Belgian Grand Prix gets lowest rating yet in 2013

2013 Belgian Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Spa-Francorchamps, 2013Spa-Francorchamps may be a favourite venue for drivers and fans but this year’s race was no classic.

The average rating given by F1 Fanatic readers was 5.688 out of ten – the lowest for an event so far this season and well down on Spa’s average rating for its previous five races: 7.839.

In many ways qualifying was the highlight of the weekend. Saturday afternoon rain saw Marussia and Caterham get cars through to Q2, while Paul di Resta briefly held provisional pole position.

Sunday’s race will one to forget for Kimi Raikkonen, who recorded his first DNF since his return to the sport last year. But it says a lot about the race that one of the biggest talking points of the day was a protest by Greenpeace.

Some of you did manage to find a few positives, though:

Exciting first half of the grand prix, with some good battles, and not knowing the strategies which were going to play out.

However, it kind of fizzled out towards the end, especially once Button converted to a two-stop, which I?m still not sure why they did that, considering the worst they were going to finish was sixth anyway.

Great drives from the top three (as usual), especially Vettel. Alonso and Hamilton also took everything out of the car.

Nice to see the top three drivers on the podium, and nice to see Hamilton and Vettel being friendly after the race.

The race wasn?t that amazing, especially for the lead. It was interesting to follow the midfield and where the backmarkers were, considering their grid positions.

Some good overtaking (Raikkonen on many people, Vergne versus Hulkenberg, Alonso on Webber on lap one), some bad (DRS is becoming increasingly tedious, Perez trying to force off Grosjean, Maldonado not using his mirrors) but I still enjoyed the first two-thirds of it much more than most races of the 2000s.

The authenticity of modern F1 racing is a constant source of complaints, such as this one:

Terrible race for me. This season I have really fallen out of love with F1. After 20 years and plenty of live races I am just not remotely excited by the fake DRS racing we now have.

I know I am not like a casual viewer so will be in the minority but I miss the chess-like battles that build and ebb and flow. The anticipation can be so exciting, edge of your seat wait/willing something to happen.

Yes some races you had to will anything at all to happen but when races were good, they were really good and real! If a car was out of position he could try and hang on, sometimes unbelievably. Fat chance now.

So many battles robbed by DRS. I think we have given it a fair crack but it is so obviously not the answer I think I will switch off before they switch it off. So sad that I feel I’m loosing something I love.

Last month Keith wrote about his growing dislike of DRS – something a lot of people remarked on after Spa:

DRS ruined it again for me, Drivers admitted to slowing down before detection zones to stop other drivers passing them at the end of the straights.

For Spa ?ǣ yes, I was expecting more. DRS must be forbidden on that track, but the conservative tyre choice made it even more worse.

DRS really needs to be banned, how anyone can find any of the DRS passes anything other than totally and utterly boring and dull is beyond me!

There is literally nothing even remotely exciting or interesting about any of the DRS passes, There all far too easy, very uneventful and ridiculously boring to watch occur.

I want to see some real overtaking again, Not this stupid push of a button motorway drive-by artificial rubbish passing!

One of the major incidents of the race saw Pastor Maldonado collide with both Force Indias and eliminate Paul di Resta, earning a stop-go penalty. Opinion was divided on the stewards’ use of one of the harsher F1 penalties:

A drive-through maybe, but I viewed it that Sutil didn?t leave enough space and the collision with Di Resta was an inevitability after that.

Maldonado?s collision with Sutil was caused by Maldonado making a swerve for the pit lane. He then made a second move for the pits and totally wiped out di Resta. Taking two cars ? two cars you?re not even realistically racing ? out on your way to the pits? Not acceptable. Maldonado fully deserved a stop go penalty.

He tried to dive for the pit while two cars were still passing. Utterly stupid move from him. Again!

Hopes were high for the Belgian Grand Prix but in the end it didn’t strike a chord with most viewers:

Qualification promised so much, but the race came up very short.

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57 comments on Belgian Grand Prix gets lowest rating yet in 2013

  1. Matty No 2 (@mattynotwo) said on 13th September 2013, 11:46

    I thought race was ok and I didnt see any issue with DRS.

    • Totally agreed. I think it’s more about the fact that they expected so much after the hype generated from the qualification. Also, people are probably bored by Vettel’s wins because no one can challenge him. Quite frankly, I like to see a driver like Vettel doing his job exceptionnally well : he’s fast and ruthless. And I’m not even a Vettel fan, I’m a tifosi.
      About the DRS, I just don’t get why people complain. It allows more often the faster driver to pass the other slower at any moment. If it was an unfair advantage and “so easy” to pass with DRS, then how come we never see the positions switching back and fourth? The driver getting passed by the DRS user should be able to take over him in the next lap at the spot, using this logic. I just think Keith is gathering an anti-DRS army through the powers that comes with managing this fan site.

      • It allows more often the faster driver to pass the other slower at any moment

        Your DRS reasoning doesn’t include the art of defensive driving. It’s quite a skill that some F1 fans like myself actually like to see.

