Vettel brushes Hamilton aside for Spa win

2013 Belgian Grand Prix review

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The Belgian Grand Prix didn’t deliver on the anticipation which developed in the days leading up to it.

On Saturday the Spa climate ran true to form and vexed drivers with a series of showers which led to a thrilling hour of qualifying. The day before the paddock had been unnerved by punctures suffered by two of the championship contenders, and for a while it seemed a repeat of the Silverstone failures had reared its head.

In the end neither of these scenarios unfolded in a race which failed to live up to the majesty of the circuit which hosted it. The most remarkable event of the day turned out to be the surprising ease with which a group of environmental protesters were able to hijack the race for their own ends.

Vettel takes control at the start

Lewis Hamilton started from his fourth consecutive pole position but knew he faced a severe challenge from the two Red Bull drivers behind him on the grid.

The two-kilometre sprint from La Source to Les Combes – which takes drivers through the impressive but somewhat neutered Eau Rouge – presents a superb opportunity for slipstreaming at the start. When the lights went out Sebastian Vettel latched on to Hamilton’s tail at the hairpin and was visibly more committed as they plunged into Eau Rouge for the first time.

As they crested Raidillon both drivers pressed their KERS buttons, having saved a blast for the Kemmel straight. But Vettel’s momentum carried him alongside the Mercedes so quickly Hamilton conceded, disengaging his KERS, saving it from the rest of the lap.

“It worked very well, what I was trying to, let’s say, plan at the exit of turn two,” said Vettel of his start tactics. Hamilton admitted: “there was no defending really. I could only move once, so I moved once and just had to watch him glide by.”

The battle for the lead ended there and then. By the end of the second lap Vettel’s lead was already close to three seconds, and race engineer Guillaume Rocquelin was advising him to start thinking about tyre life.

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Alonso gets into contention

As early as lap six Fernando Alonso appeared in third place behind Hamilton. The Ferrari driver had got off the line superbly, making light work of the Lotus pair and the wheelspinning Di Resta.

With DRS available in two zones instead of one this year Alonso was swiftly past Jenson Button and Nico Rosberg with a few flaps of his rear wing. He blasted past both on the Kemmel straight as if they were missing a gear.

Not for the first time this year Mark Webber had made a poor start: “The two practice starts before the race weren’t great,” he said, “so we were a bit worried about the clutch going to the start, which put us onto the back foot.”

“We tried our best, but lost a couple of rows off the line which is not good.” He fell from third to sixth, but on lap five he demoted Button for fifth place. Next up was Di Resta, who following a dreadful start from fifth had done an impressive job to recover seventh place.

Nico Hulkenberg was ninth but already concerned about his tyre wear. Both Lotus drivers made sluggish getaways and Kimi Raikkonen, ninth after passing his team mate, was beginning to struggle with his brakes.

Perez penalised for Grosjean move

On lap eight the other Lotus of Romain Grosjean came under attack from Sergio Perez. The McLaren driver was clean down the inside of him on the approach to Les Combes but Perez needlessly squeezed Grosjean, forcing him wide. Felipe Massa took advantage, demoting the Lotus a further place.

A furious Grosjean made his feelings plain on the radio and the stewards were quick to hand Perez a penalty. “I had the corner,” Perez protested, “I did nothing wrong”.

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Team principal Martin Whitmarsh agreed, claiming his driver has unfairly been targeted by his peers in recent races. But sporting director Sam Michael had a more pragmatic view: “Obviously Checo had made the overtake, was past. He didn’t leave enough room for Grosjean so he got a penalty.”

“It’s quite a straightforward regulation. Grosjean did the same thing to Jenson at the last race and got penalised for it.”

Hamilton – Vettel’s closest pursuer – pitted as early as lap 11, while the Red Bull driver was able to stay out for another three tours. His pit stop briefly promoted Button into the lead, but Vettel passed the McLaren at the chicane on his out-lap.

Alonso emerged on Hamilton’s tail after his pit stop. He pounced at the hairpin and took the Mercedes, though by now Vettel was six-and-a-half seconds up the road and edging further away.

Most of the following drivers had also plumped for two-stop strategies. But Lotus opted for ‘Plan B’ for Grosjean, keeping him out until half-distance on his medium compound tyres before making a single stop. McLaren chose to do the same for Perez after his enforced extra visit to the pits for his penalty.

