Vettel leads Red Bull one-two in thrilling race at Spa


Championship leader Sebastian Vettel took his seventh Grand Prix victory of the season in a thrilling Belgian Grand Prix. He led home a Red Bull Racing one-two with Mark Webber close behind following a bad start off the grid.

This was the perfect result for Vettel following three disappointing races. To win his seventeenth career Grand Prix at the magnificent Spa-Francorchamps circuit, Vettel is well on his way to take the drivers’ title come the end of the championship.

McLaren’s Jenson Button made some stunning overtaking manoeuvres to recover from P13 to finish in third. His team-mate Lewis Hamilton had to retire following a clash with Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi.

Fernando Alonso was a contender for race victory but fell down to fourth in the final stint on the Prime tyre.

As for Michael Schumacher, celebrating his twentieth anniversary since making his Formula One debut, the seven-time world champion drove a solid race from last on the grid to take fifth, ahead of Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg.

A chaotic start had seen Mark Webber stutter off the grid (once again) and fall from third to eighth, as Nico Rosberg burst through to second and then slipstream past Vettel to take a shock lead for Mercedes by Les Combes, with Felipe Massa, Hamilton and the fast-starting Alonso next up.

Rosberg’s lead lasted until lap three, when Vettel activated his Drag Reduction System and eased ahead on the Kemmel Straight. But the tyre issues that had been feared prior to the race started early for the Red Bulls, with Webber pitting after just three laps, and Vettel coming in from the lead next time around due to blistering.

That put Rosberg back in front, though he had Alonso right behind as the Spaniard had swiftly passed Hamilton, then outbraked team-mate Massa when the sister Ferrari lost momentum in a failed move on Rosberg. Hamilton also capitalised to further demote Massa as the shuffle unfolded.

By lap seven Alonso used a combination of DRS and KERS to sweep past Rosberg on the Kemmel Straight to move into the lead, with Hamilton doing likewise on the following lap.

The Ferrari and McLaren managed to keep their initial tyres intact until laps eight and eleven respectively, but the Red Bulls’ earlier pit stops had worked out better for them – and as Hamilton pitted from the lead, Vettel was sweeping around the outside of Rosberg in an epic move into Blanchimont ready to head the field again.

Shortly beforehand, Webber had produced a similarly spectacular move on Alonso into the Eau Rouge as the Ferrari emerged from its pit stop, though Alonso would repass the Red Bull next time around.

Hamilton’s challenge then ended on lap 13, when a brush of wheels with the yet-to-pit Kamui Kobayashi’s Sauber on the run into Les Combes. The McLaren spun into the barriers, prompting a safety car period.

With the Safety Car out on track, Vettel immediately pitted for a fresh set of Pirellis, which meant that although Alonso was able to lead again from the restart, the champion was soon easing ahead once more with a DRS pass.

From then onwards Vettel was effectively untouchable, pulling away from Alonso through the next stint and clinching his first win since Valencia. When the Ferrari switched to the Prime for the final run to the chequered flag, Alonso’s pace tailed off dramatically and he found himself being passed by first Webber, then Button.

The Hungarian Grand Prix winner had driven another epic race, getting the Prime tyre out of the way in the first stint, then overtaking car after car to move himself into podium contention. Button secured his place on the rostrum by passing the troubled Alonso with two laps left.

Michael Schumacher took a superb fifth place from the back of the grid – like Button using the Prime tyre in the opening stint then charging spectacularly. His Mercedes team-mate Rosberg drifted back to sixth as the race progressed, ahead of Force India’s Adrian Sutil and the Renault of Vitaly Petrov.

An additional pit stop to replace a deflating tyre left Massa in ninth spot, while Pastor Maldonado put behind his qualifying controversy to score the final point for Williams.

Bruno Senna’s return to Formula One resulted in P13 for Renault. This was a bad result following his impressive qualifying form. It didn’t help he was quite ambition at La Source which ended in a tangle with Jaime Alguersuari’s Toro Rosso. This first-corner clash earned the Brazilian a drive-through penalty.

Virgin’s Timo Glock was also given a drive-through after being adjudged to have triggered further multi-car mayhem at the back end of the pack.

So a great result for Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull Racing. His lead in the drivers’ championship looks increasingly omnipresent with 259 points, ahead of Webber on 167, Alonso on 157, Button on 149 and Hamilton on 146. Massa remains sixth with 74, but Schumacher’s fifth hoists him clear of the ninth-place scrap with 42 points to Rosberg’s 56.

In the constructors’, Red Bull Racing had a very profitable day, garnering 43 points to bring their leading score to 426 ahead of McLaren on 295 and Ferrari on 231.

