven´t we seen a lot worse driving, from the “all time greats” as well?

    In 2010, Vettel did something similar twice(!)at much higher speed(Istanbul and Spa).
    In the past we have seen Schuey and Hamilton acting like they were driving alone on the track, yet escape with only slight penalties.

    Okay, you can say that the overtaking rules have changed over the years, but still, even considering solely the 2012 collision cases, I don´t think Grosjean´s manoeuvre itself is the most outrageous of the year. But the penalty is.

    Moreover, the statement(according to ESPN) from the stewards read:
    “-/The Stewards regard this as an extremely serious breach of the regulations which had the potential to cause injury to others. It eliminated leading championship contenders from the Race./-”
    Whoever wrote this statement, should watch his mouth. Is it really relevant, whether you push off a title contender or hit a backmarker?

    Perhaps it is relevant indeed. Correct me if I am wrong, but I´m quite sure a Marussia driver changed line more than once when he was fighting with his teammate. No further action?

    1. Oly says:

      Totally agree.

  70. J. S. says:

    Hi James, is this the end of the “Schumacher Chop” at race starts, or was Grosjean’s little move so different in a definable way?

    On another note, Jacky Ickx is a great driver but not a very good interviewer (in English anyway), though he did make Raikkonen much more talkative than usual!

  71. Cedgy says:

    So who will drive the 2nd Lotus at Monza? Now that is the question!

    1. Oly says:

      Massa could. According to some smart voices here his performance in Ferrari is deliberately limited (to protect Alonso). So this could be his chance to be the eight winner of this season lol

      1. Quattro_T says:

        …Ferrari accept. They see it as giving Renault a helping hand, and at the same time a good way of saving fuel.

    2. Andrew Barratt says:

      Wouldn’t be suprised to see Hamilton driving it next year

  72. Simon Lord says:

    I understood that Schumacher’s last minute dive into the pits that almost took Vettel out was to be investigated after the race. No mention of it, so I assume no penalty? I can’t help feeling that if it had been Maldonaldo or Grosjean, then the outcome might have been different. Sorry to see MS still behaving this way after all these years.

    I was never really a Raikkonen fan the first time round, but I’m starting to see why he has such a loyal fan base. Not only incredibly brave but incredibly intelligent, too.

    1. JB says:

      Come on, Schumacher’s dive was pale in comparison to the disastrous Grosjean and cheat bully king Maldonado.
      Schumacher, like all greats, judges his action based on his opponent. He won’t be doing the same thing on a driver like Karthekayen.

      That’s something both rookie Grosjean and Maldonado have to learn.

  73. Eric Weinraub says:

    Clearly Michael is driving better than the car… Only his age prevents another team from taking a run at signing him up. This so reminds me of the debacle that Valentino Rossi has had to endure at Ducati.

  74. Richard D says:

    Quite rightly Grosjean has been penalised for causing the first corner incident, but I wonder to what extent Maldanado’s outrageous jump start may have contributed to Senna, Hamilton, Alonso & Perez coming together?

  75. Nick4 says:

    1998 saw another first corner pile up at Spa when Dave Coulthard lost control in the wet. James, would the drivers have got a specific briefing from the stewards at a GP like Spa to make every effort to avoid what happened yesterday or not? That corner seems to lend itself to such incidents.
    It was a pity some of the top WC contenders were removed in an instant. Very relieved no one was hurt.

    1. James Allen says:

      I was there looking down on that 1998 shunt!

      Yes, there is a briefing and the word was that Charlie was lenient on cars running off the track at La Source to avoid trouble, but it’s one of the trickiest first corners in F1

      1. Oly says:

        I guess Hamilton was in the other room at the time of the briefing, probably on twitter. :)

      2. Kay says:

        Why don’t they just simply move the start-finish straight to after the La Source? I’ve always wondered that.

      3. James Allen says:

        Eau Rouge as the first corner?

        It used to be that way years ago, but this is surely a lot safer

      4. Kay says:

        Well yesterday’s horrific incident certainly proved it’s just as dangerous, if not more.. O_O

  76. ch says:

    James, wasn’t it RG who turned down Jackie Stewart’s mentoring/coaching offer earlier this year?

    1. Davexxx says:

      LOL Good one! ;-)

  77. Neil Jenney says:

    I was very surprised that Vettel was able to run a one stopper as aggressive as he had to be catching and overtaking so many cars. I found it almost unbelievable that he was able to make the tires last. I was equally amazed that Webber didn’t seen to even attempt a one stopper. Is “wings” an anagram of “really low tire deg if your name is Vettel” perhaps?

