Hamilton wins wet-weather thriller in Spa (Belgian Grand Prix race review)

Lewis Hamilton won his third race of the year in Spa to take back the lead of the drivers’ championship.

He passed Mark Webber at the start and clung on to win as a series of showers hit the track causing an action-packed race.

They were the only two of the top five championship runners to score points as Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button all hit trouble

Barrichello crashes out of 300th race

Having started from pole position Webber was down to sixth by the first corner, as he bogged down badly. Hamilton seized the lead followed by Robert Kubica and Button.

But within a few moments the first of the rain showers had hit the tracks. It wasn’t very heavy, but enough to make the braking zone for the chicane treacherous. Several cars failed to get around it including Hamilton and Button, who was trying to pass Kubica.

Rubens Barrichello also got it wrong and crashed heavily into Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari. The impact was enough to tear a wheel off the Williams, ending Barrichello’s 300th race, but Alonso astonishingly was able to keep going.

That brought the safety car out, but not before Button had taken advantage of a mistake by Kubica at the top of Eau Rouge to claim second. Vettel almost followed him through but had to take to the grass to avoid the Renault.

Vettel hits Button

Hamilton stayed ahead of Button at the restart while Vettel moved ahead of Kubica. The Red Bull driver now set about attacking Button, whose McLaren had a damaged front wing.

Hamilton had stretched his lead to ten seconds by the time the rain returned and Vettel began pursuing Button more aggressively. On lap 16 Vettel tried to pass Button at the chicane, lost control of his car and ploughed into the side of the McLaren.

Steam billowed from the side of the MP4-25, indicating it was terminally damaged. But Vettel was able to continue after a stop in the pits for a new front wing. Meanwhile Kubica moved up to second ahead of Webber.

As another shower passed over the track teams turned their attention to making their mandatory dry-tyre pit stops. Adrian Sutil came in early to ensure he stayed ahead of Alonso.

The Ferrari driver had already been in after his collision to try intermediate tyres before switching back to the hard compound. He picked off the new teams’ cars and then spent several laps trying to get past Liuzzi, who he eventually edged aside at the chicane for 13th place.

After Sutil pitted the others began to react. First Webber, then Felipe Massa and Kubica together on the next lap. Webber fell short of getting ahead of Kubica with his pit stop, trying to slipstream by at Kemmel but unable to get by.

Hamilton finally came in on lap 24 and got away again still in the lead. But it wouldn’t be his last stop.

Scare for Hamilton

The biggest shower of the race arrived with around ten laps to go. As before Hamilton and the rest tried to tough it out on slicks to begin with. Others gambled: Timo Glock switched to full wet tyres right away, but it never got quite wet enough for that.

Hamilton, Kubica, Webber and Massa came by the pits still on their slicks as the rain hammered down, but the cars further behind them had seen enough and all began to peel in, most for intermediates.

Hamilton found out why at Rivage, as he understeered off through the gravel. He gave the barrier the merest of kisses and managed to re-join the circuit. But his lead had now been slashed.

This time the lead quartet all pitted. Kubica failed to stop his R30 on his marks and knocked several of his pit crew over, and the time lost allowed Webber by into second place.

Crash ends Alonso’s race

By now Alonso had made it up to eighth by Kamui Kobayashi. But as he came out of turn seven on lap 37 he ran too high on the kerb and spun into the barrier.

This finally brought the apparently indestructible Ferrari to a halt and the safety car was summoned again. At this point the rain was falling most heavily, potentially robbing the drivers who’d tried full wets of their best chance to make up places.

The race re-started with four laps to go and Hamilton held his lead over Webber and Kubica to the flag – the McLaren driver finally claiming the win that was taken from him two years earlier. Webber was the only other driver in the top five of the championship to score points.

Massa had a quiet run to fourth, with Adrian Sutil less than a second behind him at the flag.

