Vettel breezes to Belgian GP victory

Vettel breezes to Belgian GP victory

Formula 1

Vettel breezes to Belgian GP victory


Sebastian Vettel took a routine victory for Red Bull in a totally dry Belgian Grand Prix.

Fernando Alonso was able to tiger through from ninth on the grid to second ahead of polesitter Lewis Hamilton, but fellow title contender Kimi Raikkonen’s long finishing streak ended with a brake problem.

It took less than half a lap for Vettel to claim control of the race. Hamilton’s Mercedes had stayed ahead through an uneventful start, but Vettel attacked immediately and overtook on the run to Les Combes.

That was the last Vettel’s rivals saw of him, as the world champion alternated between cruising to protect his machinery and chucking in crushing fastest laps to prove how much he had in hand.

Alonso’s confidence in Ferrari’s race pace proved well-founded as a muscular first lap took him straight up to fifth place. Jenson Button’s McLaren and Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes were overtaken soon afterward.

A later first pit stop brought Alonso right up behind Hamilton, who he then passed as the Mercedes slipped a touch wide at La Source. Hamilton retaliated with DRS on the Kemmel Straight, yet Alonso was able to fend him off despite a vicious twitch under braking.

Button looked like he might have a say in the podium fight as he ran long and hinted at a one-stop strategy. In the end he had to follow the two-stop trend, dropping him behind Hamilton, Rosberg and the slow-starting Mark Webber.

The Australian’s Red Bull showed great late pace having used hard tyres in the middle stint and softs at the end, the opposite strategy to most rivals, but ran out of steam when he came up behind the Mercedes.

Raikkonen looked set to finish adrift of this group even before a front brake issue forced him to retire his Lotus.

Felipe Massa resisted Romain Grosjean, the only successful one-stopper in the points, for seventh place.

Grosjean had an early brush with Sergio Perez in which the stewards judged that the Lotus had been forced off the road at Les Combes. That earned Perez a drive-through penalty, and that plus late tyre wear on a one-stop left him 11th at the flag.

Qualifying sensation Paul di Resta faded from the start and was in a four-car battle outside the points when he was taken out at the Bus Stop by Pastor Maldonado. Force India still scored thanks to Adrian Sutil’s ninth place.

Daniel Ricciardo overcame Toro Rosso’s qualifying miscue to come from 17th to 10th.

PROVISIONAL RACE RESULTSThe Belgian Grand PrixSpa-Francorchamps, Belgium;44 laps; 308.052km;Weather: Dry.Classified:Pos  Driver        Team                        1.  Vettel         Red Bull-Renault            2.  Alonso         Ferrari                             3.  Hamilton       Mercedes                            4.  Rosberg        Mercedes                            5.  Webber         Red Bull-Renault                    6.  Button         McLaren-Mercedes                    7.  Massa          Ferrari                             8.  Grosjean       Lotus-Renault                       9.  Sutil          Force India-Mercedes               10.  Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari                 11.  Perez          McLaren-Mercedes                   12.  Vergne         Toro Rosso-Ferrari                 13.  Hulkenberg     Sauber-Ferrari                     14.  Gutierrez      Sauber-Ferrari                     15.  Bottas         Williams-Renault                   16.  van der Garde  Caterham-Renault                   17.  Maldonado      Williams-Renault                   18.  Bianchi        Marussia-Cosworth                  19.  Chilton        Marussia-Cosworth                  Fastest lap: Not classified/retirements:               Driver        Team                         Di Resta      Force India-Mercedes               Raikkonen     Lotus-Renault                      Pic           Caterham-Renault  World Championship standings, round 11:                Drivers:                    Constructors:              1.  Vettel        197        1.  Red Bull-Renault          312 2.  Alonso        151        2.  Mercedes                  235 3.  Hamilton      139        3.  Ferrari                   218 4.  Raikkonen     134        4.  Lotus-Renault             187 5.  Webber        115        5.  McLaren-Mercedes           65 6.  Rosberg        96        6.  Force India-Mercedes       61 7.  Massa          67        7.  Toro Rosso-Ferrari         25 8.  Grosjean       53        8.  Sauber-Ferrari              7 9.  Button         47        9.  Williams-Renault            110.  Di Resta       36       11.  Sutil          25       12.  Perez          18       13.  Vergne         13       14.  Ricciardo      12       15.  Hulkenberg      7       16.  Maldonado       1              All timing unofficial