    1. Oly says:

      Yes, that was really unbelievable.

  78. andrewBarratt says:

    Hi James,
    What you make of Hamilton not having the same wing, rekon its being witheld as he’s not signing up?

    1. James Allen says:

      No, it was a decision, same as in Monza two years ago. He went the wrong way and didn’t get the middle sector right, where his set up counted

      1. Quick Nick Rules says:

        When he also crashed out on the first lap after a frustrating qualifying, some Six Tenths behind his team-mate…I detect a pattern here. A terrifically fast driver but still unable to channel his frustration into positive performances.

        His tweeting of sensitive data was petulant in the extreme, Grosjean has relieved Lewis of a lot of the headlines this week – I’d imagine a lot of the team will be rather disappointed with him – should Button win in Monza next weekend with Lewis doing poorly again then there may well be a key shift in the balance at McLaren, both in terms of pecking order on track and on the negotiating table…

  79. agent orange says:

    Did Roman spurn Jackie Stewarts offer of advice for driving lessons from another Scot John Clelland?!!

    His single ban seems light given his history and the existing bans don’t appear to be encouraging Maldonado to be a better driver. Harsher bans should be looked at for next year.

    1. JohnBt says:

      How about a lion tamer? LOL!

      1. Elie says:

        Lol.. Sheep in wolves clothing

    2. Liam in Sydney says:

      I think Pastor is now “on notice” that he will get the same penalty in future when he punts cars off the road. I would be surprised if the stewards did not tell him such a thing after Spa.

  80. Roger W says:

    Jenson today equalled Lewis’s McLaren wins over the last 2 years, 5 each, and is only 1 behind Hamilton over the past 3 years – the enenmy lies within…

  81. danny11 says:

    James pls can you give me a straight answer on previously asked question? Why wasn’t Webber penalized for an obvious unsafe release? It seems that RBR always gets a slap on the wrist in these situations!

    1. James Allen says:

      It looked close but there was quite a gap there. It’s all very finely balanced

  82. Kay says:

    One race ban isn’t enough. Grojean and Maldonado ought to have their Super Licences stripped and banned for life. The two of them together would cause crashes that’d be equivalent to a nuclear detonation.

  83. JB says:

    I just want to say that both Maldonado and Grosjean got what is expected from the stewards. I think it has been good that the stewards did not try to rush a decision this time.

    Unfortunately, it has to happen after Michael’s drive-through penalty in Hungary.

  84. jpinx says:

    “Prevention it better than cure” — I’d promote the idea of bodywork in front and behind the rear wheels to prevent these launches.

    It would be minimal bodywork, it only needs to be half the wheel height – but strong enough to withstand a fair thump. Designers will quickly make it aero-dynamic, no problems with that, and engineers will quickly work out how to make it multi-layered so that damage to their own tyre is minimised. It would not change the basic concept of open-wheel racing.

    That and a bit of “highway code” driver training for these rookies. ;)

  85. JohnBt says:

    The luckiest man is Alonso, coulda been fatal! Grojean rear left wheel missed his head by centimeters. Been a long long while since a scary accident like this happened.

    Jenson – Congrats to him. What race? He was driving very fast, leisurely as a tourist around the forest.

    Vettel – Best drive and brilliant passes at the bus stop.

    Maldanado & Grojean – Thought they were in a GP2 race. Feels more and more like a fluke that they’re in F1.

    Kimi – “Give me more power” lol, that was fun hearing Kimi raising his voice.

    Massa – Better thank Grojean for helping him.

    Could have been a much better race if not for the first turn bungle up. Half hearted giving the race an 8, I’d go for a 6 at max.