Belgian Grand Prix race results, 44 laps:

1.  Vettel        Red Bull-Renault           1h26.44.893
2.  Webber        Red Bull-Renault           +3.741s
3.  Button        McLaren-Mercedes           +9.669s
4.  Alonso        Ferrari                    +13.022s
5.  Schumacher    Mercedes                   +47.464s
6.  Rosberg       Mercedes                   +48.674s
7.  Sutil         Force India-Mercedes       +59.713s
8.  Massa         Ferrari                    +1m06.076s
9.  Petrov        Renault                    +1m11.917s
10.  Maldonado     Williams-Cosworth         +1m17.615s
11.  Di Resta      Force India-Mercedes       +1m23.994s
12.  Kobayashi     Sauber-Ferrari             +1m31.976s
13.  Senna         Renault                    +1m32.985s
14.  Trulli        Lotus-Renault              +1 lap
15.  Kovalainen    Lotus-Renault              +1 lap
16.  Barrichello   Williams-Cosworth          +1 lap
17.  D’Ambrosio    Virgin-Cosworth            +1 lap
18.  Glock         Virgin-Cosworth            +1 lap
19.  Liuzzi        HRT-Cosworth               +1 lap

Fastest lap: Massa, 1:23.415

Not classified/retirements:

Perez         Sauber-Ferrari               27 laps
Ricciardo     HRT-Cosworth                 13 laps
Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes             12 laps
Buemi         Toro Rosso-Ferrari           6 laps
Alguersuari   Toro Rosso-Ferrari           1 lap

World Championship standings, round 11:                

1.  Vettel       259
2.  Webber       167
3.  Alonso       157
4.  Button       149
5.  Hamilton     146
6.  Massa         74
7.  Rosberg       56
8.  Schumacher    42
9.  Petrov        34
10.  Heidfeld      34
11.  Kobayashi     27
12.  Sutil         24
13.  Buemi         12
14.  Alguersuari   10
15.  Di Resta       8
16.  Perez          8
17.  Barrichello    4
18.  Maldonado      1

1.  Red Bull-Renault          426
2.  McLaren-Mercedes          295
3.  Ferrari                   231
4.  Mercedes                   88
5.  Renault                    68
6.  Sauber-Ferrari             35
7.  Force India-Mercedes       32
8.  Toro Rosso-Ferrari         22
9.  Williams-Cosworth           5

Next race: Italian Grand Prix, Monza. September 9-11.

17 thoughts to “Vettel leads Red Bull one-two in thrilling race at Spa”

  1. Sebastian Vettel said that the only real concern he had in winning his seventh grand prix victory of the season was starting the race on blistered tyres.

    The world champion, who pulled off an accomplished victory in the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa, was forced to pit on lap four for new tyres and admitted afterwards that starting on the soft tyres he’d used to qualify on pole had been a risk.

    “We had a lot of concerns going into the race after the damage to the tyres in qualifying and we took quite a lot of risk,” said Vettel. “We had reason to feel confident we should be fine, but if no one in the paddock is giving you guarantees… We didn’t feel comfortable, so we both stopped early in the race.

    “The main target was to see how tyres feel after a couple of laps, and go from there.”

    Vettel paid tribute to the Red Bull – which he said had vastly superior pace at Spa to previous years, which allowed him to re-establish himself at the front after his stop and then manage the race through the safety car period when Lewis Hamilton crashed.

    “The pace was very good in the race, I was feeling comfortable and without too much effort I was able to keep up with the guys [in front], after the safety car it was crucial to jump Fernando [Alonso] and get past him, then build a gap,” he said. “That made it more comfortable.

    “After that the race needed more management than usual. I have to say the car worked brilliantly and compared to previous years we were very competitive, I am very happy with the result and happy with the race – how we managed the race and the tyres. We need to learn from that and head down for the next race.”

    Vettel added that he thoroughly enjoyed winning at Spa and that it was in stark contrast to last year, when he crashed out of the race after colliding with Jenson Button.

    “It’s good to finish the race and not crash this year!” he said. “When I got close to him I thought overtake him on straight rather than chicane. The car was fantastic, the pace was there and that is why we are sitting up here now.

    “[Winning here means] a lot. It is a nice circuit, I enjoyed every lap today. The car was fantastic to drive, the car does what you want it to do, it is nice to have these fast corners and if you feel confident in the car it is even more fun. Every lap was enjoyable and a pretty enjoyable race to come in early, there were a lot of passes that I had to make. But I don’t want to complain, it worked fantastically well, the pace was great so good for both of us to finish like that.”


  2. Red Bull Racing’s Mark Webber has hail this one-two result at Spa-Francorchamps as the ‘best ever’ team performance. has the story.

