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

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

  1. i thought he did exceptional well considering the conditions,
    i feel for Button, he is very consistent did great to get up to second, very sad to see him taken out.
    Webber must have been smiling after Vettels incident.

    • US_Peter said on 30th August 2010, 19:20

      Webber must have been smiling after Vettels incident.

      Exactly. He must have been very thankful for Vettel in that moment.

  2. Hairs (@hairs) said on 30th August 2010, 17:22

    Button had a great few first laps, although he was possibly too canny for his own good when all 5 front runners lost it at the chicane – Button carefully wound back onto the track, when the others just cut through the corner. Maybe having heard the “stick to the track” mantra from Nigel Mansell he saw a situation where maybe those in front of him would get penalised.

    Canny, but didn’t work. I’d like to know where he picked up the front wing damage, at one point he was catching Hamilton and right up behind him.

    • The Hundredth Idiot said on 30th August 2010, 17:41

      From watching the BBC F1 forum, it looks like he got it in a small bump with Kubica when they all lost it at the chicane – if you’ll remember, Button was attempting a pass up the inside when they all went off, caught out by the rain!

    • Dennis said on 30th August 2010, 22:29

      I think that he was considering a trip to the pits.

    • matt90 said on 31st August 2010, 0:17

      Canny or just trying to follow the rules?

  3. John H said on 30th August 2010, 19:18

    The headline has a great deal to do with qualifying.

    Hamilton’s qualy lap meant he was on the front row. Jenson was where the action was and there was a higher risk of damage on the first lap.

    It was unfortunate for Button, but he was out qualified by Hamilton again and must now be thinking about taking a few for the team.

  4. DGR-F1 said on 31st August 2010, 13:32

    Excuse me, but what ‘chaos’? Sure, a lot of cars went off at the first corner, but weren’t we expecting that? And most of the cars recovered, survived the SC periods and the rain showers……
    It was more intriguing that Hammy’s excursion happened just as he was saying how wet the track was, and that he showed just how good he is by the way he recovered back onto the track. I’m amazed even he says that he brushed the tyre barrier, as there was no sign of it in the replays.
    As for Button, I wonder if he managed to have a few words of wisdom with Vettel afterwards?

    • zecks said on 31st August 2010, 13:37

      pretty sure I remember watching the rear tire brush the barrier. I am also pretty sure I shouted NOOOOO! about 2 seconds before that point. very lucky indeed

      • DGR-F1 said on 31st August 2010, 15:16

        Yes, I shouted NOOOOOOO too, but I thought he caught it in time (just in time!)….

        • Javaguy said on 1st September 2010, 12:08

          His front left brushed the wall, I think. That is what I saw anyway. I think you could even see a little bit of white paint on it as he navigated back to the track, but that might’ve been a bit of gravel.

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