Hamilton wins as tyre drama costs Vettel third

2015 Belgian Grand Prix summary

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Lewis Hamilton led a Mercedes one-two for the seventh time this year in the Belgian Grand Prix.

However a late drama cost Sebastiaan Vettel likely third place when his right-rear tyre exploded as he accelerated out of Raidillon. The Ferrari driver kept his car under control but dropped out of the points positions.

While Hamilton held the lead almost without interruption from the start of the race, team mate Nico Rosberg lost his grip on second place when the lights went out and had to make his way back to the front.

After passing Valtteri Bottas, Rosberg jumped ahead of Sergio Perez and Daniel Ricciardo at the first round of pit stops to regain second place. He briefly closed on Hamilton – the gap between the pair fell to two seconds following a Virtual Safety Car period – but Hamilton re-established his advantage when racing resumed.

Romain Grosjean benefited from Vettel’s tyre failure to give Lotus their first podium finish since 2013. Unlike Vettel, Grosjean had pitted for fresh tyres during the VSC period.

Daniil Kvyat was flying on the closing stages, eventually passing Felipe Massa to take seventh. Kimi Raikkonen survived a late attack from Max Verstappen to hold on to seventh place.

A mistake by Willians cost Valtteri Bottas better finish – he came in ninth after serving a drive-through penalty for having one medium tyre fitted along with three softs during a pit stop. Marcus Ericsson took the final point for Sauber.

2015 Belgian Grand Prix

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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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57 comments on “Hamilton wins as tyre drama costs Vettel third”

  1. What a shame, Vettel was driving such a great race. Two laps :(

    Great Hamilton and Grosjean, fantastic drives from both. Rosberg again very bad, that start was atrocious.

  2. I think the title is very correct, it did not look like Grosjean had enough to pass Vettel. He had this third.

    I don’t know if it is me, the cars or whatever but the lack of quality of overtakes astounds me this season. So many mistakes all thoughout the field, entertaining nontheless it seems only handfull knows where their braking points are. We’ve been discussing gravel traps for a long time but drivers are continueing the take reckless choices knowing it will be fine. If I’m not mistaken Verstappen, Perez, Kvyat and others would be well stuck in the gravel at Les Combes. Also they didnn’t seem to care for the new instructions given especially for running wide at that corner.

    What a dissapointing weekend for Williams though but ones death is the others bread and Grosjean deserved that fourt (inherited third) spot.

  3. Oh almost forgot the mandatory lol @ McHonda. . They can’t even match Sauber. Think about it, if it wasn’t for an just-out-of-bankruptcy team with 2014 engines, they would be last.

    We’re 11 races in, this is beyond disastrous.

    1. Where are the people telling McLaren will get a podium by the end of the year?

      1. @paeschli They are driving their Honda cars to the track now for the race.

      2. ColdFly F1 (@)
        23rd August 2015, 16:21

        I thought they were rather impressive: Alonso gaining 61 places from 74th to 13th ;)

  4. I feel sad for Vettel but that tire bursting made me laugh. I like it when risks are taken. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.

    1. It was also a strange/bizarre strategy to take given the drivers’ concerns with the tyres after Rosberg’s burst in practice. Probably not connected, but even so…

    2. Doing 27 laps with a tyre that is supposed to last 40 is not taking a risk.

      1. Obviously it was

      2. @jons: Pirelli advised teams and F1 management months ago that they want limits of 50% race distance max on the prime tyre and 30% max on the option. Vettel was obviously over those limits.
        The teams and F1 management told Pirelli to make softer tyres that don’t last long so as to spice up the racing. Pirelli did that. Pirelli told the teams that they thought this race would be a 2 or possibly 3 stop race. Ferrari took a gamble on a 1 stop strategy.
        Each car only has four points of contact with the ground – the tyres. It seems to me that an organization (whether an individual team or F1 itself) that claims to be interested in safety should listen to the advice of the people who make those tyres.

      3. 27 laps at Spa is more than 40 laps at Hungary.

    3. They should have watched the movie Cars.

  5. I might get a lot of hate for my comment, but I was sort of happy that Grosjean got the podium instead of Vettel. Grosjean deserved it more with his top drive in my opinion. Once again, terrible performance from Rosberg. He will not win the championship with performances like this. Ricciardo, Hulkenberg and Sainz were unlucky. Ricciardo might have got on the podium.

