Spa-Francorchamps Overview -F1

Sun 29 Aug 2010

As usual, Spa turned out to be a wet race with lots of happenings.

Just as the cars lined up on the gird, the first drops of rain appeared.  Pole position was with Mark Webber, with Lewis Hamilton next to him.  Behind were Robert Kubica and Sebastian Vettel followed by Jenson Button and Filipe Massa on the third row.

At the start Webber bogged down and Hamilton, Kubica and Button made the most of it, as they covered the first three places by the initial corner.

Further down the field there was chaos when around ten cars went off at the first corner and were everywhere.  Barrichello and Alonso clashed, and whilst Alonso managed to get back to the pits, Reubens was not so lucky, and his 300th F1 race was over early.  Just before the Safety Car came out, to enable the cleaning up, Button had managed to make a move on Kubica, to take second.  When the SC came in Kubica immediately lost another place, as Vettel got the better restart.

Things were beginning to dry up after the quick shower, and Alonso comes in for a second time to pick up some dry tyres.  Button, who had a bit of front wing damage and was having balance problems, was managing to hold off Vettel and was slowing down the rest of the field behind him.  By lap 13 Hamilton’s lead has extended to 8.3 seconds, but just three laps later, there was disaster for his McLaren team mate. 

Vettel hits Button

Vettel hits Button

Vettel, probably seeing an overtaking opportunity, powered out of the Blanchimont corner, but in the process lost traction in the wet conditions.  His car fishtailed a few times, and he eventually spears into the side of Buttons car.  The Brit was unable to go any further but Vettel makes his way to the pits, and get’s his damaged nose cone replaced.  He later received a drive through penalty for the incident.

The top few started coming in for tyres around laps 22-25 but Hamilton retained his 9 seconds lead.  On lap 26 there was more drama for Vettel, as he tried to overtake Liuzzi at the Bus Stop, but the ‘Crash Kid’ caught Tonio’s front wing and his rear tyre was sliced open.  Again he managed to make it back to the pits, and gets new soft tyres, but his race is now long lost.

Nine laps later and the rain was again falling and Lewis was struggling in the wet conditions.  He got onto his team radio about coming in for intermediate tyres, but wastold “do not want to jump too early”, and he promptly slides of the track in to the gravel at Rivage,  He managed to keep the car going in the shallow trap and finds his way back on, still holding the lead.

The reaction is that the majority of the field pit to replace their slicks with intermediates, but Vettel decides on full wets.  Kubica made hash of arriving into his pit box correctly, wasting some time, and comes out behind Webber.  Just three laps later and Vettel is back in for another set, as he’s already managed to burn his wets as the rain was not as heavy as expected.  On the same lap Alonso spins hitting the barrier, and ending up in the middle of the track.  Both Alonso and the Safety Car are out !

At the restart everyone got away cleanly, but Rosberg manages to overtake his Mercedes team mate Schumacher, to take sixth place, and the positions remain unchanged until the finish.

The final results are Hamilton first, Webber second and Kubica third.  Massa takes fourth, with a great race from Force India’s Adrian Sutil to come home in fifth.  He is followed by Rosberg, Schumacher, Kobayashi, Petrov and Liuzzi took the final point.

Outside of the points, but still finishers are de le Rosa, Buemi and Alguersuari.  Those lapped are Hulkenberg, Vettel, Kovalainen, di Grassi, Glock and Yamamoto.  The unlucky retirees are Alonso, Button, Senna and Barrichello.

Hamilton now leads the championship with 182 points, three points more than Australian Webber, with Vettel now 31 points behind.  Button is a further 35 points back with Alonso 41 points off the pace.  However, with six races left and 150 points still to be gained, the season is far from over, and it is still anybody championship to loose !


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