Raikkonen drops out, Di Resta taken out

Meanwhile Raikkonen was pressing Massa for seventh place. But on lap 25 the Lotus went straight on at the chicane, its brakes finally having given up. After 38 races without a retirement, the law of averages had caught up with Raikkonen.

“We’ve finished a lot of races and had some good reliability,” he said. “One day your luck has to run out and today was that day.”

There was more drama at the chicane on the next lap. Pastor Maldonado and Esteban Gutierrez were disputing 12th place with the two Force Indias following the pair of them. Gutierrez went down the inside of the Williams at the chicane and Adrian Sutil pounced to take advantage.

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But Maldonado, who was trying to make for the pit entrance, first clipped Sutil than skidded into the other Force India, ripping Di Resta’s left-rear wheel off.

“It was my lap to pit so I was going to do the pit,” Maldonado explained. “I didn’t see Di Resta in the outside. We cross all together the line. I braked, tried to avoid the incident, but it was too late.” The stewards took a dim view, handing Maldonado a ten-second stop-go penalty.

Ironically Gutierrez also received a drive-through penalty for going off the track at Blanchimont to get the run on Maldonado that triggered the melee. “I totally respect the FIA’s decision to penalise me for overtaking Pastor, but I don’t agree with the penalty,” was his diplomatic view.

One-stoppers lose places

Webber made his last pit stop after the two Mercedes drivers but wasn’t able to jump ahead of either of them. The trio briefly fell behind Button, and by now McLaren were beginning to regret not having committed Button to a one-stop strategy.

They considered switching him back, but bowed to the inevitable on lap 34, making a second stop. That gave Button ten laps to try to chase down the cars in front, but he made little impact on their lead.

Grosjean’s single stop had got him back in front of Massa but the Ferrari driver demoted him with five laps to go. Similarly the one-stopping Perez lost the final point to Daniel Ricciardo with four laps remaining.

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Hulkenberg reported his tyres were gone with several laps to go but was advised a late pit stop would achieve nothing. He followed Jean-Eric Vergne home with Gutierrez behind him and Valtteri Bottas next, the last car on the lead lap.

Maldonado’s penalty dropped him behind Giedo van der Garde, whose 16th place finish was two spots lower than he started after his Q1 heroics yesterday. Team mate Charles Pic retired early with an engine problem and the two Marussias brought up the rear, Max Chilton lapped twice after collecting a drive-through penalty for failing to observe blue flags.

Vettel surprised by “incredible pace”

As in Canada – on another low-downforce track – no one had any response to Vettel. And like at Montreal it fell to Alonso to offer token resistance, the Ferrari finishing well over ten seconds behind, followed by Hamilton.

“We had incredible pace,” said Vettel after clinching his fifth win of the year. “We didn’t expect that.”

“We knew, probably, going in that, in the dry, we should be able to beat Mercedes on the track. But we knew other cars – Lotus, Ferrari – they looked very competitive in the dry. So in that regard we had massive pace and could control the race until the end.”

Ahead of Ferrari’s home race Alonso drew some cheer from his second place, even though he’d taken points of every driver bar the one he most needed to catch. “When they do everything better than us and they win the race, they deserve the win and we need to aim for maximum points,” he said.

“We came from two fifth places in Hockenheim [sic] and Hungary, with a little bit of a not good feeling and not good performance from the car and today I think we recovered some of the optimism that we lost.” But time is running out for Vettel’s rivals to convert optimism into hard results.

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2013 Belgian Grand Prix

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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98 comments on “Vettel brushes Hamilton aside for Spa win”

  1. Champs over. And don’t come round telling me Alonso had a massive advantage last year too…

    Also, Maldonado, seriously, after 3 years. One would’ve thought he already learned a lesson or two but the carbon fibre industry is still happy to see the demand raise up after every race. What a guy ! what are the odds of him getting front wing damage?!

    1. – Carbon-fibre-reinforced polymer
      – Carbon fibres derived from Polyacrylonitrile
      – Polyacrylonitrile made from free radical polymerization of Acrylonitrile
      – Acrylonitrile produced by catalytic ammoxidation of Propene
      – Propene is a byproduct of oil refining and natural gas processing
      – Oil & gas refining and processing carried out by PDVSA
      – PDVSA sponsors Williams
      – Pastor Maldonado drives for Williams
      – Pastor crashes his Williams car quite a lot
      – Williams car manufactured in part by carbon-fibre

      Maldonado deliberately crashes to increase the profit made by PDVSA. It’s a conspiracy! :O

      1. hahaha smart analysis

    2. But Alonso DID have a massive advantage last year!

      After 11 races in 2012, Alonso was leading Vettel by 42 points. Just five races later, Vettel was leading Alonso by six points, even though SV had a DNF himself in that sequence of races. So it can be done.