  86. Elie says:

    I suspected correctly Mclaren would be too strong at Spa and really disappointed that Lotus have ongoing KERS issues it’s already 20kw down on the Mercedes one but it’s unreliability is really hurting their championship race.Congrats to Jenson for a great drive but you will forgive me for not giving him DOD for the MP4 27 was a second quicker than every car:
    Defintely Sebastian to make that strategy work and his overtakes on Mark, Michael and a few others commanded respect.
    Almost equally impressive was Hulkenberg & his fight to catch Kimi was exiting, but I’m guessing that Mercedes Engine & KERS had a lot to do with it.
    Maneouvers of the race (if not year) Kimi on Schumi – in a way it was painful to watch him be repassed but his sixth sense of where and when to pass is unrivaled in the paddock . His struggle with the car and KERS I think masked an epic drive and his venting in the radio was classic evidence of that..
    Now I wonder where all those people that were singing Grosjeans praises including Boullier who keeps saying ” he never makes the same mistake again” – well I guess he well & truly blew that theory out if the water ! Forget wiping drivers out of the race he almost ended Fernando’s life as well as his own !! Thank goodness they’re alive! Yep I would be preparing Jamie.

  87. PabloNeuquen says:

    Dear CanadaGP: Pure open wheel racing is no anachronism,it is REAL RACING.Sadly,it is a risky sport despite security measures.If we don´t want to watch incidents like todays start crash,we better enjoy golf or tennis…I don,t approve full cockpit protection,either.Excellent blog,James,thank you very much.

  88. chrisnz says:

    I hear what people are saying about Maldonado and his repetitve misdemanours and he definitely needs some refinement to his racecraft to put it mildly. But you sure can’t doubt the guy has got some serious pace and I think in the long term, that’s going to be a bigger asset than the confrontational approach he takes to racing and the indiscretions that arise from it. These will gradually decrease. There’s no substitute for pure speed.It’s better than being someone who although keeping their nose clean, never makes other team bosses or drivers watching the timing screens think ‘Wow! That was rather impressive.’

    1. Quattro_T says:

      The most valuable asset Maldonado has, is the very wealthy daddy, if you ask me.

  89. Dufus says:

    While we are talking about drivers not having the same bits, why did Webber have a top gear too short for the race as mentioned by Horner ?
    How could you not have the right gearing in the gearbox ?
    Surely this is an amatuerish mistake.

    1. Quattro_T says:

      For the same reason you may choose to have more downforce than others on such a circuit maybe – you judge that time gained in the twisty part will make up for the time lost on the straights, with the added value of longer tyre life. Probably better acceleration is helpful in the twisty part if you are thinking along those lines.

      1. Dufus says:

        Would it not make more sense to give Vettel the shorter top gear ?
        I mean Webber is harder on tyres than Vettel so give Webber the taller gear for higher straight line speed and Vettel the shorter gears for the corners because he’s easier on the tyres.

      2. Quattro_T says:

        Are you sure Webber had a shorter top gear compared to Vettel? Webber had higher top speed than Vettel during qualifying (speed trap). Webber 316.4, Vettel 316 – Suggeting they were having very similar g ratios.

  90. Sanjog says:

    Agree.. GRO deserves a 2 race ban along with MAL… Those 2 have been involved in far more incidents than acceptable.. but otherwise faultless and sublime for JB.. great overtaking from Vettel and awesome from KR to get that Lotus on the podium… Couple of cheers for Schu though… the grand daddy hasnt lost it.. yet .. :)

  91. Sam W says:

    Firstly, James you provide fantastic F1 coverage. I really enjoy your commentating and your website updates. Also the time you spend answering people’s comments on your articles is much appreciated and makes for a great read.

    I hope Alguersuari gets the call up for Lotus. It would be interesting to see how he would perform in a top performing car after spending all his F1 career in a middle tier Toro Rosso.

    James, do you know what his relationship is like with Lotus? As you said he’s driving the old Renault car in his Pirelli test driver role so he must have some sort of relationship. Also I remember earlier this year Alguersuari told everyone that his F1 future was looking very bright. How likely do you think it is that he will be on the grid in 2013 and who for?

    1. James Allen says:

      Lotus have had a good look at him in the 2010 car which Pirelli test with, so they know him from that.

      As for 2013 I believe he will be there, but with whom? You’ll have to wait and see, I cannot violate confidences like that, I’m afraid.

      1. Spider says:

        At over 300 comments they often get too long to read but you have reaffirmed my view that I must review all comments just in case you give some intel like this.

        Thanks heaps. I hope Jaime gets the drive this Sunday!

      2. James Allen says:

        It’s all quality though!!

  92. Phill says:

    Hence I said he deserves the penalty. Just Lewis could have, and probably should have backed off, for his own safety more than everything else. But yes, I am aware it is grosjeans fault, just saying Lewis could have done more.

