Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull shine in Spa
German Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel took the lead from P1 starter and British Mercedes AMG driver Lewis Hamilton on the opening lap of the 2013 Formula 1 Shell Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps on Sunday.
It must be mentioned here, that the easy manner in which his Red Bull impressively swept ahead of the Mercedes on the climb up towards Les Combes setting the pace for a dominant race, was an intro to the bitter fact, that the lead of the reigning world champion will never threatened. It was almost going to be a double overtake of two Red Bulls on two silver arrows, when Australian Red Bull driver Mark Webber almost passed German Mercedes AMG driver Nico Rosberg simultaneously at the same part of the track.
Once German Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel passed the pole setter in an elegant and swift overtaking maneuver, Lewis Hamilton was unable to fend off the fast-starting Spanish Scuderia Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso who catapulted his Ferrari through the field from ninth on the grid to second place after a fantastic start. Unfortunately, the Spanish Scuderia Ferrari driver was 16.8s adrift of Sebastian Vettel’s RB9 after the 44 lap long race.
British Mercedes AMG Lewis Hamilton stayed
British driver Jenson Button had a more competitive run for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes and led very briefly during the pit stops on the 15th lap, but Sebastian Vettel regained the race lead before the lap was over. Thereafter Button lost ground to the really quick runners, but held on to a decent sixth place. Brazilian Scuderia Ferrari driver Felipe Massa finally overcame the swift Lotus of French driver Romain Grosjean on the 40th lap to claim seventh, as a solid performance from Adrian Sutil earned Force India two more points. Toro Rosso’s Daniel Ricciardo was also quick towards the end, passing Nico Hulkenberg’s Sauber and team mate Jean-Eric Vergne to claim the final point.
The other Vodafone McLaren Mercedes of Mexican driver Sergio Perez was 11th after serving a drive-through penalty for squeezing French Lotus driver Romain Grosjean into a momentary off at Les Combes while relieving him of 10th place on the eighth lap. Vergne, who finished behind him, did not get a similar penalty despite appearing to do the same to Nico Hulkenberg as they battled later at Les Combes. Behind them, the Sauber driver's team mate Esteban Gutierrez’s path to 14th saw him get a drive-through penalty for gaining an advantage by leaving the track limits.
Valtteri Bottas was Williams higher placed runner in 15th after Pastor Maldonado was clipped by Adrian Sutil’s Force India exiting the Bus Stop chicane on the 27th lap, then turned into Paul di Resta’s Force India after he appeared to belatedly try to get into the pit lane after he had passed the entrance. The Venezuelan received a 10-second stop-go penalty, which could not be regarded as a satisfying consolation to the angry Scot, whose race was simply ruined.
Giedo van der Garde drove his heart out for Caterham in the closing laps to keep Maldonado at bay for 16th, with the Marussias of Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton taking 18th and 19th.
Besides Di Resta and Charles Pic, whose Caterham faded early, the only other retirement was Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen. The Finn’s amazing run of 27 consecutive points finishes ended with an apparent brake problem after his Lotus was seen emitting black dust from its wheels throughout the race. From the race start, it was apparent that the Lotus was eating the brake pads , which turned the brake discs into a blood red plate seen by all spectators within a very few laps.
As a matter of fact, the reliability and sometimes wrong decisions of the Lotus team concerning qualifying strategy and pit stop timing may hamper the fight of the Finn driver to win the 2013 Formula 1 championship crown. In addition to this, this defect comes at a very critical time, where Kimi Raikkonen is the most thought Formula 1 driver on the 2013 grid to either join the Scuderia Ferrari or join Red Bull.
The above-mentioned incident lost him two places in the title fight for the Formula 1 2013 driver’s crown, as German Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel extended his points to 197 points from Fernando Alonso, who jumps to second with 151, and Lewis Hamilton, who takes third with 139 to Kimi Raikkonen’s 134 and Mark Webber in fifth with 115 points.
In the 2013 Formula 1 constructors’ standings, Red Bull lead with 312 points to Mercedes AMG’ 235, Scuderia Ferrari’s 218, and Lotus’s 187, while Vodafone McLaren Mercedes move back ahead of Force India with 65 to 61.
Spa - Abu Dhabi - Cairo
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