Belgian GP 2012

Seven Moments of the Belgian GP

1. Crash, Ban, Wallop

Bumps and scapes are common features during the opening laps of races, to the point where stewards tend not to investigate first laps incidents. However this first lap smash was definitely worthy of the stewards attention, firstly Maldonado was a little too eager to start his race and jumped the gun but before a penalty could be handed out he stopped on the fourth lap due to contact with Glock. Then a simple tyre rub and a misjudgement of placement from Grosjean and all hell broke loose.

Thinking that Hamilton was behind him the Lotus driver moved to the right, his rear right tyre made contact with Hamilton’s front left. As Hamilton swerved left to correct the movement he is lifted up onto the rear wing of Grosjean’s car, meanwhile this added weight to the back of the Lotus picks his front up. So as an unsuspecting Alonso is taking La Source Grojean shoots over the top of his nose, a few feet away from his helmet, Hamilton shunts the rear end of Alonso, collecting Kobyashi in the process. Alonso’s rear end and Hamilton’s front end bumps over the top of Kobayashi and they all find themselves in the first corner run off, a pile of carbon fibre left behind.

Grosjean was undoubtedly at fault, a small misjudgement created a huge accident, thankfully no one was hurt but the French driver will miss out on Monza with a one race ban. Being his seventh accident in twelve races is not a statistic to be proud of, but it does rather beg the question why wasn’t Maldonado handed a similar penalty for purposely driving into Hamilton last year at the same track?

The FIA explained, “The stewards regard this incident as an extremely serious breach of the regulations which had the potential to cause injury to others. It eliminated leading championship contenders from the race.” One could read this as, ‘if Grosjean only hit Kobayashi he could have had a grid penalty at worst’.

2. Hulken-Brilliant

Amid the chaos excellence was found, both Hulkenberg and di Resta were the winners out of the mess, but it was the German who excelled until the end. Not afraid to have a go at Schumacher, and almost pull it off, Hulkenberg showed a great level of confidence which should spur him on to grab more points during the rest of this topsy turvy season.

Elsewhere the Toro Rosso duo showed that they aren’t going down without a fight, a double points score, with Vergne just getting ahead they provided much needed relief after a severe points drought. It seems unlikely that they will overhaul Williams, but with the season’s end edging ever closer this is now a battle to retain their seats.

3. Championship Chance

Alonso’s was enjoying a comfortable cushion of points during the summer break, and before Spa he was the only driver to have scored points in every race this season. He also looked set to break Schumacher’s 2001-03 record of 24 consecutive point scoring races, Alonso was on 23, however the Spaniard was relaxed about the opportunity missed.

What this means now is that his 40 point lead has shrunk to 24, opening up the championship chase . Behind his Vettel has swapped places with team mate Webber, Raikkonen has consolidated a strong fourth place and Button has brought himself right back into it. Game on.

4. H.A.M. fisted approach

After such a great performance in Hungary before the break, McLaren look to have returned to their start of year form, making those near the top of the table nervous. However after a rear wing split decision during qualifying that saw Button stamp his authority on pole position, Hamilton vented his feeling all over Twitter, as we know angry tweeting never ends well, which is exactly what happened. Although is was a hardly a four letter expletive led rant, the inclusion of ‘WTF’ in one seemed to get the BBC in a state.

As expected they disappeared (unasked), but Hamilton then decided to tweet a picture of his qualifying telemetry, set data included which had the rest of the paddock saving that picture in earnest. Martin Whitmarsh had a couple of words with Hamilton about it and the picture mysteriously disappeared.

5. Vettel can’t overtake

We must remember this, this is a unequivocal fact. This fact came about becasue we don’t get to see Vettel overtake that often, mainly due to him spending much of his relatively short career up the front. So remember when you saw him overtake Massa at the Bus Stop on lap eight chicane he can’t do that.

And please don’t forget when he overtook Webber on lap nine around the last chicane, he can’t overtake. Webber didn’t put up too much of a fight, he could have put a bit more pressure on but didn’t (he may have wished he did as he ended up behind a clearly happy Massa). We could go on, we see Vettel overtake regularly but everytime it happens it’s a shock, so I think it’s time we tick that box of Vettel’s skills and move on.

6. Marussia’s at Dawn

A shock inclusion of footage from FOM, instead of being told about it in a press release we got to see a team mate tussle from the back of the grid, we had Webber vs. Vettel earlier on, but seeing a rookie take on a vastly more experienced driver is so much more exciting. Pic had no issue in wanting to relish the challenge, and although he ultimately finished behind, it sets up a promising future for a driver quietly getting on with his job well.

7. Oh and Button won

The most anonymous win the recent history. He drove a truly superb race from pole to flag, but you wouldn’t know from the FOM images, in fact the duelling Marussia boys got more airtime than Jenson Button did. The British driver kept himself out of trouble and provided a faultless race to bring himself right back into contention, he promised not to give up until he was mathematically out of it. He’s certainly not now.

Awesome-O-Meter

Race Stats

Qualifying Button Kobayashi Räikkönen
Pole J Button 1:47.573  (McLaren)
Laps 44
Weather Dry
Safety Car One
Results 1. Button McLaren 1:29:08.530
2. Vettel Red Bull 1:29:22.154
3. Räikkönen Lotus 1:29:33.864
Fastest Lap Senna Williams 1:52.822
Retirements Grosjean Lotus [0] Accident
Hamilton McLaren [0] Accident
Alonso Ferrari [0] Accident
Perez Sauber [0] Accident
Maldonado Williams [4] Accident
Karthikeyan HRT [29] Accident
Penalties Grosjean Causing a collision 1 race ban, fined €50,000
Maldonado Jump start 5 place grid drop next race
Maldonado Causing a collision with Glock 5 place grid drop next race
Kovalainen Unsafe pit release €10,000 fine
Webber Unsafe pit release No further action
Schumacher Incident with Vettel into pitlane No further action
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