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Vettel dominates Belgian GP to claim 5th win of 2013

Aug 25, 2013, 9:33 AM EDT

Sebastian Vettel AP

Sebastian Vettel has won the Belgian Grand Prix in emphatic style after jumping pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton at the start of the race and rarely being challenged from there on in.

The German driver’s pace was on another level to that of the Mercedes, and it was actually Fernando Alonso who – despite starting P9 – posed the greatest challenge to the defending world champion. However, the pace of the Ferrari F138 meant that the Spanish driver was never really in contention for the victory, although it was a sparkling performance from the two-time world champion to finish second.

Off the grid, Hamilton made a clean getaway whilst Mark Webber endured another disastrous start to fall down to sixth from third. His teammate, Vettel, managed to hold onto second place through La Source before passing Hamilton at the end of the Kemmel straight and proceeded to open up the gap. In the other Mercedes, Nico Rosberg, was a steady third ahead of Jenson Button for McLaren and a fast-starting Fernando Alonso who had started down in ninth. Alonso soon made use of his DRS and KERS to pass Button into Les Combes, moving up to P4, before making the same move on Rosberg just two laps later. The hero of qualifying, Giedo van der Garde, managed to stay in position to begin with but, along with the Marussias, soon dropped towards the back of the pack. Five-time winner in Belgium Kimi Raikkonen was made to work by Nico Hulkenberg for P8, but the Finn eventually passed the Sauber despite suffering from high brake wear. The team subsequently elected to pit the German driver early, aiming for a two-stop strategy.

Hulkenberg’s example was soon followed as Lewis Hamilton became the first of the front runners to bail and take on fresh tires. At McLaren, Sergio Perez was forced into pitting after making an aggressive move on Grosjean and receiving a drive-through penalty. Alonso had been cutting the gap to Hamilton, and he quickly set about catching the Briton after his first stop by quickly disposing of Grosjean. The Ferrari soon made it past at La Source, and Alonso pulled off a brilliant defensive move to hold onto the position despite Hamilton using DRS. After his stop, the Vettel’s lead had been cut but he still looked comfortable out in front, and he soon re-opened the gap to over seven seconds.

As Vettel streamed away at the front, there was some great racing in the midfield as Adrian Sutil made a brave pass on Esteban Gutierrez on the run up to Eau Rouge, while Grosjean managed to go far enough into the race that he could consider stopping just once. Suffering from brake problems, Raikkonen attempted a pass on Massa into the Bus Stop chicane and went straight on, giving Lotus no option but to retire the car thus ending his remarkable run of twenty-seven consecutive point scoring finishes.

Among the leaders, Hamilton was once again the first to stop and he was followed by Alonso two laps later. Vettel managed to go deeper into the race and emerged from his final stop still leading from the Ferrari. In the midfield, Pastor Maldonado and Paul di Resta made contact at the chicane, sending the Force India into the wall and out of the race. ¬†However, with no safety car required, Alonso’s only hope was outpacing Vettel on track. However, The German driver was given the hurry-up by his engineer in case rain hit in the closing stages of the race, whilst Button was enjoying a good race in P6 as he went deep into the race on the prime tire. Just ahead of him, Webber and Rosberg were duelling for fourth place, but the Australian driver was forced to bide his time during his final appearance as an F1 driver at Spa-Francorchamps.

Gutierrez and Maldonado both received drive-through penalties late on for their misdemeanours, whilst last year’s Spa bad boy Romain Grosjean made his one-stop strategy work well, but he could not hold off a late-charging Felipe Massa in the battle for seventh. Just to underline his supremacy at Spa, Vettel posted the fastest lap of the race late on only to be told to ease off by his engineer, Rocky. Eventually though, nothing could stop the German driver as he romped home ahead of Alonso by 16.8 seconds.

Mercedes will be pleased to have finished high in the order with Hamilton third and Rosberg fourth, with the German driver holding off a stiff challenge from Webber late on. Jenson Button also put in an impressive performance to finish sixth ahead of Felipe Massa and Romain Grosjean, whilst Adrian Sutil was the sole surviving Force India in ninth. Daniel Ricciardo recovered from a disastrous qualifying to finish 10th for Toro Rosso.