    Mark Webber described Red Bull’s Belgian Grand Prix one-two as one of its best ever team achievements, particularly given the pre-race concern over tyre blistering.

    Leading teams had asked if they could be given dispensation to take on fresh Pirellis for the first stint following blistering problems in qualifying, but the request was denied as the officials felt the high wear was due to set-up choices rather than an inherent tyre issue.

    Red Bull was one of those worst affected by the situation, with both its cars pitting within the first four laps of the race, but Sebastian Vettel and Webber still had the pace to come back through to first and second.

    “The team result today was probably one of our best results ever as a team,” said Webber. “It was stressful last night, and a stressful morning, handled very well – putting drivers right in the discussions to understand how we can get through the grand prix as safely as possible, us giving them feedback on how tyres looked.”

    Webber’s strategy then went awry in the race, as communications issues meant he stayed out much longer than intended on his second set of tyres.

    “I was supposed to pit when Seb did, but had a completely blocked radio,” he explained. “I asked if I was wanted to stop, but heard nothing.”

    The Australian had already been delayed at the start when his anti-stall system kicked in and he slumped from third to eighth.

    “The start was shocking, I dropped the lever and anti-stall came on immediately,” said Webber. “Seb had a close call too. That was a disappointing way to start.”

    His recovery drive included one of the most bold overtaking moves of the season, as he went wheel to wheel with Fernando Alonso into Eau Rouge as the Ferrari rejoined after a pitstop.

    “Most of the race was charged with frustration from the start,” Webber admitted. “We were obviously very, very close through Eau Rouge, I used some KERS, got a tow and thought I might have a chance.

    “We didn’t give much easy, it was a good battle. It was rewarding that it worked okay, but it takes two guys to get it right. You can do it with Fernando – he is a world class guy and knows when enough is enough.”

  3. McLaren’s Jenson Button reckons he could have won the Belgian Grand Prix without that first corner damage. has the details.

    Jenson Button believes he could have challenged for victory had he not been caught up in the first-corner carnage at Spa-Francorchamps.

    The McLaren driver made it through to third place despite having only qualified 13th.

    But Button was convinced he had the pace to battle Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber, regardless of his starting position, had he not needed to make an early pitstop to attend to damage from the multi-car contact at La Source.

    “I think if I had stayed in 13th after the start it would have been a lot easier to challenge these guys [the Red Bulls],” said Button.

    “Turn 1 was mayhem caused by the guys up front. [Paul] di Resta hit my rear wing, damaged my rear wing, half the endplate was gone and driving to Eau Rouge someone’s rear wing came off and went through my front wing and took the mirror off.

    “It was a bit scary. The guys said keep going until lap five, we did – then put options on and did rest of race with them.

    “It was a enjoyable race. You’re always going to say what could have been, but it’s a good finish to get on the podium after Seb drove into me last year!”

    Button believes the McLaren was even more competitive at Spa than it had been when winning at the Nurburgring and Hungaroring.

    “All weekend the car felt great,” said Button. “For me the balance has been phenomenal, it felt like we had made a step forward from Hungary so to come away with third is disappointing but you have to take third into account.

    “Who knows what would have happened if we had qualified third – hopefully in two weeks we can turn it all around.”

  4. Lewis Hamilton believes he lost the opportunity for a podium finish when he crashed out of the Belgian Grand Prix on lap 12.

    The McLaren driver came into contact with Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi into the braking zone for Les Combes, having just passed the Japanese up the hill for fourth position.

    The collision made Hamilton’s car snap left and hit the barrier hard before careering up the run-off area.

    “I’m not really quite sure [what happened] to be honest.” Hamilton told the BBC. “I just remember hitting in the wall – I hit the wall pretty hard.

    “A bit unfortunate for the team – we were in a good position and as far as I was concerned I was ahead of whoever it was I was racing and then I just got hit by them and that was my race over. That’s motor racing. There has been a lot of races where we haven’t finished this year, so that’s just another one of them.”

    Hamilton added that he thought it would have been difficult to contend for the win and said that he was struggling to follow the two Red Bulls and Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari ahead of him.

    “I think we were struggling,” he said. “For whatever reason we were massively slow on the straight, massively, massively slow and I guess that’s really what got us in the position really.

    “Everyone was just pulling away from me on the straights and I was only able to keep up on the infield. I think we probably had a little bit too much downforce on. Nonetheless we were in a good position still – we were still able to challenge and I got past one of the Ferraris. We maybe have been able to have at least got a podium.”


  5. Toro Rosso’s Jaime Alguersuari has blame Bruno Senna for an ambition first-corner move that led to the Spaniard to retire on the opening lap of the race. has the details.

    Jaime Alguersuari blamed Bruno Senna for costing him a points finish at the Belgian Grand Prix.