      1. Yes, but Alonso didn’t have the best car last year.. Vettel did. Vettel caught Alonso because him and the Redbull regained dominance in terms of speed and reliability at the end of the season. If say Hamilton or Alonso had cars which were much stronger than the Redbull I’d agree and say it’s possible. However, anyone who watched today’s race will see the Redbull in Vettels hands is dominant once more. He will be champion with a race or two to spare.

        1. I don’t agree with the supposed “dominance” of the RB9. The situation is much more fluid and dynamic than that. The W04 is is not innately slower than the RB9 – Mercedes just made a mistake in their setup for this particular race. The F138 is not innately slower either – Ferrari were caught out by the changing conditions on Saturday and had a dismal qualifying session. If Alonso had started fifth on the grid instead of ninth, he might have been able to fight for the win. Instead by the time he made his way up to second place he seemed spent.

          But I do get the sense that a lot of competing teams and drivers are psychologically beaten by Red Bull. They believe “Those guys are too fast for us”. Red Bull/Vettel have acquired an aura of invincibility over the last few years and that in itself is worth a tenth of a second a lap. I don’t think Hamilton’s stunned disbelief when he beats Vettel to pole is entirely an act – he does seem to genuinely believe that the RB9 is much faster than his own car. That can easily become an excuse for giving up when you fall behind.

          1. Pretty clever analysis, I like it. :D

          2. Good analysis! I am not so sure that this invincibility reputation is translated into a .1 sec (or anything) per lap, but the fact that Red Bull was so dominating in a track that is not their strength (despite the misfortune/mistakes of the rivals as you mentioned) is certainly a psychological blow.
            I think Seb just needs to get a podium in Monza to get the the most teams effectively give up.

      2. @jonsan I think it’s blindingly obvious Alonso had a massive points advantage last year!

        The main difference for me between last year and this though (and why I’m not sure that it will be done again, even though it can) is that Vettel had lost more points last season than Alonso by Monza (where the gap was -3 points from it’s highest) with 37 points to Alonso in Valencia + 10 points lost in Monza vs maybe 21 points (finishing second and Vettel third – although that also completely ingots Hamilton and anybody else affected by the crash) lost for Alonso.

        This year, Alonso’s lost at best 15 points in Malaysia and 14 in Bahrain, Vettel’s lost 27 in Britain (a win +2 for Alonso finishing a place lower).

        So even though I agree anything can happen and of course these statistics omit completely to mention that anybody can retire now, it does appear that Vettel has been relying far less on other’s misfortune than Alonso last year to build his current gap. In other words, he’s had a more comepetitive package yet has been driving just as well.

    3. It wasn’t Maldonado’s fault, that was just a racing incident @fer-no65

        1. @fer-no65 you are allowing your personal bias cloud your judgment buddy. Try and look at the incident objectively. If there ever was a regular racing incident, this is it. No one’s to blame.

          1. @pmccarthy_is_a_legend @fer-no65 I don’t see how you can avoid blaming Maldonado for it. The racing line went left and he went right – into the side of Sutil and Di Resta. He may have been trying to pit but you can’t just swing across the track making no allowances for any other cars that might be there. It was a complete failure of awareness on his part.

            The stewards gave him a stop-go penalty instead of a drive-through, which is a clear sign they saw him as being completely responsible for the collision. And they were entirely right. If anything they should have given him a penalty for the next race instead – a grid drop for example – as his race on Sunday had already been ruined by his own carelessness.

          2. @keithcollantine you fail to observe the fact that he was taking the line to turn left when Sutil cut across trying (and somewhat succedding in) to take the position, but also taking a chunk of Williams front wing in the process. That in itself is an indication that there was no space left there. Di Resta saw his team mate getting past Maldonado and tried his luck too, with less success. It was by no means as cut and dry as a lot of people seem to suggest. Even if Maldonado was to be blamed, then Di Resta would have to take some of the blame too, for trying to take a gap that wasnt there in the first place. As far as the penalty handed by the stewards, lets just say that while it has to be respected they don’t always get it right (it is a tough job) and it is naive to take their decision at face value.

