The race also saw Fernando Alonso return to form, a great finish for Giedo van der Garde and rookie mistakes from Sergio Perez and Pastor Maldonado. Let’s review the good and bad of the Belgian Grand Prix.
Vettel wins by a country mile
From the moment the current world champion breezed past Lewis Hamilton a few corners in he dominated the race taking his 31st win and extending his championship lead.
The German controlled the entire race and crossed the finish line with a 17 second lead of Fernando Alonso who finished in second place.
Vettel is a huge fan of statistics and was informed by former F1 racing driver David Coulthard on the podium that his speed and pace mean he has now led over 2,000 laps during his F1 career.
Speaking after the race Vettel said their dominance had come as a pleasant surprise “I don’t think we expected to be dominant here, and it surprised all of us actually; it’s a great result,”.
Second place finish for Alonso
The first half of the summer break was dominated by Alonso’s negative comments about the car and Ferrari president Luca Di Montezemolo’s reaction to the Spaniards comments.
Starting in ninth place seemed to have very little impact on Alonso’s race as he was up to second place by lap 13, and held onto that position until the end of the 44 lap race.
“We know we have made a step forward and that we have recovered some of the competitiveness we had lost in recent races.” Alonso said.
He went on to say that the updates the Italian based team have taken to Spa had worked well and left the team feeling optimistic about the next few races.
Giedo van der Garde finishes ahead of Maldonado
A good call on tyre strategy during qualifying allowed Giedo van der Garde to start the race in 14th place.
As expected he was unable to keep two Toro Rosso and Williams drivers behind him at the start but thanks to good tyre management and the cars pace, the Dutchman was able to finish 16th, ahead of Pastor Maldonado.
“Overall this has been a really good weekend. It would have been interesting to see what would have happened if it had rained today, but for what was effectively my first home F1 race I think we got the maximum for the car.” van der Garde said.
Button has a ‘decent race’
The British driver declared the Belgian Grand Prix a ‘decent race’, after finishing in sixth place and felt the team had made a ‘small but definite improvement’.
Button’s sixth place finish picked up eight points for the team, meaning the team have finally passed Force India and are now fifth in the constructors standings.
“I’m pretty happy with the feel of the car now, in fact; okay, there’s still room for improvement in terms of pace, but the good thing is that we know which areas we should be focusing on.” Button said.
Kimi Retires for first time in 39 races
A few laps in brake dust was seen coming from the Finns brakes, which were seen glowing red under braking.
On lap 26 Raikkonen was forced to retire after trying to pass Felipe Massa and suffering a brake failure. “We’ve finished a lot of races and had some good reliability; one day your luck has to run out” Raikkonen said.
It was reported after the race that during the first pit stop the team had discovered and removed a visor tear off from the Finns brake cooling ducts, which they suspect may have caused the problem.
This marked his first retirement in 39 races and ended his 28 consecutive points streak, and impressively it was only his second non-points finish for Lotus.
A tangle ends di Resta’s race
On lap 28 a battle between Pastor Maldonado and Esteban Gutierrez overflowed as Maldonado ran wide and came together with Adrian Sutil. Maldonado then tried to enter the pits hitting the Scot in the process.
Speaking after the race di Resta was disappointed, especially as he and the team missed out on vital points. “It’s a real shame because the speed was quite strong today and I think there was definitely a point or two up for grabs.” di Resta said
Maldonado defended himself saying “I didn’t see Di Resta on the outside as I turned toward the pitlane.”.
Rookie mistake from Perez
The young Mexican picked up a drive through penalty during the first part of the race after squeezing Romain Grosjean off the circuit at Les Combes, which meant Grosjean ran off the circuit missing the corner.
After receiving a drive through Perez said “it was always going to be tricky to score any points.”.
The Mexican went on to say that the team will move on and begin looking ahead to Monza where they hope to make up for points lost in Spa.
Poor start hampers Webber’s race
After starting in third place, Webber had dropped down to sixth place by the second lap following a poor start.
The Australian then spent most of the race looking at the back of Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes, “He was strong in sector one and we didn’t have the top speed to clear him” Webber said.
Red Bull altered their strategy to try and help Webber pass Rosberg by opting to use the prime tyres on the second stint. “In the end track position was our Achilles heel. Pace wasn’t really a problem… we didn’t get to show the pace.” said Webber.