    1. Grosjean deserved third, Vettel deserved fourth …

      1. @paeschli How? Vettel was in third, didn’t look like Grosjean had enough to overtake him. In my book that means Vettel deserved third and Grosjean deserved fourth.

        1. @xtwl

          Because if it wasn’t for Grosjean’s grid penalty, Vettel would have never been in front of him in the 1st place.

          1. @todfod And if Ferrari had a Mercedes engine we would have qualified ahead. Reliability is part of the characteristic of a car, as much as speed and downforce.

          2. @todfod That is pointless to point out. Grosjean could have had a terrible start under pressure being fourth. His car could have been hit by a rocket. You see where I’m heading?

            We’re only talking about the exact moment Vettel his tyre blew, all that had happend before is irrelevant to where they were on track at that moment in time.

      2. would have been nice to see both make it through to the end.

    2. Being “hated” for having a different opinion seems a bit excessive to me, but then again, this is the internet, where there is only black and white, and shades of grey are frowned upon.

      Grosjean was mighty impressive today, and fully deserved third place.

    3. Grosjean deserved 3rd and got it. But just before he deserved Vettel had also deserved it. Ferrari didn’t look faster than other Mercedes cars but he drove beautifully. And he defended brilliantly. Pity what happened.

    4. I am certainly happy for Grosjean, and doubly happy for the Lotus team for the quality result.

  6. It does not surprise that the squarer wall edge rear Pirelli 2015 are failing and at high speeds, that’s the reason why Bridgestone couldn’t make their tyres like that in 2003 which led to the infamous Brawn press conference. Then there was the Indianapolis 2005 debacle. It’s a tremendous engineering feat to make the edge of the tyre as square as possible.

  7. these tyres are a complete joke, there has been so many failures & other tyre related problems since 2011…. Been far, far more tyre problems since 2011 than there was the 10-15 years before it seems.

    1. No Indy 2005 yet though.

  8. Two about 200mph+ right-rear tyre blow-out in a one weekend are just unacceptable.

  9. LOL I bet this was a low scoring round for predictions. I predicted HAM ROS RAI VET BOT. This race was completely different than the others, almost like Hungary.. I wonder who got some good predictions…

  10. There definitely appears to be yet more problems with the construction of the tyres. The tyre was not that worn – the pace was evidently still competitive. Unless there is a problem with that kerb, the tyres should be able to cope with what would appear to be normal racing loads.

    1. I can already hear Pirelli talking about some mysterious debris on the track.

      1. Also, GP3-driver Aleksander Bosak had a sudden puncture during today’s sprint-race.

  11. I want to see what did Pirelli advise the teams before the race before blaming them. If they advised teams not to run the tyres for than long, then Ferrari it’s to blame, they rolled the dice and didn’t work.

    Though that rises another issue, which is that teams are further limited in terms of strategy. If we can’t even have a ‘novelty’ one-stop-strategy, we are just constraining teams for the sake of constraining. That shouldn’t be how it works. Whoever is at fault here, the idea behind weak tyres is still terrible.

    1. If they advised teams not to run the tyres for than long, then Ferrari it’s to blame, they rolled the dice and didn’t work.

      Also pretty sure the tyres are supposed to “fall off the cliff” instead of puncture.

    2. Paul Hembrey said tyre life was 40 laps.

      1. ColdFly F1 (@)
        23rd August 2015, 16:25

        Actually Paul Henley said (on RTL television) that Pirelli advised the teams to do a 2-3 stop!.

  12. Am I the only one who noticed when Perez dived into the pits just before the vsc came out, and was around one second behind grosjean and on the restard he was 10 seconds behind.

  13. Is there a worse team operationally, in the history of F1, than Williams? They have hugely experienced people on the pit wall, like Symonds and Smedley, but they still make stupid, elementary mistakes. Their pit stops are still much slower than everyone else’s. Their strategy is clumsy, conservative and predictable. They can’t even put four of the same compound of tyre on the car. There was a man with a tyre wrapped in a yellow blanket at Bottas’s pit stop clearly marked “right rear”, but he had nowhere to go, as there was someone else at the rear right corner of the car with another tyre.