          3. @pmccarthy_is_a_legend my personal bias? you know me very well, I suspect.

            I always look at incidents objectively. And Maldonado just wanted to enter the pits with 3 other cars around him. There were better ways, but he just turned right and stuffed it, as he almost always does…

          4. @pmccarthy_is_a_legend

            he was taking the line to turn left

            No he wasn’t: he headed right to go into the pits, saw Sutil was there and began to move left in avoidance but still hit the Force India. Then he did the same with Di Resta. Had he just been going around the corner he would never have been in a position to hit either of them.

            He simply failed to acknowledge how many cars were around him and acted as if none of them were there. Hence the swingeing penalty.

    4. Maldonado has to pay Williams approximately 100 grand for the damage.

  2. Uh, delighted by Ferrari’s improved pace, but Red Bull were ridiculous today.

    Good win by Vettel though, easily passed Hamilton at the start and never looked back. He’s actually growing a bit on me as a driver, although I still find the majority of his wins to be rather boring.

    1. @kingshark I do have to admit he does have an uncanny ability to make the race for the win really boring, but that’s to his credit I’d say. Alonso can do that himself – China or Spain for instance ;)

      1. That overtake of JB near the chicane was masterclass . The only one who could have stopped Vettel was Zeus himself and he didn’t seem to care today .

        Anybody else think that last picture of Vettel in the post is creepy as hell ?

        1. Button was on the last legs of his tyres.

        2. Shreyas Mohanty (@)
          26th August 2013, 12:12

          @hamilfan It was creepy as hell.

    2. Zach (@thetirekicker)
      26th August 2013, 0:34

      @kingshark I feel like Vettel is the equivalent of that kid in school who always got top marks on every test so you’d never get points back by a curve. It’s possible for someone else to take the points back but that driver has to be the only one scoring wins. Come on ALO! Lets see last year’s points spread reverse.

  3. Mercedes should bounce back in Monza.

    1. That’s what everyone was saying about spa… I predict another Vettel run away.

      1. I really doubt that. Monza is a different track with straights and slow corners so aerodynamic where Red Bull is very strong won’t be so influential. My bet is on Ferrari for Monza.

        1. Judging by last year, how Mclaren carried over their performance from Spa to Monza, as did RBR in 2011, I think Seb has a really good shot at a win

          1. @MNM101
            I see your point and I agree to the extent that I think Vettel is going to be competitive in Monza. The win ultimately depends on the Ferrari form and whether the Merc race pace (or lack thereof) was due to a wet/higher down-force setup which can be rectified in Monza or a deeper problem with their medium downforce package.

      2. Chris (@tophercheese21)
        26th August 2013, 0:07

        I don’t.

        Merc were clearly running more wing in anticipation of some rain. So their straight line speed was dead slow.

        I think it will be much closer at Monza.

        1. Zach (@thetirekicker)
          26th August 2013, 0:37

          @tophercheese21 Agreed. Remember how fast Nico was in Monaco, and Lewis at Silverstone (albeit before the puncture). Mercedes fixed Hamilton’s car from being uncontrollable, but had too much wing in the dry.

  4. Vettel was imperious. Enough said.

    Meanwhile, I still don’t understand why Button was called in for a ntew set of tyres. He was finishing 6th either way. Should have made the Mercs work for the final podium spot.

  5. With the benefit of 20-20 hindsight it’s obvious that the results were largely determined on Saturday. Mercedes gambled on rain for Sunday and when it never came they were in a spot of difficulty. Ferrari had the right setup for the conditions, but they were starting too far back to make the most of it. Red Bull made the best calls on Saturday and then all Vettel had to do was execute properly.

    “We had incredible pace,” said Vettel after clinching his fifth win of the year. “We didn’t expect that.”

    I guess the subtext there would be “Give me more of this low downforce setup please!”

    1. @jonsan I agree – when they can’t cement their advantage in qualifying it really looks to be the way to go. Having seen this race I am actually expecting them to be pretty competitive at Monza and I really was not expecting that at all. Maybe not race winning, but solid points to minimise any losses.