Nico Rosberg took sixth ahead of Michael Schumacher, the pair swapping places twice during the race. Schumacher passed Rosberg – and gave his front wing a knock – after his team mate was taken by Vitaly Petrov. But Rosberg fought back later in the race, edging his team mate aside at Les Combes.

Petrov came home ninth behind Kobayashi – a useful recovery having started 23rd. Jaime Alguersuari claimed the final point for tenth but the stewards are investigating whether he gained an advantage by cutting the chicane late in the race while battling with Liuzzi.

The Force India driver was 11th ahead of Pedro de la Rosa, Sebastien Buemi and Nico H?â??lkenberg who spun late in the race on wet tyres.

Vettel ended the race out of the points in 15th. Liuzzi made contact with his left-rear tyre after Vettel passed him at the chicane, leaving Vettel with a puncture which he had to drag around an entire lap. An extra stop for a second set of full wet tyres meant he made a total of five trips to the pit lane, including his drive-through penalty for hitting Button.

Heikki Kovalainen was first among the new teams, followed by Lucas di Grassi, Timo Glock, Jarno Trulli and Sakon Yamamoto.

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149 comments on Hamilton wins wet-weather thriller in Spa (Belgian Grand Prix race review)

  1. Brundle reckoned Alo was on full wets when he crashed which (if true) means he used every single type of tyre this race. A boring stat.

    • Ads21 (@ads21) said on 29th August 2010, 18:09

      yer but it was the one time in history when Legard corrected Brundle. He was deffinately on inters. Which probably contributed to the crash, if the safety car hadn’t come out we prob would have seen a few more cars fly off on inters.

      • Can be just pretenmd it was full wets so I can have my boring and weird stat? :P

        Yep it probably did contribute. I think to sum up in one word where Alo’s weekend has gone wrong it’s been “tyres” for a big part of it.

      • sato113 (@sato113) said on 29th August 2010, 18:43

        yeah, there was clearly no big green stripe on the tyres, funny that Brundle didn’t see that.

        • Regis said on 29th August 2010, 23:01

          Those commentators are really bad sometimes, whats wrong with them? always getting drivers mixed up, saying theres 19 laps left when there are 22, getting tyres wrong… They need to sharpen up !

  2. Danijel said on 29th August 2010, 18:15

    I just want to say that RACE CONTROL again has been tragicly interfiering in the racing.(punishing Vetel ,investigating Rubens????). They will soon forbide takeovering….TRAGIC.
    Like they have misson to make racing steril and boring…

    • bosyber said on 29th August 2010, 18:32

      How is it interfering when Rubens was already out of the race before he was investigated? I thought it was tragically interfering with the race what Vettel did to Button by being too optimistic about chances of overtaking, but not so strange the Race Control thought that needed investigation.

    • David-A (@david-a) said on 29th August 2010, 18:45

      Vettel was punished because he caused an avoidable accident. Vettel only needed to go vaguely right to reach the pit lane and get a new wing, before heading back out. Not as bad as being wiped out of 2nd through zero fault of your own. Hence, Vettel was given a drive-through, which was enough to scupper his chance of any points, something that already befell Button.

      • DASMAN said on 29th August 2010, 19:19

        Now that its mentioned, what is an avoidable accident? There is no such thing. If its avoidable, there would be no accident, unless its deliberate, which this was not.

        I’m not in favour of the clamour to punish drivers who attempt overtakes and get them wrong, its ruining F1. The same fans who call for penalties then complain when we get processions like bahrain with drivers not willing to risk a move.

        • David-A (@david-a) said on 29th August 2010, 19:52

          Ok, he caused an accident- he was the one and only person to blame in my view. That’s why he got the drive-through penalty.

        • Skett said on 30th August 2010, 10:59

          Well if you’re gonna be pedantic I suppose we’ll change avoidable accident to a stupid accident?

          Vettel was right behind Button on track that he knew was slippery and decided to really flick it out. He was always gonna have problems there!

          • But was it stupid?
            If he had not have lost control of his car, It could very well have been a great pass. But he did lose control, that’s not stupid, that’s racing.

