Vettel victorious at Spa

Vettel Belgian GP 2013 winner

Championship leader Sebastian Vettel scored his 31st career victory with a dominant drive at Spa-Francorchamps.

This was Vettel and Red Bull Racing’s fifth win of the season and after taking the lead from pole sitter Lewis Hamilton on the opening lap, the triple champion just drove off into the distance to take the flag first.

Fernando Alonso finished in an excellent second. The Ferrari driver carved his way through from ninth on the grid to the runner-up spot and crucially, ahead of pole sitter Lewis Hamilton.

As for Kimi Raikkonen, his record-breaking run of 27 consecutive points finishing ended with a brake problem.

It took less than half a lap for Sebastian Vettel to claim control of the Belgian Grand Prix.

Hamilton’s Mercedes had stayed ahead through an uneventful start, but Vettel attacked immediately and overtook on the run to Les Combes.

That was the last time his rivals saw the leading Red Bull, as the world champion alternated between cruising to protect his car and going flat out by scoring fastest laps to prove how much he had in hand.

Alonso’s confidence in Ferrari’s race pace proved well-founded as an aggressive first lap took him straight up to fifth place.

Jenson Button’s McLaren and Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes were overtaken soon afterwards.

A later first pitstop brought Alonso right up behind Hamilton, who he then passed as the Mercedes slipped a touch wide at La Source.

Hamilton retaliated with DRS on the Kemmel Straight, yet Alonso was able to fend him off despite a vicious twitch under braking.

Button looked like he might have a say in the podium fight as he ran long and hinted at a one-stop strategy.

In the end he had to follow the two-stop trend, dropping him behind Hamilton, Rosberg and the slow-starting Mark Webber.

The Australian’s Red Bull showed great late pace having used hard tyres in the middle stint and softs at the end, the opposite strategy to most rivals, but ran out of speed when he came up behind the Mercedes.

Raikkonen looked set to finish adrift of this group even before a front brake issue forced him to retire his Lotus.

Felipe Massa resisted Romain Grosjean, the only successful one-stopper in the points, for seventh position.

Grosjean had an early brush with Sergio Perez in which the race stewards judged that the Lotus had been forced off the road at Les Combes.

That earned Perez a drive-through penalty, and with that late tyre wear on a one-stop, left the McLaren driver in P11 at the flag.

Qualifying sensation Paul di Resta faded from the start and was in a four-car battle outside the points when he was taken out at the Bus Stop by Pastor Maldonado.

Force India still scored some championship points thanks to Adrian Sutil’s ninth place.

Daniel Ricciardo overcame Toro Rosso’s qualifying miscue to come from P17 to tenth.

So not the most exciting Belgian Grand Prix, with Vettel taking the lead and disappearing into the distance. Formula 1 now heads to Monza, the final European race of the season. Can Ferrari strike back at their home track?

Belgian Grand Prix, after 44 laps:

1.  Vettel         Red Bull-Renault  1:23:42.196
2.  Alonso         Ferrari     +16.869
3.  Hamilton       Mercedes     +27.734
4.  Rosberg        Mercedes       +29.872
5.  Webber         Red Bull-Renault   +33.845
6.  Button         McLaren-Mercedes    +40.794
7.  Massa          Ferrari           +53.922
8.  Grosjean       Lotus-Renault        +55.846
9.  Sutil          Force India-Mercedes    +1:09.547
10.  Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari     +1:13.470
11.  Perez          McLaren-Mercedes       +1:21.936
12.  Vergne         Toro Rosso-Ferrari     +1:26.740
13.  Hulkenberg     Sauber-Ferrari         +1:28.258
14.  Gutierrez      Sauber-Ferrari         +1:40.436
15.  Bottas         Williams-Renault       +1:47.456
16.  van der Garde  Caterham-Renault       +1 lap
17.  Maldonado      Williams-Renault       +1 lap
18.  Bianchi        Marussia-Cosworth       +1 lap
19.  Chilton        Marussia-Cosworth      +1 lap

Fastest lap: Vettel 1m50.756s, set on lap 40.