      1. @jonsan

        I do not agree that Alonso could’ve fought for victory had he started the race from the 2nd or 3rd row.. He was up to 3rd place by lap 6 or 7 and was trailing Vettel by 7 secs .. Though he was able to keep that gap somewhat steady he never made any inroads to it and after the last round of pit stops Vettel just disappeared ( he was 5.8 secs ahead of Alonso after coming out of the pits and by the end the gap was almost 17 secs)… Redbull & Vettel were incredibly quick and Alonso starting even on pole would nt have made much of a difference …

  6. Conclusions from the Belgian Grand prix weekend:
    Vettel is going to take this championship, and it is deserved. Love or loathe him, the guy is quick and makes the most of his equipment.
    Alonso is relentless, the most complete driver in the grid today.
    For raw speed, Lewis is the fastest driver of this generation.
    Button has done well. Less whinnying more driving. Still second rate compared to the big four though.
    If Red Bull has really chosen DR, then they should start considering dropping Webber before the end of the season. I doubt DR could do any worse that Webber is doing right now.
    This Michelin rumour encapsulates everything that’s bad about F1. The politics, the pay backs, the FIA president lobbying for a new tyre supplier on the simple basis that they are, as himself, French. Even if that means a change in regulations that would be detrimental to racing and the fans.
    After 25 years, my enthusiasm for F1 is finally waning. I think its all the politics, can’t quite put my finger on it, its just not the same.
    End of comment :)

  7. Great review, Keith, shame the race wasn’t much cop.

    Alonso was swiftly past Jenson Button and Nico Rosberg with a few flaps of his rear wing. He blasted past both on the Kemmel straight as if they were missing a gear.

    Written like a true DRS believer, lol!

    1. I was a little surprised @keithcollatine didn’t mention Sutil’s efforts in passing at least 3 times in interesting places, and passing his team mate on the track.

  8. As a Belgian, I’m very very disappointed with the crowd though. Probably not all of them are Belgian, but it is just such a low for the Belgium GP.. That booing at the podium is really annoying me. I am not a big Vettel-fanatic myself, but booing someone who has just won a race (in a way few people can) is just wrong!
    And it is not the first time it has happened.
    So for all the people on F1 Fanatic who were booing today, shame on you. Show some sportsmanship..

    1. @gdewilde – Dunno, I seemed to hear booing for the other two as well, and there was none of that for SV on the podium in Spa last year. Apparently it was the protesters.

    2. I’m pretty sure the boos were for the Greenpeace protestors, not the drivers.

    3. @gdewilde I originally had that reaction but yea I think it was for the greenpeace protesters as @jackysteeg said. So I think your countrymen still show sportsmanship unlike those bloody Canadians :P

      1. :)
        It must be the French in them because Canadians are generally very polite!

        1. @ifelix obviously us British are pretty bad for it too – the Napoleonic wars have left us all bitter :P

          1. Thankfully it’s just a few though and most are gracious – F1 fans in general are really quite good as sports fans to for sportsmanship so I think we all deserve a pat on the back :)

    4. They cheered for all three – it was the protestors who tried to get on the podium they boo’ed.

    5. @david-a @jackysteeg @vettel1 @tmf42 I just read about the protestors ;-) Sorry, my bad!
      My rant applies to all future GP podiums though :-)

  9. Keith, You should have said “Vettel passed Hamilton by excellent top speed”

    1. Except it wasn´t by excellent top speed. It was by carrying more speed through Eau Rouge. He was already next to Hamilton way before they hit the limiter.

    2. I cant understand how Vettel in a single move, without DRS, passes Hamilton so easily and Webber stays the entire race stuck behind Rosberg.

      1. Hamilton made a mistake and clipped the kerb at the top of eau rouge on the first lap, which is how Vettel caught and passed him.

        RB was geared for clean air and not passing, so Webber’s race was pretty much stuffed after the clutch issue at the start.

      2. Didn’t use KERS at the start, saving the extra juice for the slingshot out of Eau Rouge. Worked like a charm.

  10. Vettel’s ability to break the DRS window and open up a fair gap to the driver in 2nd in the opening laps when at the front shone through again and was vital in his win today, Hamilton running wide at Eau Rouge at the start played a part but I still think he would’ve jumped Hamilton once the DRS was enabled anyway. From there on he controlled the race and was never bothered.

    As for Mercedes, whether they’ve gambled on rain at some point during the race or not, their downforce package this weekend has not been efficient as the Red Bull package, which could point towards the story that will unravel in Monza although given that it’s unlikely in Monza to be some form of setup compromise the teams will have to make, on that front I’d expect Mercedes to be closer to Red Bull than at Spa because of that as well as their engine and general straight-line speed advantage, and more so or ahead when we get to Singapore.