    1. matthew says:

      dont you realize that if lewis had of braked before the braking zone it could have caused someone to crash into the back of him??
      RG had PLENTY of room,there was no need for him to cut across like he did.lewis is not to blame in anyway.only a hater will look for a way to put some blame on him.

  93. Phill says:

    In fact, before the touch, he still had about half a metre of track left. If a GP2 driver, Gutierrez (sorry for miss spelling) can divert on to the grass to avoid incIdent, why can’t a top F1 driver? In the GP2, the driver was fine and carries on the race where he started, did not even lose a place, and the grass woul have been wetter on the Saturday. I’m taking no blame away from grosjean, his fault, but Lewis should have reacted.

  94. Chaplinez says:

    Alonso’s reaction seems professional.who else can do that?

    1. Quattro_T says:

      Thats one of the reasons why he is admired.

  95. Richard says:

    A pity McLaren could not have set Lewis’s car up like Jenson’s as the higher downforce set up proved to be a mistake, but in their defence there was little time for testing this weekend so it ended up a bit of a lottery. This is a pity as it would probably have meant that the debacle at the start with Grosjean would have been avoided. I do sense there is still a bit of frustration with Lewis at McLaren, and last weekend has weakened Hamilton’s championship chances significantly.

    1. Quattro_T says:

      You would think that probably the tyres could be (kind of a lottery) given that they did not have time to do longer stints on them, but setup? Really? Surely, Mclaren have raced on that same track many many times in the past. They have data from that and from the state of the art simulator they have at home and I am sure they knew what they were doing.

      1. Richard says:

        McLaren have demonstrated they are capable of making any number of mistakes and have cost Lewis a raft of points with potentially a couple of wins gone awry this season. The fact remains they did not have adequate testing last weekend where they could compare wing set ups. Getting the tyres into their operating window in the prevailing conditions at any given circuit is also a matter of set up and balance. The logic you apply is inadequate to cover the significant variance encountered this season with any particular car. One thing I should say is they got it close enough with Jenson’s car to give him pole and the win. – As Lewis said for Jenson it was a walk in the park with such an advantage.

  96. Mickiehill says:

    Could someone refresh my knowledge here, but what are the grounds for a red flag situation. I thought there was a lot of debris especially before the run down to eau rouge. In times past would it of been a red flag. At what point is one triggered? And does everyone restart?

  97. Bluefroggle says:

    Is there a system for stopping the race at the red lights before it starts? i.e. Could Charlie have pressed a button to change all the lights to say “flashing red” to stop the start of the race once he saw that Maldonado had jumped the lights?

    I appreciate you would need very quick reactions to do this. Or perhaps a sensor on the track and car to linked to the lights to do this?

  98. Elie says:

    James do you think it’s time the FIA hand down some tougher penalties for reckless driving . ? I’m sure fans want to see the brave overtaking moves, & positioning of the cars on certain ways to force errors but not this silly business we are seeing from Maldonado every week . I thought he should’ve got a stronger penalty in Spain and he just seems to shrug it off and drive like a lunatic. Sponsor money don’t seem to be a problem either. Perhaps points system on your super license is the way to go. Wouldn’t it be funny if rookies & suspended drivers drove round with P plates on their return – the embarrassment would be mega !! Lol

    Watching GP2 just before the race surprised me with how many incidents there are now-I hadn’t watched it for a few seasons just surprised at how very push & shove it’s become. Do you think the FIA should push for stronger penalties ? Mainly just for people who are repeat offenders.

    As for safety ,last year the FIA tested some screens on f1 cars , I think they need to push this through the next major rule changes -2014 perhaps, as we all saw how the Lotus just whistled past Fernando head on Sunday- do you reckon he threw those overalls away after that start..

    1. James Allen says:

      Yes I think so. There is more desperation in the air, drivers fearing their careers may not progress, needing results, money tight etc

  99. Andrew Barratt says:

    James, just read a post which says that JB’s side of the garage did not share the telemetry with LH before the decision was made. This would certainly explain his outburst especially as they use his telemtry as a fall back when JB loses his way set up wise. If this is true it implies a v poor working relationship between the drivers and between LH and the team and explain the lack of contract. Can you shed any light on it?

    1. James Allen says:

      LH relationship with the team is certainly strained. That’s very clear from a number of things, not least the tweeting of the data sheet

      1. andrewBarratt says:

        Any chance of doing a feature on it on a “who needs who the most” basis

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Multi award winning Formula One photographer
Multi award winning Formula One photographer