Not classified/retirements:

Di Resta      Force India-Mercedes   26 laps
Raikkonen     Lotus-Renault                 25 laps
Pic           Caterham-Renault  8 laps

World Championship standings, round 11:

1.  Vettel        197
2.  Alonso        151
3.  Hamilton      139
4.  Raikkonen     134
5.  Webber        115
6.  Rosberg        96
7.  Massa          67
8.  Grosjean       53
9.  Button         47
10.  Di Resta       36
11.  Sutil          25
12.  Perez          18
13.  Vergne         13
14.  Ricciardo      12
15.  Hulkenberg      7
16.  Maldonado       1

1.  Red Bull-Renault          312
2.  Mercedes                  235
3.  Ferrari                   218
4.  Lotus-Renault             187
5.  McLaren-Mercedes           65
6.  Force India-Mercedes       61
7.  Toro Rosso-Ferrari         25
8.  Sauber-Ferrari              7
9.  Williams-Renault            1

Next race: Italian Grand Prix, Monza. September 6-8.

Hamilton takes Spa pole in dramatic qualifying session

Spa 2013 qualifying

Lewis Hamilton achieved his fourth successive pole position in a dramatic qualifying session at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit.

A rain shower at the beginning of Q3 gave the perfect opportunity for Paul di Resta, which resulted in provisional pole for Force India.

But as the circuit dried up, the Mercedes and Red Bulls blasted through to demote him down to fifth place.

Di Resta was the only driver to start Q3 on intermediates, and while the other nine slip and slide helplessly, before pitting again to abandon their slicks, the Force India flew to the top of the time sheets.

It seemed that no one would have a chance, although Nico Rosberg hinted at a challenge when he got within half a second of the Force India in much worse weather.

While di Resta pitted with pole apparently in the pocket, the rain eased completely, and those able to squeeze in a lap in the final moments of Q3 were back in pole contention.

It was Rosberg who first deposed the Force India, but he was quickly beaten by Mark Webber, then Hamilton.

Defending world champion Sebastian Vettel came through 0.2 seconds slower than Hamilton to claim P2, followed by his Red Bull team-mate Webber, Rosberg and di Resta.

As for Jenson Button, last year’s race winner put in an encouraging sixth for McLaren.

Lotus and Ferrari had to settle for rows four and five, with title contenders Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso back in eighth and ninth positions.

The biggest upset of the wet-but-drying first part of qualifying was Marussia duo Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton plus Caterham’s Giedo van der Garde all making it through to Q2.

The trio were the only drivers to try slicks at the end of Q1 and all jumped up the order, all the way to third in Van der Garde’s case!

As they progressed, the Williams, Toro Rosso and Sauber’s Esteban Gutierrez were knocked out due a more conservative tactics as they failed to reach Q2.

With Q2 dry, Van der Garde, Bianchi and Chilton lined up in P14 to P16 respectively.

That still means Caterham will share row seven with a McLaren, as Sergio Perez was the highest-profile driver to fall in Q2.

He starts behind the all-German row six pairing of Nico Hulkenberg and Adrian Sutil.

So an exciting qualifying session at Spa-Francorchamps, with Hamilton scoring his 31st career pole position in Formula 1. Can the Mercedes driver win? It’s going to be a fascinating race.

Qualifying positions, Spa-Francorchamps:

1.  Lewis Hamilton      Mercedes               2m01.012s
2.  Sebastian Vettel    Red Bull-Renault       2m01.200s
3.  Mark Webber         Red Bull-Renault       2m01.325s
4.  Nico Rosberg        Mercedes               2m02.251s
5.  Paul di Resta       Force India-Mercedes   2m02.332s
6.  Jenson Button       McLaren-Mercedes       2m03.075s
7.  Romain Grosjean     Lotus-Renault          2m03.081s
8.  Kimi Raikkonen      Lotus-Renault          2m03.390s
9.  Fernando Alonso     Ferrari                2m03.482s
10.  Felipe Massa        Ferrari                2m04.059s
11.  Nico Hulkenberg     Sauber-Ferrari         1m49.088s
12.  Adrian Sutil        Force India-Mercedes     1m49.103s
13.  Sergio Perez        McLaren-Mercedes         1m49.304s
14.  Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault         1m52.036s
15.  Jules Bianchi       Marussia-Cosworth        1m52.563s
16.  Max Chilton         Marussia-Cosworth        1m52.762s
17.  Pastor Maldonado    Williams-Renault       2m03.072s
18.  Jean-Eric Vergne       Toro Rosso-Ferrari       2m03.300s
19.  Daniel Ricciardo    Toro Rosso-Ferrari        2m03.317s
20.  Valtteri Bottas        Williams-Renault         2m03.432s
21.  Esteban Gutierrez   Sauber-Ferrari         2m04.324s
22.  Charles Pic         Caterham-Renault    2m07.384s

107 per cent time: 2m08.603s

Full details on Codemasters’ latest F1 racer

F1 2013 Classic Mansell

After revealing a teaser trailer last month featuring classic Formula 1 racing cars, Codemasters have confirmed details of the classic cars, drivers and tracks that will feature in F1 2013.