    The Renault driver braked too late for La Source on the opening lap, careering into the side of Alguersuari and pushing him into Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari in an incident that broke the front-left suspension of the Toro Rosso.

    Afterwards the Spaniard, who had started from a career-best sixth position, said he felt that a points finish would have been easily achievable.

    “I don’t want to speak badly about any other driver as it’s not my style, but I think the situation was quite clear to everyone,” Alguersuari said.

    “Going into the hairpin after the start, I was in the middle with [Bruno] Senna on my inside and Fernando [Alonso] on my outside and Senna completely missed his braking point and hit me which pushed me into the path of the Ferrari.”

    Alguersuari believes that the progress made by Toro Rosso in recent races has made points finishes a reasonable target to aim for over the next few grands prix.

    “There are many positive things we can take out of this weekend, as we clearly had a car capable of scoring many points today, which is a tribute to all the hard work of the team,” he added.

    “I feel sorry for the guys, because starting sixth on the grid is not an everyday occurrence for us. Now I am looking forward to the next race in Monza, as I see no reason why we cannot be competitive there and score more points.”

    Alguersuari’s team-mate Sebastien Buemi was another driver left frustrated by the actions of others and slammed Sergio Perez for running into the back of him during the first half of the race and breaking his rear wing.

    “[Sergio] Perez tried to pass me and simply drove into the back of me, which completed destroyed my rear wing and I had no option but to bring the car back to the pits to retire,” the Swiss driver said.

    “I really can’t understand what he was doing, as I was clearly ahead of him: it was as though he forgot to brake.”

  6. McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh believes that Jenson Button would have been in contention for victory in the Belgian Grand Prix, had he not been forced to start from 13th on the grid after a problematic qualifying session.

    The 2009 world champion stormed from the back of the field having had to pit on the opening lap to change his front wing, and eventually finished third after hunting down Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari late on.

    But Whitmarsh reckons that Button could have achieved even more if he had not been bumped out of Q3 on Saturday at Spa, following a communication error between the Briton and his team as to how much time he had left to post a lap.

    “Jenson’s was the drive of the day,” Whitmarsh told the BBC. “Poor qualifying, if we could have got him up the front of the grid where he could and should have been he would have been a contender today.

    “A fantastic drive, losing a front wing and then dropping back to 19th, coming back through at the end and hunting down drivers like Fernando.

    “And he was doing it in the dry, and people who say he can’t do it in the dry, he did it today. Always a tinge of disappointment of what might have been, but we should really enjoy that drive.”

    Whitmarsh admitted that Red Bull’s one-two finish had emboldened its positions in both the drivers’ and constructors’ championships, but added that McLaren would not give up until the titles were completely out of reach.

    “There is plenty of racing left in this season, and congratulations to Red Bull, they did a good job here and got a one-two that makes the championship all that much tougher – but mathematically it’s still possible and we have got to fight on. At least with Jenson we were able to demonstrate our pace, Lewis [Hamilton] was incredibly unlucky today but we are going to keep on pushing, as we always do.

    “We struggled to get the tyres in there initially, but the track came to us today and we were very strong. Jenson on his second two sets of tyres was very quick and he was reeling in everyone.”


  7. Bruno Senna admitted that it was his lack of experience starting a race on full fuel that contributed to him causing a first corner melee in the Belgian Grand Prix.

    The Brazilian driver, who stole headlines after qualifying at Spa on Saturday when he placed his Renault seventh on the grid, hit Jaime Alguersuari’s Toro Rosso under braking for La Source and caused several drivers behind to take avoiding action.

    Senna was then forced to return to the pits for a new front wing before returning to the race to finish 13th, the last man on the lead lap.

    “I didn’t do the first corner with high fuel, ever, and unfortunately I misjudged the braking area,” Senna told the BBC. “There was no way for me to avoid Jaime [Alguersuari] and I am really sorry about his race. Fortunately for me there was no damage to the suspension and I could continue racing.

    “I got a lot of laps under the belt though and fortunately I have got another race in Monza to look forward to.

    “I think it was just misjudgement and a lack of experience of not doing it for 11 races. I should have maybe been a bit more careful but it’s racing. I’m here to race and race for position so let’s see what happens in the next race.”

    Senna drew positives from his debut race with the Renault team however and said he expected more from himself at the next grand prix in Italy.

    “I think the pace was actually pretty good and I have some great experience with both types of tyre so now I know what to do with the team,” he said. “I am looking forward to driving in Monza and hopefully in better conditions than this.”


  8. By finishing in P14 and P15 – Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen respectively – Team Lotus technical boss Mike Gascoyne was left feeling delighted with the end result despite that first-corner clash in the opening lap. has the story.