        I just think Keith is gathering an anti-DRS army through the powers that comes with managing this fan site.

        LOL! What a statement.

      • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 13th September 2013, 18:38

        If it was an unfair advantage and “so easy” to pass with DRS, then how come we never see the positions switching back and fourth?

        The question boils down to “why don’t slower cars pass faster cars?”, which has an obvious answer. But it doesn’t disprove the point of view that DRS makes passing too easy.

        I just think Keith is gathering an anti-DRS army through the powers that comes with managing this fan site.

        You give me too much credit as an evil supervillain :-)

    • Eric (@) said on 14th September 2013, 12:49


      It’s difficult to judge DRS. At the one hand we had Hamilton who couldn’t get alongside Alonso with DRS open even after deliberately taking a wider line through la source to let Alonso through meaning he should have had a better run up to Eau Rouge.
      But on the other hand we had Alonso who just drove passed everyone with DRS open.

      That’s the main problem with DRS. Some cars, like the Mercedes at Spa, don’t have nearly enough top speed to pass on the straights even with DRS while other cars, like the Ferrari at Spa, are fast enough that they don’t need DRS to begin with. IMO that is what makes DRS redundant. Either you’ll get trains or you’ll get easy drive-by’s.

  2. What a downwards trend since britain !

    • Hunary was ok, please discard previous comment !

      • @tango When Hamilton crushes everybody: “oh, what a great race!”; when Vettel crushes everybody:”Boring fest”.
        Both races where quite average for me. tending to boring. Not because I support Vettel I can claim Spa and Monza where thrilling, don’t you think?

        • I don’t know, I switched Spa off. Never thought I’d ever do it. Monza was kinda ok. Hungary was ok. None of them were great though.

        • Rails (@rjessalt) said on 13th September 2013, 19:45

          @OmarR-Pepper True, that is a common feeling, but for good reason, I think. But I suppose the reason is because many of us know the kind of immense talent Lewis has, especially if you followed him during his GP2 career. So it is brilliant when we get to see that same Lewis who blows us all away with how seriously quick he is. Unfortunately, we haven’t seen that for some time as his McLaren last year prevented him from finishing too many races, and this year, he is struggling with braking.

          Not to take anything away from Vettel, who is clearly doing unbelievably well, but when we get to see that pure talent from Lewis, without any inhibitors from the car, it could never be a snooze fest.

  3. Chris (@tophercheese21) said on 13th September 2013, 11:58

    Even though I only gave it a 6, it was far from the worst race of the season. I’d say it was probably middle, not great but not terrible either.

    Catalunya still gets my vote for worst of the season for the sheer amount of pistops.

    I feel all in all, 2013 has been a bit of a let down. Red Bulls dominance, combined with Pirelli’s tyres being so sensitive, has made for a season that on paper looks great, but just hasn’t delivered.

    • Dave (@raceprouk) said on 13th September 2013, 14:56

      Catalunya still gets my vote for worst of the season for the sheer amount of pistops.

      The BBC ran an article not long after the Spanish GP that showed the number of stops this year was the same as the last three years, give or take a couple.

    • Britain gets mine because I didn’t enjoy that race at all – I thought it was completely farcical and very nearly considered turning it off (I only didn’t because I wished to view the incidents as they happened I reasoned so that I could justify my opinion).

      That was exceptional though. My least favourite “normal” race I agree was Catalunya.

      Red Bull were fine for the first 6 races I thought – it was after Canada that it started to get predictable haha @tophercheese21!

  4. I don’t support complete removal of DRS. In some tracks without DRS (and in some even with it) overtaking is virtually impossible and for those DRS should be kept (eg Monaco, Hungary, etc.).
    However, you have track like Spa that overtaking was never a problem and then having not one but TWO DRS is a total overkill. They need a a rethink about DRS.

    • verstappen (@verstappen) said on 13th September 2013, 12:06

      I can live with your idea. But I would like no DRS at all better. Next years cars will probably really have more power than grip, which should aid good battling.
      (Which is the term I’ll use to express what I want, a good battle can exist without overtaking).

  5. AntWilson said on 13th September 2013, 11:58

    We are long overdue a spectacular race. This season has become a right snoozefest, I religiously watch every race and I haven’t been on the edge of my seat once yet this year. Disappointment Relay System indeed.

  6. PhilEReid (@philereid) said on 13th September 2013, 12:48

    2010 – Really good championship, not so good races (in general)
    2011 – Boring championship, but had some really good races (in general)
    2012 – Good championship and some fantastic races (a mix of the good from both 2010 and 2011)
    2013 – Boring championship (so far), and not the greatest racing (a mix, mostly, of the bad from both 2010 and 2011).

    Still time to pick up though, this is Formula 1, anything can just pop out of nowhere.

  7. Rambler said on 13th September 2013, 12:52

    Seems to me like ratings gets lower as Vettel’s point gap increases rather than anything.. As to be expected though as the championship is what keeps us going

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 13th September 2013, 18:40

      How a race affects the drivers’ championship situation does seem to have a considerable bearing on the Rate the Race result.