A total of eleven cars from past seasons will make an appearance along with 15 different drivers. Each driver is associated with at least one car and team.

Two editions of F1 2013 will become available on October 4th, with the 1980s car pack plus the Jerez and Brands Hatch circuit will be included in the standard version of the game.

The 1990s cars, Imola and Estoril track will only be available as part of the so-called F1 2013: Classic Edition. This will be a limited release of 10,000 copies in the UK.

Check out the official statement from Codemasters plus the new trailer to the racing game.

Codemasters® today revealed the full list of classic content set to feature in F1™ 2013 and the premium limited edition, F1 2013: CLASSIC EDITION. F1 2013 is the latest entry in the award-winning series of officially licensed FORMULA 1™ video games and will launch on October 4th in the UK for the Xbox 360 games and entertainment system from Microsoft, PLAYSTATION®3 computer entertainment system and Windows PC.

A stunning new gameplay video featuring the contemporary and classic content set to feature in F1 2013 is now showing at the newly launched website, where fans can get all the latest news, media and pre-order the game. Featuring today’s superstars and legends of yesteryear racing at iconic venues including Monaco, Brands Hatch and Estoril, the video shows how dramatically the cars have advanced down the years whilst the spirit of intense competition in the sport remains the same.

F1 2013 will be available in two editions. F1 2013 includes the full game of the current season and classic content from the 1980s, which is playable in the new game mode F1 Classics. Alternatively, fans can choose to purchase F1 2013: Classic Edition, a premium version of the game limited to a run of just 10,000 units in the UK, featuring bespoke box art and expanding the game with 1990s Content and Classic Track Packs. The classic content available for players is as follows:

1980s Content (F1 2013 & F1 2013: CLASSIC EDITION)

Circuit De Jerez – former host of the Spanish GRAND PRIX™
Brands Hatch – legendary former home of the British GRAND PRIX

1980s Cars & Drivers:

1980 Williams FW07B
Original Driver: Alan Jones
Team Legend: Alain Prost

1986 Team Lotus 98T
Team Legend: Mario Andretti
Team Legend: Emerson Fittipaldi

1988 Ferrari F1-87/88C
Original Driver: Gerhard Berger
Team Legend: Michael Schumacher

1988 Team Lotus 100T
Original Driver: Satoru Nakajima
Team Legend: Mika Hakkinen

1988 Williams FW12
Original Driver: Nigel Mansell
Team Legend: Damon Hill

1990s Content (F1 2013: CLASSIC EDITION only)

1992 Ferrari F92 A
Original Driver: Jean Alesi
Team Legend: TBC

1992 Williams FW14B
Original Driver: Nigel Mansell
Team Legend: David Coulthard

1996 Ferrari F310
Original Driver: Michael Schumacher
Team Legend: Gerhard Berger

1996 Williams FW18
Original Driver: Damon Hill
Team Legend: Jacques Villeneuve

1999 Ferrari F399
Original Driver: Eddie Irvine
Team Legend: Jody Scheckter

1999 Williams FW21
Original Driver: TBC
Team Legend: Alain Prost

Classic Tracks Pack (F1 2013: CLASSIC EDITION only)
Imola– former host of the San Marino GRAND PRIX
Estoril – former home of the Portuguese GRAND PRIX

Players will be able to enjoy the all-new classic content in a new gameplay mode called F1 Classics, introduced by legendary broadcaster Murray Walker. F1 Classics features a new fictional racing series allowing players to race cars, drivers and circuits from different eras. Teams are represented by drivers who raced in team’s specific cars such as Nigel Mansell’s championship winning Williams FW14B from 1992,and drivers who have also represented the team in different eras. Classic content is also available in a range of other game modes, including split-screen and online multiplayer modes.

F1 2013 will also feature all the cars and stars from the 2013 season, allowing gamers to race as Lewis Hamilton in his Mercedes and Sergio Perez in the McLaren-Mercedes for the first time, and includes all of the rule changes, tyre changes and remodelled handling to authentically reflect the challenge and exhilaration of racing 2013’s stunning roster of cars. A range of enhancements, improvements, split-screen and online multiplayer, plus new and returning game modes deliver the most complete simulation of a FORMULA ONE™ season in videogame history, with more detail to be revealed.