Belgian Grand Prix – Race

Another exciting qualifying session which started with a damp track but the rain set in fairly quickly, resulting in some of the lesser-powered cars further up the grid than expected, e.g. Marussia’s Bianchi in P16.

Provisional grid: ROS, HAM, VET, ALO, RIC, BOT, MAG, RAI, MAS, BUT, KVY, VER, PER, SUT, GRO, BIA, MAL, HUL, CHI, GUT, LOT*, ERI.
(*Andre Lotterer has replaced Kamui Kobayashi in the Caterham.)

The question I posed after quali was: Forecast is for a dry race, so how many compromised their qualifying performance in order to set up the car for tomorrow? Well, we’ll find out soon.

My GridBids picks are: VET, ROS, HAM & BUT.

Tyre choices: prime = medium (white lettering) and options = soft (yellow)
Because qualifying was wet, all drivers have a free choice of which tyres to start on
On the false grid, it looks like only SUT is starting on primes

ALO still on jacks as the lights change for the formation lap
ROS leads everyone away but the Ferrari mechanics are still working on ALO’s car
ALO sets off just before the tail enders pass him, so I think he’ll be allowed to take his grid position but will almost certainly get a penalty
Incident involving car 14 (ALO) under investigation – team personnel on the grid at the 15 seconds signal
BBC report that a battery pack was rushed from the garage to the grid, so maybe there was a problem with ALO’s electronics
Radio from MAG – light rain
ROS slows to bunch everyone up but ALO hangs back to bunch the rest of the grid behind him
HAM looks to be a bit forward of where he should be in his starting position – he’ll probably be penalised too
Hold on – HAM just reversed into the right position!

01/44: Great start by HAM – into P1
VET takes P2 through the first turn
Contact at the back of the pack
VET attacks out of Eau Rouge but cuts the corner – drops to P3
BIA has lost his rear right tyre, so he’s got to do a whole lap on the rim

02: HAM, ROS, VET, ALO, RIC, BOT, RAI, MAG, MAS, BUT
ROS attacking HAM – contact!
Looks like ROS has damaged his front wing
HAM has a puncture
Well done ROS – you’ve ruined the race for both Mercedes drivers
Rule 1: you don’t take out your teammate!

03: ALO has been given a 5 second stop-go penalty, which he can serve at his scheduled pit stop
HAM pits – looks like the car’s floor is damaged too
Radio from ROS – losing front downforce
Looks like there’s debris on the track

04: RIC uses DRS to take P3 from ALO
Radio from HAM – “floor’s damaged, right?”; “we’ll take a look”
Didn’t see what happened but MAL and newbie LET are out

05/44: ROS, VET, RIC, ALO, BOT, RAI, MAG, BUT, MAS, PER; retirements: LOT, MAL
HAM reporting problems with the handling

06: Radio for HAM – “recovery strategy – need 15 laps on these tyres”; HAM: rears won’t last that long
VET runs a little wide and RIC steals P2 from his teammate

07: RIC closing on ROS
BOT on ALO’s tail

08: Fairly easy DRS pass for BOT to take P4 from ALO

09: ROS pits – that’s an early stop – new nose
PER pits too

10: RIC, VET, BOT, ALO, MAG, BUT, KVY, HUL, VER, SUT
MAS pits
On-board with ROS shows debris has wrapped around one of aerials and it’s flapping around by his hands and steering wheel

11: VET pits from P2; bit of a power slide as he rejoins the track
KVY and HUL pit too

12: Finally, official confirmation from race control: 5 second stop/go penalty for car 14 (ALO) – team personnel on the grid at the 15 seconds signal
RIC pits, as does MAG
Radio from HAM asking about his pace; only BOT is quicker

13: ALO and BOT pit; ALO serves his 5sec penalty
Close battle between MAG and VER

14: BUT pits from P1; only VER yet to stop
Radio for ROS – on opposite tyre to everyone ahead so push hard

15/44: RIC, RAI, VET, ROS, BOT, MAG, ALO, VER, PER, BUT; retirements: LOT, MAL
(HAM down in P16)

16: ROS looking for a way round VET

17: ROS locks up; BOT takes P4
Radio for VET telling him to “respect track limits” in Turn 15