    Team Lotus technical boss Mike Gascoyne felt his squad’s 14th and 15th places at Spa – achieved despite a first-corner accident that damaged both cars – marked one of the outfit’s strongest performances since joining Formula 1.

    Jarno Trulli had to struggle with floor damage and Heikki Kovalainen required a new front wing after they were pushed into each other at Spa as the aftermath of a clash between Timo Glock and Paul di Resta unfolded.

    But they recovered very strongly to finish ahead of the other ‘new’ teams and Rubens Barrichello’s Williams.

    “That is a very good result for the whole team today and goes down as one of our strongest performances since we came into the sport,” said Gascoyne. “We had a poor start where both cars were last after making contact in the first corner but we recovered very well, and to have finished in 14th and 15th after that is very pleasing.

    “Both drivers were excellent today, but the pit crew deserve special praise for having taken a massive step forward in their performance. All our stops were exactly what we needed so congratulations to them for a job very well done today.”

    Trulli said it had been one of his most fulfilling races of the season, as he had a chance to battle with Bruno Senna’s Renault during the course of the grand prix.

    “I had a great start, passing a few other cars away from the line but then the accident in T1 [La Source] meant both Heikki and I suffered damage – him to his nosecone, me to the floor and I had to run the whole race with that damage, so to finish 14th after that is just fantastic,” he enthused.

    “Apart from the start I enjoyed the whole race – I passed a number of cars and when the safety car came out I was able to close the gap to the cars ahead. That gave me the chance to fight with the Renault and I passed him and was then able to keep pace with the other guys ahead.

    “Racing like this, with no problems and with a car I can fight with all afternoon is very satisfying, so now I can’t wait to get back in when we get to Italy and keep up the momentum we’ve built up here.”

  9. Nico Rosberg said that while he was pleased to have the experience of leading the Belgian Grand Prix for Mercedes, his struggle to hang on to first place underlined that the team still has to find more pace to fight for victories.

    The German made a rapid start to move from fifth to second by the exit of the first corner, then passed Sebastian Vettel on the Kemmel Straight to take the lead.

    He managed to fend off the Ferraris, Sebastian Vettel’s Red Bull and Lewis Hamilton’s McLaren for a while, but ultimately faded to sixth by the flag.

    “I had a great start today and it was a special feeling to be leading the race in a Silver Arrow at this amazing circuit,” Rosberg said. “It was great to see the traffic jam behind me with the Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari cars, but it was hard to realise that we just don’t have the pace to stay at the top.

    “However we have made progress this weekend and today was a good result for the team.”

    Rosberg was passed by his Mercedes team-mate Michael Schumacher in the closing stint, having had to back off to save fuel after his earlier efforts.

    “I had to push quite hard at the start and in the middle which cost me a little towards the end, which combined with Michael being on the faster soft tyres, meant that I wasn’t able to keep him behind me,” Rosberg explained. “Now I’m looking forward to Monza and I’m confident that we can improve further.”


  10. Once again Pastor Maldonado criticised Lewis Hamilton, this time on his race performance. has the details.

    Pastor Maldonado has criticised Lewis Hamilton’s driving after the McLaren driver crashed out of the Belgian Grand Prix while fighting for fourth position with Kamui Kobayashi’s Sauber.

    Hamilton had executed a pass on the Japanese when the pair made contact under braking for Les Combes at the top of the hill, as Hamilton moved back across to the left to take the racing line. This led to a large accident for the 2008 world champion.

    Maldonado, who was punished by the stewards after crashing into Hamilton on the slow down lap during qualifying at Spa on Saturday, told the BBC that he believed the incident had similarities to his own experiences with the Briton.

    Hamilton had robustly passed Maldonado at the end of Q2 in the dash to post a lap and it was moments later that the pair made contact in what appeared initially to be retaliatory action by the Venezualen on the run down to Eau Rouge. The stewards deemed it necessary to give Maldonado a five place grid penalty over the incident.

    “I think maybe we both made a mistake yesterday, and I am a bit disappointed that only I got a penalty and not him,” said Maldonado. “But anyway that’s racing, we need to look forward. That’s past. The only bad thing is that he did the same today, so I think he needs to be more focussed on his race and not to do that movement.”

    Asked if he meant that the two incidents had similarities he replied: “A bit similar yes.

    “For sure I think we should have slowed down after Turn 1,” Maldonado added. “But in the end I think we lost our concentration you know and we were fighting. It was a bad thing. That’s racing, that’s Formula 1, we need to look forward.

    “I think Lewis is a really talented driver, a really good friend, so we need to be more focussed and respect each other more.”

