Hamilton wins action packed Belgian Grand Prix
Mercedes
Hamilton wins action packed Belgian Grand Prix
Posted By: James Allen  |  29 Aug 2010   |  2:32 pm GMT  |  260 comments

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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1

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

There is proof in Youtube:

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

The stewards didn’t react, how sad.

2

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

3

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

4

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

Lewis was quite simply brilliant.

5

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

6

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

7

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

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

In his case . . that should be avoidable accident.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8

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

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

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

9

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

10

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

11

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

F1’s insurance just gone up or summat?

12

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

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

13

Given the fact that Webber’s poor start was down to a problem with the clutch, not his own performance, my vote goes to the Aussie.

Everyone else made some kind of error.. although Hamilton’s didn’t cost him a place, and his race was superb, he did have clean air from start to finish so there really wasn’t too much he needed to do besides keep his nose clean to take the win.

14

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

15

Yes, but in this case not “great” either

16

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

17

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

18

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

19

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

20

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

21

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

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

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

22

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

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

23

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

24

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

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

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

regards

25

I could very well live without that moment…

26

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

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

27

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

28

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

29

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

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

Roll on MONZA!!

30

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

31

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

32

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

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

33

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

34

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

35

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

36

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

37

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

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