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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fastest lap: Vettel, 1:47.263

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


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

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

Great race.


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

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


Just a Question for James:

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

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

James, How do you see it for next year?


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


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

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

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

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

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


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


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


James – I don’t know whether you get to see the BBC’s post-race Red Button Forum at any point, but I found Martin Whitmarsh’s effusive praise of Kimi quite interesting when he appeared on it yesterday.


He didn’t congratulate Force India or Fisi on a great drive (considering they’re using the same engine) but was unstinting in his praise of Kimi’s driving over the last few Grands Prix. He also stated – when pressed on Heikki’s future – that it was always McLaren’s philosophy to have the two best drivers in their cars (something they plainly haven’t got this year).


Is he courting Kimi, or am I reading too much into things?

*Dons Tinfoil Hat


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


Great win for Kimi at Spa!

I have a question for you James:

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

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



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

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

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


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


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


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

Kimi is great at Spa.

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


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


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

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

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


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

Ahmad Albashrawi

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

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


and here are the starts of gearboxes:



Well, Kimi is fast, but he does not seem to be well suited to be a Ferrari team member, they probably expect more emotion, more desire to be part of the family, a very important theme in Italy (This might be a bit a generalisation ,but I feel I am not that much of the mark).

Surely Massa is and e.g. Alonso would a better fit.

Vettel, by the way, has shown that he can make himself at home in an Italian team, having spend a lot of time in Italy, his first words of jubilations at his first victory were in Italian. I have a feeling that Red Bull are naturally less “Italian” than TR, and that he actually had to adjust quite a bit to his new team.


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


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


Everybody saying Kimi was off track at La Source and gained 3 positions but Jenson at the start was also off track at La Source and lost 3 positions.

Also David Coulthard said that on his opinion there was no gain in going off track at La Source because it´s dirty for the tires and gives no advantage.

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


Brilliant race and brilliant drives by Kimi and Fisi!

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


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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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


“The start of the race saw a pile up which was triggered by Raikkonen going off track.”

Poetic justice you might say: last year Hamilton’s little trip ‘off track’ triggered Kimi’s crash out.



a fantastic race I agree. With Australa the best one so far this season. However, Raikkonen won the race in circumstances not too dissimilar to Hamilton’s last year by leaving the track at La Source on lap 1! I had a sneaky feeling this was going to happen (just like last year). Raikkonen had a huge advantage by doing this. We have seen similar incidents this year when drivers have had to give way to following cars because of infringements like that. Why did Raikkonen get away with it?

Of course this would be a non debate if it was not for the outrageous decision made by the stewards last year. Such inconsistencies.

And of course this problem is now going to be brought back in to sharp focus over claims of what happened at last year’s Singapore GP. Massa could claim that he was robbed of race victory there due to the introduction of the safety car (which also affected his world championship chances). Will Ferrari be so keen to take Alonso on now? If anything untoward happened Alonso must have been aware of it.

This story is going to be massive.


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

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


I love F1. What a result.

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

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