Sebastian Vettel showed that even four-times World Champions can behave like spoilt kids when they get it wrong.
After a poor decision Sebastian Vettel wanted to deflect his stupidity onto someone else – anyone else. The Ferrari driver’s blown tyre just a lap from the finish all but extinguished any faint hope he might have for the driver’s title in 2015. He qualified down the grid, and had he taken his second stop would have been battling in the Kvyat/Massa/Perez pack at the end of the race.
He chose to try and make them last. But rather than conserve his tyres and take the easy 4th place, he gambled and raced Romain Grosjean flat out till the end. And the gamble didn’t pay off in spectacular fashion.
His reaction to the incident was that it was Pirelli’s fault, just as it was Mark Webber’s fault when they crashed – thanks to him – in Turkey.
Eddie Jordan provided the quote of the weekend whilst talking about the Lotus team’s ongoing legal and financial problems. The Enstone team has faced various court actions to seize their possessions. EJ used to take these things calmly in his stride: “Suzy, believe me, when I was running Jordan I was on first name terms with every bailiff in Northamptonshire”
Nico Rosberg was a lucky boy to have messed up his start at a circuit so accommodating as Spa. Had he dropped to fifth at the Hungaroring, or Monza, or Singapore he would have had a long afternoon’s work pegging back to his natural P2 place. That was never going to be in doubt when the Mercedes cars could lap 1.5 seconds quicker than anyone else, but it’s something to watch in future GPs.
Lewis Hamilton was also particularly interested to see how Rosberg could close up so much under the VSC regulations. When the VSC was switched on after Dan Ricciardo’s failure the gap was 3.4 seconds. Next lap round it was 3.1. It may be a slim margin of error, but it’s just as slim as putting a wheel over a white line at a pitlane exit… And come to think of it, didn’t Nico score a better-than-expected result in Japan when he was driving for Williams by exceeding his delta time?
The DRS has ruined the Belgian Grand Prix for many. The reason why is simple. In the past some of the most spectacular overtaking moves were made into La Source hairpin and the Bus Stop Chicane. These are now things of the past. There is no point in making hard work for yourself when all you have to do is wait for the tow up the hill to Les Combes and get past that way.
Which is why Max Verstappen’s Lap 11 overtaking move on Marcus Ericsson around the outside at Blanchimont was so utterly spectacular. For many Blanchimont is the new Eau Rouge – especially when there’s any degree of moisture on the track. Even without that doubt, it was the most heart-stopping of moments. “I stopped breathing then,” admitted David Coulthard
Romain Grosjean’s return to the podium was the joyous moment of the race, and he was in tears on the final lap after he swept past the flailing Vettel Ferrari. If only Pastor Maldonado’s machine could have hung in there.
This was the first time in 15 years that we’ve had a Belgian GP weekend uninterrupted by rain. We had the rare sight of Belgian GP spectators with their shirts off and their thermals packed away…which is why we prefer it a lot more when it rains. Over the course of the weekend a lot of fair-skinned Northern Europeans became Ferrari fans.
Yet again the McLarens failed to turn up for the race. Before the Belgian GP they said they were confident they could match the power output of the Ferrari engine, but they were a second behind the Sauber-Ferraris and a lot more behind the Maranello machines. To add some flavour to the season, they have decided to give each engine unit a name. OffonF1.com has helpfully suggested they use the lead character in ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid’.
Charlie Whiting really needs to start exerting some control on track limits. At Spa cars were making overtaking manouevres into Les Combes and then running off the circuit on the outside to make the pass stick. This is surely gaining an advantage by going off track, and a penalty… Because they couldn’t stop the car in time on the given surface. Apart from that, cars were cutting right across the kerb at Eau Rouge, running wide at every corner from les Combes to Blanchiment and nobody was saying a thing. As we’ve argued for before, F1 needs a ‘Hawkeye’ system that keeps cars on the island – three transgressions and it’s a drive-through penalty. That would certainly spice up the action when drivers are under pressure towards the end of a race.