    Maldonado became only the second Venezuelan to score a point in Formula 1, buy finishing tenth in the race

    “For sure it was a bit more difficult [starting from 21st place], and especially at the first corner it was so close to breaking my front wing, so I think I did a consistent and intelligent race,” he said. “Even the strategy, the Williams guys did a very good job. It’s the first time I’ve felt the car be really consistent during the race, so I am really happy for that. I think we are improving, we are getting stronger. I am happy for my country.”

  11. Paul di Resta believes he would have been able to score points in the Belgian Grand Prix even with a damaged Force India, had he not been caught out by the safety car.

    The Scot’s car was hit by Timo Glock in an incident that caused damage to several other cars further down the order, and led to Glock being given a drivethrough penalty.

    Di Resta reckons the after-effects of the clash hampered the rest of his afternoon, but that he could still have beaten eventual 10th-place finisher Pastor Maldonado.

    “I got off the line very well and everything seemed to be going quite smoothly,” said di Resta. “But there was an incident ahead of me and I thought I had managed to get through the corner when I got hit hard by Timo. That put a big whole in the floor, damaged my front wing and gave me a lot of understeer.

    “Other than that the pace of the car was quite strong, but I was a bit unlucky with the safety car because the priority had to go to the leading car [in the team] and I dropped behind the Williams. Without that I could have probably been ahead of Maldonado.”

    Di Resta’s team-mate Adrian Sutil came through from 15th on the grid to seventh.

    “It was an exciting race with lots of action, but we had a good strategy and made the right calls at the right time,” said the German.

    “When the safety car came out I pitted straight away, which helped me because I made up a couple of places. I came out in sixth and after that I only lost one position to [Michael] Schumacher, who was on the soft tyre and faster than me.

    “Overall I think that this result is a fair reflection of the pace we have had this weekend and it’s nice to have recovered from the problems we had yesterday to leave here with these important points.”


  12. Sauber’s Sergio Perez has blame Sebastien Buemi for their collision during the Belgian Grand Prix. has the details

    Sergio Perez said his collision with Sebastien Buemi in the Belgian Grand Prix was caused by the Toro Rosso changing its line in front of him.

    The contact between the two cars led to Buemi retiring with rear-end damage, and Perez receiving a drive-through penalty.

    Buemi was adamant that Perez was at fault for the collision.

    “Perez tried to pass me and simply drove into the back of me, which completed destroyed my rear wing and I had no option but to bring the car back to the pits to retire,” said Buemi. “I really can’t understand what he was doing, as I was clearly ahead of him: it was as though he forgot to brake.”

    But Perez reckoned Buemi had put him in an impossible position.

    “On lap five I was in seventh when Sebastien Buemi changed his line in front of me under braking, I tried to avoid hitting him but couldn’t as I had lost downforce,” said the Mexican.

    With Perez’s team-mate Kamui Kobayashi finishing only 12th after a collision with Lewis Hamilton and some pit strategy issues, team boss Peter Sauber was frustrated with how the weekend had ended.

    “For us it was a race of missed opportunities,” he said. “After a good qualifying I was very much looking forward to the race, but, except for the weather, everything was against us.”

  13. Kamui Kobayashi insists that Lewis Hamilton caused the collision between the pair that put the McLaren driver out of the race.

    Hamilton passed Kobayashi for fourth place, but on the approach to the Les Combes left-hander the Sauber appeared to have stronger top speed and came back at him. The Japanese was on the outside line when Hamilton moved over to take the ideal line into the corner, hitting the front-right of the Sauber and pitching himself into the barrier.

    “I knew that I could not fight because he was much quicker than me,” said Kobayashi. “He overtook me and was using the DRS rear wing, which I didn’t. I was just using KERS, but we were running very low downforce and that’s why I caught him up again.

    “At the end of the straight, I was on the left and he was in the middle of the track. He came back and we had contact.”

    Kobayashi admitted that he was surprised to see Hamilton make that move and that the only way to avoid him would have been to drive off the track himself.

    “Yes,” he said when asked by AUTOSPORT if he was surprised. “If you look at the replay, I was always following the white line. I didn’t change my line at all.

    “I don’t know what I needed to do. Maybe I needed to go into the gravel for him? He just had to stay in the middle of the track and not come back.”

    Although the stewards did briefly look at the incident, it was decided that there would be no action taken against either driver.

    Kobayashi believes that it was the correct decision because he was able to continue without any damage.

    “Let’s say it was a racing incident,” he said.

    Hamilton agreed with Kobayashi’s assessment after reviewing the incident.

    “After watching the replay, I realise it was my fault today 100 per cent,” said Hamilton via his Twitter feed. “I didn’t give Kobayashi enough room though, I thought I was past.”


