Hamilton took a commanding victory in Belgium today, well deserved in very tricky conditions, finishing ahead of Webber and Kubica which means he now leads the drivers world championship, just 3 points ahead of Webber.
The first opening laps
The race started under dry conditions, Webber didn’t get away well, immediately giving up the lead to Hamilton into the first corner and Kubica slipped through too. Before the end of the first lap, a few drops of rain fell which caused chaos near the bus-stop corner with cars running wide all over the place and Rubens Barrichello lost his braking point completely and ploughed into the side of Fernando Alonso – hardly a way to compete in your 300th grand prix, a massive shame for the Brazilian.
With Rubens’ car stuck out on the track, the safety car came out with Hamilton, Button, Kubica, Vettel and Webber out in front. On the restart, Vettel jumped Kubica and the super quick Force India of Sutil was all over Massa.
My lap 6, Alonso was down in 20th but amazingly still continuing on regardless of Barrichello’s kamikaze style punt-age. Schumacher was up to 12th after keeping his nose clean since his start in 21st.
Schumacher seemed to catch Rosberg, but couldn’t progress any further… until Petrov caught and drove past Rosberg who lifted so much that his teammate barged past too, damaging Rosberg’s front wing in the process, classy stuff.
The middle stint
Hamilton continued to lead, with Button in second and Vettel in third – by lap 14 many of the teams were looking to change tyres, but no one wanted to make any moves with the threat of a classic Spa rain shower looming and sure enough by lap 17, the rain came and Vettel made a massive error, under braking which ended with him taking out Jenson Button. The young German, who has already been criticised for his overtaking skills (or lack of) this season was then handed a drive-thru penalty for causing an avoidable accident.
As if that wasn’t enough, Vettel who continued on after having a new nose and serving his penalty was then tussling with Liuzzi for 11th which resulted in a rear puncture and yet another pit stop.
The pit stops for the leaders all went smoothly and the order remained as Hamilton, Kubica, Webber and Massa.
The final 10 laps
The Belgian GP is always an epic race and today was no different, with 10 laps remaining and a fresh threat of rain on the horizon, it could have been anyone on the podium.
By lap 35, visibility was limited and Hamilton took a trip off into the gravel, but kept it going and kept the lead. With the leaders struggling in the rapidly deteriorating conditions, the latter half of the pack took the chance to pit and the Mercedes drivers were banking on a huge downpour by switching to full wet tyres while most of the field took a cautious approach with intermediate tyres.
Hamilton, Kubica and Webber all dived in on lap 36, but Kubica dropped to 3rd after over-shooting his pit box and gifting 2nd to Webber.
With just six laps remaining, the safety car came out again after Alonso made a silly mistake and dropped his Ferrari into the barriers.
With just four laps left we were treated to a rolling start with Webber looking to make a run at Hamilton for another win on his 2010 victories tally, alas the front runners remained in position until the chequered flag, all except for Rosberg who used his marigolds to full effect to drive around his team mate for 6th.
What did you all think of the Belgian GP – live up to your expectations?