    I found the start predictable to say the least: Alonso having a mega start along with Vettel having a good one, Webber dropping back (conspiracy alert) etc and found it almost a turn-off for me. Maldonado seems to have added Di Resta to his blacklist of collision takeouts once again and nearly Gutierrez as well. Was totally saddened to see Kimi’s finishing streak and subsequently points streak come to an end, Good recovery drive from Alonso but they won’t be so good on paper as he’s continuing to lose Vettel in the championship, Ferrari’s package I think was only bettered by Red Bull and providing qualifying is dry, I won’t rule them out for a good performance (Massa too), a Ferrari on the 2nd row at least.

    Moving back to something more positive, I was impressed with Kimi and Hamilton’s race craft when racing, particularly Kimi’s moves at the Bus Stop and Turn 9. Regarding Lewis, it was evident, as he had done FL on the previous lap, that he let Alonso through at La Source so he can get DRS on the next straight and try to overtake despite it being ultimately unsuccessful and also not passing Grosjean into Bus Stop and passing on Kemmel Straight with DRS acknowledging that he had done that on the previous lap and saw himself back behind Grosjean by the end of the straight.

    On the Perez-Grosjean incident, I had tried to find a case for Perez’s squeeze via thinking “he was taking the racing line and trying to get a good entry in Les Combes and didn’t know Grosjean would be there” but clearly Grosjean had to go on the kerb (and effectively exceeding track limits) to avoid hitting Perez. I also thought there were two interpretations the stewards could’ve had as strong cases against Perez, the first being that Perez squeezed him and Grosjean had to go on the kerb to elude contact and the other being insufficient space given by Perez resulted in Grosjean having to cut the chicane to avoid contact with the McLaren.

    As the championship, well it’s looking more and more distant for Alonso, Hamilton and Kimi, it could well be effectively wrapped up in Monza should Vettel finish on the podium I feel. Sorry for the long post :)

  11. Just to point out that Mercedes have now surpassed their points haul of 214 in 2010 (their previous highest).

  12. Hamilton and Vettel also appeared to brush Alonso aside in the post race prep area just before they went out to the podium. I felt a little embarrassed for Alonso (for about 20 seconds!).

    1. He is a big boy – he can handle it.

    2. Its because they are threatened by him.

    3. I’ve noticed that Alonso doesn’t tend to talk with other drivers before the podium, regardless of who it is. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s some kind of mind games or he’s just constantly disappointed to be on the podium, but not the top step!

      1. I think off track he is a bit egotistic when he doesn’t finish and is a strong believer that vettel gets lucky everytime ( I am not ) . So he just is morose after every race . LDM has not improved things either . So as someone said , its better not to mess with the big boy after the race .

        1. @hamilfan

          As if you know him personally

          1. I never stated that I knew him nor does my comment indicate that , @puneethvb as these things can be inferred by observation . It is just an opinion of mine as he has been morose most of the times when he has finished third or second and when Vettel has won . It is just human emotion .In fact , My face was similar to his at the end of the Brazilian GP 2012 .The best drivers tend to have huge egos .
            If you do know him personally I’d be happy to eat my words .

          2. I feel it is unfair to judge someone just by the so called observation of the expression on their face .. Maybe it was disappointment because he could not beat the guy who is leading the championship and he has slipped further behind… and the guy happened to be Vettel… You would probably find him equally disappointed if he finished in a race behind a championship leader (even if it is not Vettel) …

            anyway most of us only see the F1 drivers during race weekends or promotional videos/interviews etc… so I wonder What is your claim of him being very egoistic off track is based on, when you or I don’t know him personally at all..

      2. I’ve noticed that too. He always keeps to himself for what ever reason. But I’m a bit surprised by the friendliness of Seb and Lewis.

        1. Seb is growing on everyone, I think . Like him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him .

          1. @hamilfan I like Seb for that – he’s not really enemies with anyone! Hamilton’s quite friendly as well – they fight very hard on track but they can still be mates after it, I like that :)

          2. They try to paint him as Schumacher mark II, but for those who lived in Germany it is clear that Vettel is from the 2nd post war generation and they are much less “German” in attitude while still hard working and extremely focused. I don’t know how he will change though as he get older. I really really hope that his success doesn’t go under his skin and start believing that he is entitled to them.