  14. Mercedes GP’s Michael Schumacher has said that tyre choice was the critical to his fightback from last on the grid to fifth at the flag. has the story.

    Michael Schumacher said his decision to begin the race on hard tyres was a contributing factor to his fight back through the field from the back of the grid to an eventual fifth position in the Belgian Grand Prix.

    The Mercedes driver came out top of a close duel with his team-mate Nico Rosberg late in the race at Spa, taking advantage of soft new tyres as opposed to his rival’s harder rubber.

    “It was a nice battle,” said Schumacher, who had been forced to start at the back after he crashed in Q1 on Saturday. “Obviously I was on the softer tyres compared to him being on the harder tyres. That gave me the edge and the possibliy to overtake because on equal tyres that wouldn’t have been possible.

    “But we took the risk to take the hard tyres in the beginning and that paid off.”

    Schumacher was able to navigate his way through the carnage of the opening lap to be running 15th by the end of it – which also assisted his climb through the field on what he admitted was a special day for him in his 20th anniversary grand prix.

    “It was an exciting race with lots of bits and pieces flying right after the start. So I was lucky I wasn’t in the middle of that one and I was able to avoid this and from there on we had a great strategy.

    “The boys did a fantastic job and so well I am happy about the result.

    “Certainly I am feeling happy because it is a special weekend for me. It didn’t start too well yesterday with the qualifying but luckily it finished great in the race. I had a good feeling already this morning, I have to say, with my wife being here and supporting me. She had said to me already that it was going to be a good race, and, well it turned out to be.”

  15. Pirelli has accused Red Bull of putting it in an ‘unfair’ position over the Belgian Grand Prix tyre situation, because of the way the team’s set-up choices were the cause of the controversial blistering to the option tyres it begun the race with.

    The build-up to the Spa race was engulfed in intrigue as Red Bull pushed to be allowed to replace the rubber it had run in qualifying, after witnessing blistering on the outside shoulder of its front tyres.

    Its calls received no support from the FIA, and rival teams did not back the move – suggesting the damage to the tyres was not accidental and had been caused by set-up choices that Red Bull had made itself.

    That left the team with the option of taking a risk and pushing on with its current configuration, or making set-up modifications to its cars in parc ferme, which could have included changing tyres.

    Either move to alter the car would have forced the team’s cars to start from the pitlane.

    Although Red Bull overcame the difficulties to deliver a one-two finish at Spa, Pirelli is unhappy about the difficult situation it found itself in – claiming the main contributing factor to the blistering was the fact that the reigning champion team was running camber outside of a recommended four-degree limit laid down by the Italian company.

    Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery believes the situation could have been avoided if its camber recommendations had been heeded – and feels that risks in the race could have been reduced if Red Bull had elected to make the camber changes and switch tyres before the start, even if it had cost the team its places on the grid.

    “We don’t appreciate being put in that position,” said Hembery after the race. “It is a slightly unfair position to be put in. Of course it could have been avoided.

    “Teams have the ability to start from the pitlane with a different set-up and a new set of tyres. That was an option that they [Red Bull] decided not to follow – but that is obviously the perogative of the people making the decisions. The problem we have, of course, is that our name is on the side of the tyres and we have to live with that.”

    When asked by AUTOSPORT about how the tyre situation had developed from Saturday, Hembery said: “Post-qualifying we were approached by one team that had some ideas and concerns. We then analysed the situation with all the cars that we were running.

    “Overnight we had some tyres sent over to give ourselves the option of changing front tyres if we felt there was an underlying issue with all the teams. But following investigations on Sunday morning that was found to not be the case, and we spoke to all of the teams that were in Q3, and the majority consensus was that the rules should be adhered to. That was also the rule point of the FIA.”

    Another contributing factor was that rain throughout practice didn’t allow for either Pirelli or Red Bull to measure the implications of the set-up choices made.

    “We were in a little bit of a rock and a hard place, because if we had run with some dry conditions on Friday and Saturday, ordinarily it is a situation that would have been minimised. So we were left in a situation where one team in particular was stretching the limits of our recommendations and we felt that that, in a race situation, would create difficulties and blistering.”

    He added: “In the end, what do you do? Do you make a change and end up creating a precedent? Do you make a change that would be seen to assisting one team and, particularly with the result we had at the end – I think today you would not be asking me about this, you would be asking me why we helped Red Bull win the race?”

    Hembery also said that he believed the issue to be one of performance, rather than safety: “We were confident that if you came to me and asked if it was a safety issue I would have said no, absolutely not. Is it a performance issue? Ultimately yes.”

    When asked if Red Bull was the only team going beyond the camber recommendation, Hembery said: “There was quite a good correlation between camber and the level of blistering with the teams.”