            They are driving F1 cars and fighting for position.. there is always a certain amount of risk and if the drivers shy away from that risk, they will be rubbish drivers.

          • Skett said on 30th August 2010, 17:11

            Sorry mate, you misunderstood me. Though I’ve never driven an F1 car before, I have raced karts and I can say that the way he flicked the wheel was only ever going to result in a slide, especially under braking. I’m not saying he shouldn’t try and overtake. If he had controlled the car I’d still say it was stupid because modern F1 cars aren’t designed for controlled slides! (though admittedly I’d be praising his car control)

    • Lotus 49 said on 29th August 2010, 19:31

      The interfering from the marshalls that irritated me more was throwing the SC out on track because it was raining! These guys are supposed to be the best drivers in the world.

      • David-A (@david-a) said on 29th August 2010, 22:08

        The first safety car was because Barrichello’s car, and all the debris were in a dangerous position. The second was because Alonso’s destroyed car was covering half the track. You simply can’t in this day and age have them racing in such dangerous situations.

  3. Robbie said on 29th August 2010, 18:28

    Who’s aonlink? Cool name though.

  4. sato113 (@sato113) said on 29th August 2010, 18:41

    how come Massa wasn’t investigated for stopping past his box on the grid?

  5. Cornflakes said on 29th August 2010, 18:49

    During the forum they had an onboard of the RB going down the straight. the wings were clearly flexing!

  6. John H said on 29th August 2010, 19:03

    “Vettel almost followed him through but had to take to the grass to avoid the Renault.”

    Thing was, he didn’t need to go on the grass. He actually had loads of room, but didn’t stay calm (as per usual with vettel) and instead chose to raise his hand at Kubica.

    Vettel let himself down last season, but this one is ridiculous.

  7. Chrisayy said on 29th August 2010, 19:09

    Vettel should be punished, A drive through penalty isn’t harsh enough, he needs a grid drop for the next race in my opinion, hes a great driver but he has a massive inability to overtake! Gutted for Jenson. What a race though!

    • George M said on 29th August 2010, 22:50

      I think he needs a severe talking to from the FIA about his consistently dangerous overtaking maneuvers. Plus, he could do with a sport psychiatrist or something of the sort to calm him down.

  8. I really hate this! It´s so unfair! When will they stop mistreading Massa! I mean, he was all fired up and ready to jump out of his car and let Alonso drive it and Ferrari didn´t even think of that! Poor Massa…

  9. flyingj said on 29th August 2010, 19:39

    Did anybody else notice how weird the McLaren’s engine note sounded?

  10. Anyone come up with any audio of the McLarens?
    I search…….

  11. Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 29th August 2010, 20:08

    I nearly forgot, what happened with Massa being too far ahead in his starting box?

  12. Damonw said on 29th August 2010, 20:30

    I think the reason the mclarens were near to the pace of the redbulls in s2 is because they could afford to use a higher downforce setting than the two rbs. As for Hamilton being lucky as usual, what happened to him in Hungary? It sure wasn’t look in my eyes!!!

  13. Anagh said on 29th August 2010, 20:50

    @keith,
    Please check end of 3rd paragraph, “aolink”, it is supsd to be Alonso, I am guessing?

  14. sato113 (@sato113) said on 29th August 2010, 21:23

    not a bad drive from Yamamoto considering his experience and equipment. he seemed to keep it on the road at all times.

    • I agree. Yamamoto seems to be very good at getting his car home (even if it is usually in last place) and avoiding trouble. Would be interesting to see what he can do in a better car.

      On another topic it seems that the Belgian GP produces another exciting race again. Would be a crying shame if this race disapears off the calendar!

  15. Timao said on 29th August 2010, 21:33

    I too would support a Crofty switch to tv. Imagine how hilarious It would be trying to interpret Legard’s muddled sounds coming out of your radio! To be fair, I do enjoy a spot of legarderrorwatch.. it would make a decent drinking game.

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