The result sees Vettel claim his fifth win of the season and extend his championship lead to 46 points. With eight races to go, the championship is far from over, but Red Bull appear to be going from strength-to-strength.

  1. semilost - Aug 25, 2013 at 9:41 AM

    NBCSN’s “coverage” was horrible. I started timing the ads and they were 5 mins. apart! Maybe they shouldnt have bid so much if they have to run ads like that!

    • Stephanie Stevens - Aug 25, 2013 at 6:36 PM

      Skip the commercials, watch it on SKY, you have a pewter just plug it into your boob tube, problem solved but it does freeze from time to time but 30 seconds reloading isn’t that much of a cross to bear once or twice in a long broadcast .

  2. Stephanie Stevens - Aug 25, 2013 at 10:05 AM

    Just like the weather people the rah, rahing biased homeboy press were slightly mistaken again . Pole to fade before the fourth corner but it could have been worse I guess, at least he got another 3rd place trophy for his case .

  3. Stephanie Stevens - Aug 25, 2013 at 10:25 AM

    After 4 weeks of homeboy hype the matter is put to rest, no DNF this week, no massive improvement from mercedes, a 48 point gap becomes a 58 point gap, that is more than 2 whole wins with two DNF’s to boot Seb would have to get but the hopeful wishful thinking hype will surely be again in full bloom .See a pole grabbed in the last seconds doesn’t always convert into a win and only the excuses remain . Hungary isn’t Spa .

  4. Stephanie Stevens - Aug 25, 2013 at 10:47 AM

    Just more proof of my statements from the past, poles don’t equal wins but somehow saying that gets me in trouble with some it seems

  5. Stephanie Stevens - Aug 25, 2013 at 11:26 AM

    Last year, in a different car driving for a different team it was the high downforce package that was claimed to have kept him from the pole leading up to the tweet heard round the world, this year it is the low downforce package that is a root cause of the results not being entirely satisfactory but the bright side is he moved up into 3rd place displacing Kimi whose streak ended today .

  6. Stephanie Stevens - Aug 25, 2013 at 11:52 AM

    Reblogged this on lotus_49 and commented:
    Great race for some, not so good for others .

  7. purplesectornet - Aug 25, 2013 at 2:44 PM

    Why are you posting to yourself? *rolls eyes*

    • Stephanie Stevens - Aug 25, 2013 at 6:00 PM

      Individual postings, not my fault if others choose not to participate . And if you mean the reblog thing I have absolutely no idea how this whole site functions and when I originally registered here back in March I was unable to secure the tag lotus_49 either through my own mistake or otherwise and I’m now attempting to correct that and choose to post under my name and not a handle that was suitable for hacking so roll your eyes to your hearts content as I don’t even know what a blog is at this point in time, let alone a reblog and haven’t used this site much either but at least they have articles to comment on unlike FS1’s new format .

  8. purplesectornet - Aug 26, 2013 at 9:40 AM

    The way a discussion works…(can’t believe I have to do this)…you posit an idea…someone responds….you respond to them…its a give and take….etc.

    • Stephanie Stevens - Aug 31, 2013 at 8:32 PM

      Really ? What if I don’t care to respond ? What if from my end I only choose to put out a comment of what I am thinking at the moment ? What if I don’t care as there doesn’t seem to be an overwhelming amount of interest here anyway ?
      What if nobody ever responds, does that mean I can’t post another comment ?

      Or maybe, possibly just maybe possibly you are a buttinski who wants the various individuals using the web to conform to some sort of standards that you define and somehow feel the need to attempt to have others conform to your standards ?

      Let me put it into rather simple, easy to understand terms . I will post what I choose, when I choose, how many times that I choose without seeking your prior approval and if that somehow offends you I would strongly suggest that you don’t read my comments just as I have no interest in reading yours . Seems to me anyway that I was commenting on the article not trying to educate you as you felt the need to do with me .

  9. purplesectornet - Sep 3, 2013 at 8:32 AM

    Take your medication.

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