    Red Bull technical chief Adrian Newey admitted that his outfit had been worried about the tyre situation in the build-up to the race.

    Speaking to the BBC about how he felt, he commented: “I have to say, it is one of the scariest races I have been involved in ever. It is heart-in-the-mouth stuff, because first and foremost our duty of care is to the drivers’ safety, and you are trying to make that call or making sure the car is safe while not excessively handicapping ourselves from a performance point of view.

    “I found it quite a difficult judgement to make, and at the end of the race I was very relieved that both our drivers were safe.”

    “Around 5pm yesterday evening Pirelli came to us and said that having looked at our tyres from qualifying they were concerned about the safety of the tyres and that they could be suffering structural damage in the junction between the sidewall and the tread, and felt that failure of the tyre could be imminent on both cars,” he added. “It was very concerning… We then entered into a lot of debate with Pirelli about what we should do. They recommended that higher front pressures would make the tyre safer, as would reduced camber – but without permission from the FIA, reducing the front camber would be in breach of parc ferme regulations, so we would have to start from the pitlane.”


  16. Italian tyre manufacturer Pirelli will be more cautious with camber guidelines following safety fears from Red Bull Racing. has the story.

    Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery insists his company will be more cautious with its recommended camber guidelines for future races following the Belgian Grand Prix tyre controversy.

    The Italian firm’s rubber was at the centre of discussions during the build-up to Sunday’s race over concerns about the Red Bulls blistering tyres in qualifying.

    Pirelli and the FIA stood firm following requests from the world championship-leading team to allow it to change its tyres before the start of the race.

    Red Bull went on to take a one-two with Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber in the race at Spa, but its chief technical officer Adrian Newey described the race as one of the scariest he has ever been involved in.

    “Well we will be more conservative [with our recommendations], particularly for somewhere like Monza,” he said. “You would have to look back at it and say we were confident with the structure of the tyre, to be honest. We knew that the structure of the tyre was extremely strong, and that was proven to be. There weren’t any issues at all.

    “Graining and blistering are aspects of compound performance in motor racing. It is not exactly a new phenomenon, but there are limits. And ordinarily in free practice, when you see something like this, teams would change their geometry and you would not go into a race in that situation, so it was a combination of circumstance in reality.”

    Hembery admitted some surprise that teams struggling with blistering opted to continue running the soft tyre, rather than go for the more durable – albeit less competitive – medium compound tyre.

    “If you look at the medium tyre, you don’t get any blistering, it has higher heat resistance,” he said. “What we had hoped here, if somebody was in difficulty, that they would have run the race on the prime tyre that would have run without any issues whatsoever. However, everybody went for performance and that was disappointing.”

    He added: “I guess what you ultimately hope would happen was that people would see such a phenomenon, you would switch to a product that is not demonstrating such a thing. That is something we need to think about. Performance counts a lot in F1 and it appears people are willing to compromise in order to get that performance.”

  17. Fernando Alonso believes that the four laps spent behind the safety car during the Belgian Grand Prix turned the race in favour of Sebastian Vettel.

    The Red Bull driver had already made two pitstops by the time the safety car was deployed following the accident between Lewis Hamilton and Kamui Kobayashi, whereas the then leader Alonso had made only one stop and was forced to give away some of his advantage by running at slow speeds.

    Ferrari driver Alonso still thinks, however, that his team’s decision not to call him in for a stop at the time was the right one – even if he did fall to fourth place by the finish.

    “The safety car came when we had done four laps on the tyres,” said Alonso. “The tyres were in very good shape, so we decided to stay out. I think the choice was good for us. It opened up the possibility to win the race for us.

    “Unfortunately Vettel only lost one place [at his stop] with Webber and beat – by very little – Rosberg. And then in the restart he overtook Webber in Turn 1 so [there was] not much traffic for Vettel. So I think the decision was good, but the factors around the safety car were very good for Sebastian.”

    Alonso said that he was lucky to be in the race at all by the time the safety car came out on lap 13, following a heavy Bruno Senna-induced hit from Jaime Alguersuari at the first corner.

    Senna hit Alguersuari at La Source, pushing the Toro Rosso into Alonso’s rear wheel. While Alguersuari’s front suspension was broken in the impact, Alonso’s Ferrari was unharmed and allowed him to finish the race.

    “I braked on the outside and I felt someone hit me on the rear tyre,” he added. “I thought I damaged the car at that point, but I kept going with no problems.

    “It kept handling well and the pits told me there was no problem to keep going. So that was a lucky situation for me to keep running with no problems.

    “It was a strange qualifying with strange conditions with people just on wet set-ups. And there were people who are not used to being in Q3 and the start was a difficult moment for us. So it’s very important to always qualifying in the top three or four to avoid this.”


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