  13. If boullier still thinks Lotus can finish 2nd in the WCC he needs a reality check. They have a car that is too dependant on weather. How can people call a car that depends on warm weather quick?! Lotus talk themselves up too often. Raikkonen is effectively no longer a contender and Lotus will finish 4th in wcc thanks to Grosjean

    1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
      26th August 2013, 2:47

      Well formula 1 is said to be a sport that “Follows the Sun”, so more often than not, it’s going to be a warm/sunny race.

      Of course there will be the odd wet/freezing cold race, but the majority will be dry and sunny.

  14. Such a shame, Kimi was really on fire – overtakes. Grosjean yet again spoiled Kimi’s start – but I’m probably biased on this.

    1. Yeah, it’s odd to see one team mate do that to the other. In the end it lost them both places. Weird behavior from Grossjean. Guess he feels the need to prove himself or something. No matter the cost for the team.

    2. I think it was Button who spoiled Kimis start because he was so slow out of the first turn and Kimi had to slow down and then “pushed” of track, otherwise Kimi would have been in front of Grosjean at the exit of the turn and then it would have been him who would have to compromise his driving line.

    3. Yes, I was gutted :(
      Kimi has always had this rotten luck. I nearly pulled half of my hair out in 2003, 2005 but he got lucky in the very end in 2007.

  15. Well boys..there we go. Vettel has the championship all wrapped up…its pretty much over.

    Barring a miracle for Alonso or Hamilton, there is no chance, we shall watch for who gets second place!

    Vettel’s pace at Spa was almost damning for the rest. Like Martin Brundle said at the end of the race, Vettel could have pulled another 10 to 15 secs on the pack if he really wanted to…this is a car and driver combo that is unbeatable at present. The only way the title race will be “on” again is if Vettel retries from races, with Alonso or Hamilton winning both races.

  16. Story of the season. Ferrari gave Alonso a car capable of winning but he bottled qualifying…again.

    I know Alonso didn’t get an extra qualifying lap like the top 3 did, but he only managed to put his car on 4th on his final lap. With how good the Ferrari is off the line, starting 5th or 6th he would have been 2nd or 3rd after the first lap. When the pressure wasn’t on in Q2 he easily topped the time sheets.

    1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
      26th August 2013, 2:46

      but he bottled qualifying…again.

      To be fair, the conditions changed so quickly, there was nothing he could do.

      1. Yes, and at the moment Alonso completed his final Q3 lap he only managed to set the 4th fastest provisional time. If I remember correctly there were three different teams in the top three spots at that moment. Simply wasn’t good enough given how strong the Ferrari was.

    2. Obviously not. After Alonso got second the gap was 7sec behind Vettel and he closed the gap to 6sec by ealier pit. but Vettel could propagate the gap and on hard tyres, Redbull was much better than Ferrari. That’s why Vettel could beat Alonso by 17sec.

      If Alonso had got pole, result would be same. Vettel must have overtook Alonso.

      Ferrari has improved , compared with Lotus and Merc, but Redbull has been much stronger..

    3. Even he was the pole, I don’t think he could have won against Vettel’s pace.

  17. Vettel and Hamilton has Equal Number of Podiums after this race (54).

    1. Then it follows that they must have had the same number of podiums before the race too ;)

      1. Yes but now they are having The 10th place in all time list with Niki Lauda.

  18. Well , A great result for vettel fans . I think Red Bull made sure that he had his top speed advantage he missed in Hungary . Lewis got Eau Rouge imperfect and it was over . Even if this almost drives one nail in the coffin for other contenders , it proves that Vettel completely deserves this race and if it happens , the championship as he is in fantastic form and rarely makes errors. Alonso was great and again I was made to feel sorry for his poor starting position only to realize that he had brought it on himself . Again another tinge of disappointment for Kimi . I was really enjoying his perfect overtakes when it happened . Looking forward to Monza hoping that Mercedes brings some good package and setup their car well . It maybe over already as far as WDC is concerned however , Mercedes can look at the WCC and if Rosberg gets as much luck as his speed , then they stand a chance I believe .

    Di resta , oh my my . He just got maldonaded :-P .

    1. Alexander (@)
      26th August 2013, 8:00

      Yes, Kimis overtakes on Sutil into the outside line of the bus stop and then on Gutierrez and Perez into turns 9 and 10 were quite spectacular!

