Sebastian Vettel has taken an easy victory at Spa-Francorchamps, comprehensively defeating Fernando Alonso in the Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix.
Vettel swept to the lead on the opening lap by getting a superior run on Lewis Hamilton on the exit of Eau Rouge. He was in the slipstream and drew alongside the pole-sitting Brit to take the lead at the third turn.
From there, the German World Champion controlled the pace from the front and has almost surely secured favouritism for this year’s World Championship.
“It was a fantastic race for us, good tactics from the team, we had incredible pace and were able to control the speed from the front,” said the Infiniti Red Bull-Renault pilot.
Alonso’s put in a typically impressive drive, making up a number of places from his ninth starting position. Early in the event, it appeared as though he may have had the pace to wear down Vettel, however in the mid-section of the race, the Ferrari couldn’t match the Red Bull.
Hamilton was third in the end for Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team, Nico Rosberg’s fourth placing netting some valuable Constructor’s Championship points for the silver squad.
In fifth place was Mark Webber. After being forced to get out of the throttle into Eau Rouge after the start as Alonso drew alongside, Webber boxed on for the race to record another top five position.
Sixth in one of his best finishes of the season was Vodafone McLaren Mercedes’ Jenson Button. He was followed by Felipe Massa in seventh.
The big loser from the weekend was Kimi Raikkonen. The Finn was out of sorts from the opening exchanges when he was pushed wide in a dramatic almost four wide moment after turn one.
He was battling his way deep in the top 10 before suffering a brake problem heading into the final corner when charging at Felipe Massa’s Ferrari. Once getting himself back on track, he diverted straight to the pitlane. Raikkonen was immediately transplanted to the Lotus F1 Team pitbox with a front right brake issue.
It was the first retirement from Kimi in 38 races and the first race since Bahrain 2012 (27 in total) that he has not finished inside the points, ending an incredible record.
Pastor Maldonado wiped himself from another Christmas card list after an amazing turn of events with Sauber’s Esteban Gutierrez and the Force India duo. Fighting with Gutierrez, Maldonado collected Adrian Sutil first before colliding with and subsequently destroying the hapless Paul Di Resta’s car at the Bus Stop chicane.
Sutil proceeded to remonstrate with Gutierrez down the front stretch and into Eau Rouge with one hand out of the cockpit. Sutil continued on to finish in the points, crossing the line ninth.
Earlier, Sergio Perez received a penalty after pushing Romain Grosjean wide and across one of the off-track “speed humps”. Grosjean recovered to finish in eighth placing.
Australia’s Daniel Ricciardo recovered brilliantly after yesterday’s qualifying disappointment to make the points yet again, crossing the line in 10th behind Sutil.
The victory takes Vettel’s lead in the World Championship to the largest he’s ever enjoyed – some 46 points over Alonso.
Hamilton has elevated himself to third in the standings five points above Raikkonen with Webber fifth, 19 points behind the Lotus driver.
Infiniti Red Bull Racing now holds a 77 point advantage in the Constructor’s Championship over Mercedes-AMG with Ferrari a further 17 points back.
The next round of the Formula 1 World Championship will be conducted at Monza in Italy across the weekend of September 6-8.
RESULTS – Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix:
|1||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||44||Winner||2||25|
|2||3||Fernando Alonso||Ferrari||44||+16.8 secs||9||18|
|3||10||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||44||+27.7 secs||1||15|
|4||9||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes||44||+29.8 secs||4||12|
|5||2||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing-Renault||44||+33.8 secs||3||10|
|6||5||Jenson Button||McLaren-Mercedes||44||+40.7 secs||6||8|
|7||4||Felipe Massa||Ferrari||44||+53.9 secs||10||6|
|8||8||Romain Grosjean||Lotus-Renault||44||+55.8 secs||7||4|
|9||15||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||44||+69.5 secs||12||2|
|10||19||Daniel Ricciardo||STR-Ferrari||44||+73.4 secs||19||1|
|11||6||Sergio Perez||McLaren-Mercedes||44||+81.9 secs||13|
|12||18||Jean-Eric Vergne||STR-Ferrari||44||+86.7 secs||18|
|13||11||Nico Hulkenberg||Sauber-Ferrari||44||+88.2 secs||11|
|14||12||Esteban Gutierrez||Sauber-Ferrari||44||+ secs||21|
|15||17||Valtteri Bottas||Williams-Renault||44||+ secs||20|
|16||21||Giedo van der Garde||Caterham-Renault||43||+1 Lap||14|
|17||16||Pastor Maldonado||Williams-Renault||43||+1 Lap||17|
|18||22||Jules Bianchi||Marussia-Cosworth||43||+1 Lap||15|
|19||23||Max Chilton||Marussia-Cosworth||42||+2 Laps||16|
|Ret||14||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||26||+18 Laps||5|
|Ret||7||Kimi Räikkönen||Lotus-Renault||25||+19 Laps||8|
|Ret||20||Charles Pic||Caterham-Renault||8||+36 Laps||22|
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS:
1 Sebastian Vettel 197
2 Fernando Alonso 151
3 Lewis Hamilton 139
4 Kimi Räikkönen 134
5 Mark Webber 115
6 Nico Rosberg 96
7 Felipe Massa 67
8 Romain Grosjean 53
9 Jenson Button 47
10 Paul di Resta 36
11 Adrian Sutil 25
12 Sergio Perez 18
13 Jean-Eric Vergne 13
14 Daniel Ricciardo 12
15 Nico Hulkenberg 7
16 Pastor Maldonado 1