18: BOT catching VET
HAM pits – 2nd stop – rejoins P19

19: Radio from ROS asking about vibration on his front tyre

20/44: ROS pits – another set of primes
Radio from HAM – think about saving the engine, i.e. retire

23: VET pits
ROS past BUT but a couple of corners later ROS seems to slow and let BUT reclaim P5

24: ROS easily past BUT again
RAI slips inside BUT into the chicane

25/44: RIC, BOT, ALO, ROS, RAI, BUT, VET, HUL, MAG, PER

26: ALO pits
VET around the outside of BUT for P5

27: MAG inside HUL to take P7

29: BOT pits
Radio from RIC asking about ROS’ tyres

30/44: RIC, ROS, RAI, VET, BOT, BUT, MAG, ALO, HUL, PER; (HAM=P16) retirements: LOT, MAL
BOT tucked up behind VET

32: RIC only 2.9sec ahead of ROS
BUT closes on PER; uses DRS to take P8
HAM pits; slow engaging gear as he pulls away

33: Radio for VET – will tyres last to the end? VET: hard to say, they don’t feel good now

34: Radio for GRO – box, need to retire
GRO pits; turns into garage

35/44: ROS pits from P2; rejoins P3
VET pits
BOT attacks as ROS exits pits; takes P3
ROS fighting back as his tyres come up to speed

36: ROS reclaims P3

37: ROS much faster than RIC, and Red Bull have left it too late to pit RIC now
ALO closing on MAG
MAG defending
ALO frustrated; gesticulating
Radio from HAM asking team to tell him to retire and save the engine

38: Radio for ROS telling him he’s on plan to catch RIC at the end
ROS pushing hard but made a tiny mistake

39: RAI defending from BOT
Radio for HAM – looks like a problem; cool the car and box

40/44: RIC, ROS, RAI, BOT, MAG, ALO, BUT, VET, PER, KVY
HAM pits; pushed into garage
BOT attacking RAI again; takes P3

41: RIC 10.8sec ahead of ROS, but ROS ~2.5sec/lap faster

42 = 3 laps left: BIA pits, retires
MAG heads BUT, ALO & VET as they lap ERI
MAG, BUT and ALO 3-abreast!
MAG defends; BUT has to back out; ALO passes BUT
VET past BUT too

43: RIC, ROS, BOT, RAI, MAG, ALO, VET, BUT, PER, KVY
ALO attacks MAG; MAG defends, ALO runs wide, VET past ALO

44 = final lap: VET attacks, tries to push MAG
VET takes P5
BUT attacking ALO; ALO cuts the corner
ALO slowing – something’s broken on his Ferrari
Replay shows ALO broke his front wing on the rear of VET as they came through Turn 1

Provisional result: RIC, ROS, BOT, RAI, VET, MAG, BUT, ALO, PER, KVY; HUL, VER, MAS, SUT, GUT, CHI, ERI, BIA
DNF: HAM, GRO, LOT, MAL

Crowd booing as ROS is introduced! And again as he’s presented with the second place trophy.

7 thoughts on “Belgian Grand Prix – Race

  1. “McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen has been penalised for forcing Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso off the track during the Belgian Grand Prix.

    The decision, following a stewards’ inquiry into the incident late in the race, demotes the Dane to 12th place from sixth and Alonso up to seventh.

    The stewards decided Magnussen had breached a rule that forbids crowding a car beyond the edge of the track.”
    [source: BBC]

  2. Of course there’s lots to be said about the ROS/HAM incident:

    Head of Mercedes, Toto Wolff says it was “absolutely unacceptable.”

    Mercedes non-executive chairman Niki Lauda said: “Very simple it is unacceptable that in the second lap Nico hit Lewis, completely unacceptable. There is going to be a meeting at 16.45 but it is unacceptable. If these things happen at the end of the race, when they are fighting for the win then you discuss it but in the second lap to hand the victory to Red Bull. I thought they were clever enough to know that but obviously they aren’t.”

    I tend to agree with Eddie Jordan: “I think the management of the Mercedes team has been weak,” he said. “They should have taken control.”

    http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/formula1/28921431
    http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/formula1/28922696

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