Spa chaos claims Button, spares Hamilton (McLaren race review)

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton, Spa-Francorchamps, 2010

Having been miles off the pace in Hungary, McLaren were back in contention for victory in Spa.

Hamilton showed a great touch in the damp conditions most of the time – especially at the start of Q2. But he nearly lost his win when he went off at Rivage near the end of the race.

Button was less fortunate in his collision with Sebastian Vettel, which ended his race and McLaren’s hopes of a one-two.

Jenson Button Lewis Hamilton
Qualifying position 5 2
Qualifying time comparison (Q3) 1’46.206 (+0.343) 1’45.863
Race position 1
Average race lap 2’00.639 (-0.821) 2’01.461
Laps 15/44 44/44
Pit stops 0 2

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Jenson Button

Button passed Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber on the first lap to run third. Vettel and Felipe Massa then passed him in the mayhem at the chicane at the end of lap one but were re-taken by Button as the second lap began.

Robert Kubica then went off at the top of Eau Rouge, allowing Button into second behind his team mate.

But he’d picked up some front wing damage and after the restart he was unable to keep up with Hamilton. Gradually a train of cars built up behind him, headed by Vettel.

On lap 16, Vettel lost control of his car at the chicane and hit Button’s radiator, ending his race. It was the first time Button had failed to score since Monaco, and leaves him 35 points behind his team mate in the world championship.

Compare Jenson Button’s form against his team mate in 2010

Lewis Hamilton

Hamilton looked a likely candidate for pole position but could only manage fourth fastest time with his first effort in Q3. He’d saved a new set of soft tyres for his final run, but reckoned without a brief shower on part of the circuit. Nonetheless he did enough to take second place, one-tenth of a second slower than Webber.

He went straight into the lead at the start and survived a couple of rain-induced scares during the race. He went straight on at the chicane at the end of lap one and continued – as did many others.

But he avoided a brush with disaster when he went off at Rivage on lap 35 as the rain started to come down more heavily. There were shades of Shanghai 2007 as the McLaren crawled through the gravel and brushed a barrier – only this time he climbed out of it and back onto the track:

The biggest moment was later on in turn eight. I made it all the way out to the wall and just clipped it a little bit with the edge of my wing. Fortunately not the whole car but very fortunate to get away with that. It was so slippery out there. There is nothing you can do. Obviously you tip-toe around. I felt I was braking quite early, but the thing just did not want to stop and locked the wheel and I was gone.
Lewis Hamilton

That moment eroded the 11-second lead he’d built up ahead of his slow team mate earlier in the race, and preserved after Button had gone out. He stayed ahead at the restart and edged away from second-placed man Webber to win and re-take the championship lead.

Compare Lewis Hamilton’s form against his team mate in 2010

2010 Belgian Grand Prix

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