    1. You could actually see the person with the correct rear tyre holding on to it and unsure. He still could have made the call and stopped them in time, although a potential un-helmeted crew member penalty awaited.

  14. Much as I think he was the star (or one of the stars) of the race, Verstappen immaturity or inexperience showing again: move on Raikkonen was rash, and now the off-camera move on Bottas is under investigation for leaving the track and gaining an advantage.

  15. Vettel was only on that position cuz he didn’t stop for tyres a 2nd time.
    Grosjean was charging behind him on pure performance.

    Given that Vettel is on the podium all the time and wasn’t on his best day, i was happy when that tyre failed. Otherwise Grosjean probably wouldn’t be on the podium.

    A shame that the good driver of the team have to skip friday sessions all the time while that other crappy driver don’t need to and even tests way more than him on the winter.

    1. i was happy when that tyre failed.

      What I read – I was happy that tyre failed. I could not care less if he had hit a wall at 250kph because Grosjean got the podium.

      1. Well, you got it all wrong pal.
        It was not like his tyres were falling apart before they failed for me to want them to fail just for Grosjean to get his podium.

        They just did it out of nowhere on a safe position for him. And THEN i was happy for Grosjean, who was outstanding today.

      2. You should take comprehension lessons. No where was it implied that he would be happy to see an accident. Vettel took a risk and lost, now he’s crying. Everyone else got the message that a one stop was not advisable. Had he got 3rd then he would admit the gamble paid off.

    2. Vettel not on his best day? Vettel was probably driver of the day. His defending on those tires was absolutely brilliant and right before the blow out had actually increased his lead out of DRS range.

      He fully deserved the podium, more than Grojean who couldn’t get past Vettel in a faster car with far better tires.

      1. Ferrari is a better car than Lotus.
        His traction exiting La Source was much better than Grosjean’s.

        If the DRS line was after Eau Rouge, Grosjean would’t be able to use it even once.

        1. Ferrari is a better car than Lotus.

          Usually yes, but not under these circumstances (i.e. fresher tyres). Grosjean should have taken Vettel earlier.

          1. Yeah, but as i said, Grosjean had trouble keeping up with Vettel after La Source.

            That’s why Vettel could hold 3rd place for so long, and probably would till the end if not for the puncture.

  16. Well Nico is just a guest to the World championship fight really isn’t it. He’s there but not he doesn’t really seem to have a say. Someone once said this year’s Merc “is the most dominant car in F1 history”. 1, Statistically that is not true. 2, Each time the track is a sauna Ferrari suddenly seem to be the “dominant” team. Conclusion? When conditions are normal sure the Mercs are dominant. But when the mercury is boiling the Mercs are anything but. Still great drive by Lewis, Grosjaen and Vettel up until the tyre blowout. Hats off to Kyvat too he gave us some action. But Williams… Well this may soound drastic but some heads need to roll (again), particularly in the strategy and track operations department.

  17. Two times they “deploy” the VSC and two times Rosberg eats away a considerable amount of time against Hamilton because of it.

    On Silverstone it was around 2.5s and today at least a sec.

    And nobody says a thing about it!

    1. I’d be very interested to know if Hamilton is just awful at keeping to the VSC pace or whether Rosberg cheats and gets away with it, or both.

  18. VSC hurt Perez badly, due to the timing of his stop, and helped his rival overhaul him when they pitted under VSC. Lost about 10 seconds due to that and would have been easy 5th place for Force India.

    1. Correction $th place (5th before Vettel’s failure)

  19. Fair result.vettel didn’t deserve a podium.Great drives from Hamilton and Grosgean.

  20. Michael Duncan
    23rd August 2015, 20:37

    I think Red Bull will beat Merc in Singapore as Red Bull have better/faster cornering speed, better chassis and more downforce… Even Mercedes admitted it that Red Bull were fasted than them in 4 corners at Hungary. I hope I’m wrong though, I hope Mercedes have better chassis, better cornering speed and more downforce, don’t think they do though.

  21. Great result for a Grosjean fan ! Just in passing, I wonder how unfocused Hamilton got a better start than cerebral technically minded Rosberg ? (boy, those labels…)

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