  19. Just a caption for that photo of vettel; “mirror mirror on the wall…” …or perhaps “bubble bubble toil and trouble” vettel dabbling in a little black magic perhaps?

  20. So, it looks like either Red Bull is really high on downforce AND has high top speed or Red Bull has thrown in the towel when it comes to the qualifying battle but focused more on the race. (And especially the start).
    This is the second time this year – Bahrain 2013 and Spa 2013 – where Vettel has done a mega first lap in spite of not having pole. Kind of like Alonso did in 2012 when he would regularly make up 2-4 places in the first lap of every race.

    1. I had the same feeling and honestly this a less risky approach; even if you get the pole there is no guarantee that one can lead the whole race or won’t get stuck in traffic. They should really try to be more race oriented, esp. That even so they can qualify on the front 3 rows anyway.

  21. Alexander (@)
    26th August 2013, 8:06

    According to Autosport Maldonado blames Sutil for the accident. He said: “I was touched by Adrian – I was trying to recover my line and he crossed my line in a very aggressive way and touched my front wing,” Maldonado said.

    “My car jumped and I lost control, lost the steering wheel. The impact was quite hard.

    “Part of the wing went under the car and I lost traction at the front. It was nothing to do with di Resta – I was completely compromised by Sutil.

    “The incident was caused by Sutil and I got the penalty; that’s it. I didn’t have control of the car when I crashed. That’s why [the penalty] was unfair.”

    1. In the post race interviews he said he was going for the pits. This new explanation lie makes no sense either. If anything the shunt with Sutil would have pushed him to the inside of the corner. You could clearly see him steer for the outside of the corner trying to dive back for the pits after he broke his front wing. Which makes sense I guess, but a proper F1 driver would have had the situational awareness that other cars were around him.

      He’s a danger on track and a lame liar to boot.

  22. Oh, if only the race had been as good as this review :( Vettel was never threatened after the pass on Hamilton, there were again too many predictable DRS passes and the result certainly didn’t make the title fight more exciting. This was a typical 2011-style race with Vettel in front and the other usual suspects fighting for the remaining glory.

    1. I watch the first 2 laps and then fast forwarded the rest.

  23. thatscienceguy
    26th August 2013, 10:16

    Is anyone here going to apologise to Pirelli for the comments some of you made about the punctures in practice? Admit that you were wrong and it was debris that caused them

  24. I was really sick of all this talk about Mercedes being a chance for the championship during the past 2-3 weeks because Hamilton won 1 race , Vettel put them all in their place this weekend, that was a champion drive, he is fast everywhere. If Mercedes want to win the championship with their superbly fast car, the drivers have to not only defeat vettel, but also drivers like raikonnen and Alonso who keep getting between them and vettel. they need to put In drives like vettel. one person in this forum wrote:
    “Sebastian Vettel now leads the championship by 46 points – the largest gap since the 2011 season”. he wont lose it from that far ahead, he is the best driver out their at the moment, webber is further away then ever from his teammate now.
    Vettel’s performances are being diminished by haters and jealousy of fans of other drivers, but at the moment we are witnessing a true racing star with huge competition, but he just keeps on winning.

  25. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    26th August 2013, 14:35

    I don’t get it! I simply don’t! How can Vettel’s car pass Lewis through the first few corners as if he has DRS enabled and then build a 1.5 second lap while Webber’s car eternally stalls everytime he finds himself close to Vettel at the grid?

    This makes no sense whatsoever. It just cannot be Webber that’s having trouble starting the stupid car.

    1. The same people that said Ferrari was sabotaging Barrichello’s car in 2002 and other years, until people noticed it was often him that was so clumsly (Australia 2009, Turkey 2009, Beglium 2009 immediately spring to mind where he managed to fail his start).

      Additionally we can still remember Vettel often having problems at starts in 2010. It seems Vettel has found a way to get used to it and make the most of it whilst Webber just hasn’t.

      Sometimes it’s just the driver screwing it up, if it needs finer management. Especially since Webber has also had problems way before Vettel even came up to F1 (i.e. Malaysia 2004, Monaco 2005).

  26. Anyone else at the race. I thought the bus shuttle system from Francorchamps to Verviers was very, very poor. A bus every hour leaving there and an odd extra one thrown in. It was the only negative on a great experience there on a general admission ticket. Wondering where I can post a few videos?

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