      Which is a bit of a shame, really, because a race can be great in its own right without it – look at Suzuka ’05, for instance.

      • petebaldwin (@petebaldwin) said on 13th September 2013, 20:06

        @keithcollantine – I think a great race wouldn’t have it’s rating affected that much by the championship already being over as there would still be excitement. When a race is dull, having no championship to get excited about leaves everything feeling a bit pointless….

  8. If the decline in keeps up the ratings for Brazill will not go above 4

    • Brazil won’t go below 6 or 7, it always provides a decent race. Abu Dhabi, India and Korea though – now they could be scraping the barrel.

      Looks like everyone’s getting a bit F1ed out – is a 22-race season really a good idea?

  9. Force Maikel (@force-maikel) said on 13th September 2013, 13:52

    This race was defenitly not the worst of the season, I’m strating to think people are voting low numbers just because Vettel is winning in his dominant form again. To be honest I can understand that but this is still rate the race and not rate the race winner.

    • Jono (@me262) said on 13th September 2013, 14:19

      no matter how good a race maybe, truth is a race without a hint of a battle for the lead will devaluate the rating. This inevitably translates to the championship too. Not only do red bull have the fastest cornering speeds…they just won at monza… Game over. Our consolation lies again in the battle for second

  10. I was at Spa this year. Took my Dad as a belated birthday present… and it was, of course, a trip to Mecca for me.

    The weekend as a whole was awesome. Cream on the cake was getting invited into the Pit Lane Saturday and Sunday.

    However, even though I enjoyed it immensely, and would do the trip again in a heart beat, and our seats at Eau Rouge gave us a stunning vantage point, plus the ability to walk on the track immediately after the race (getting in through the gate at the bottom of Eau Rouge) made a perfect ending to the weekend… the race was booooooooooooring. And I was sad that it was my Dad´s first experience on F1 “in the flesh”. He, of course, loved it. But even he thought the GP2 races gave more in terms of the thrill of watching people race wheel to wheel at close quarters.

  11. What makes me feel sad is that tracks that I adore as a fan (Silverstone, Spa, Suzuka, Interlagos, Monza) lately have provided boring races. It seems to me that on those tracks the formula is simple: the best cars will go ahead and will win and that’s it. Someone will say “ah, but Silverstone in 20xx was good”, or “no way, in 20xx Suzuka was amazing”. But those tracks are supposed to be amazing *always*. Or *were* supposed to be amazing. Are the best tracks in the world, where legendary biographies were built and where legendary champions won legendary races.
    For me, it’s depressing that boring, uninspiring tracks that seems to level everything to the bottom provide the most interesting races. Put together an amazing track for a F1 with just a couple of really good combos car/driver, add DRS and KERS and then you have Spa2013.

    • Dave (@raceprouk) said on 13th September 2013, 15:00

      The older tracks tend to favour aerodynamic performance over mechanical grip. Couple this with the RBR’s overall aero efficiency, and the significant drop in aero performance when in the ‘dirty air’, and you get somewhat dull racing at the classic circuits, with a little more spice on the newer, point-and-squirt tracks.

    • In my opinion we make a mistake when we think that the best tracks will deliver exciting and incredible races. It’s not that easy. F1 fanatics want to see long and epic battles for P1 in every weekend, of course it’s not going to be like that always.

      To me, these tracks are amazing. I enjoy seeing drivers and cars to the limits in tracks like Spa, Silverstone, Monza, I really do. If the race isn’t action-packed I don’t mind too much, I like seeing drivers drive around these beautiful tracks.

      I can’t say the same about Abu Dhabi, Bahrain. Sharp 90 degrees corners become boring soon.

      • To me, these tracks are amazing. I enjoy seeing drivers and cars to the limits in tracks like Spa, Silverstone, Monza, I really do. If the race isn’t action-packed I don’t mind too much, I like seeing drivers drive around these beautiful tracks.

        You have a very good point, here.

  12. Garns (@) said on 13th September 2013, 14:43

    @iFelix – agreed mate, the DRS needs to be reviewed. Some circuits like the last two- Monza and Spa- dont need it. Abu Dhabi needs 5 of them…………. and a new circuit!!

    I hate to say it but Spa bored me this year, and last year. I love the circuit but nothing really happened. Will be better next year for sure (I hope!!)

    • AntWilson said on 13th September 2013, 16:00

      They really should ditch the Dissappointment Relay System. Whatever happened to driver skill?

    • Yes a new circuit NOT designed by Tilke. He is a brilliant designer in many aspects, but his tracks are all made for car trains. I think he should try to do some racing to understand the fact the design should be in a way that allows some overtaking.

  13. Timothy Katz (@timothykatz) said on 13th September 2013, 14:49

    I just looked a the Monza ‘Rate the race’ page. Let’s just say that it will join Spa towards the foot of the table. I would really like to see the overall scores plotted over time to see if we are appreciating the races more or less – particularly since DRS arrived.

  14. Chad (@chaddy) said on 13th September 2013, 15:29

    I thought Hungary was the worst of the season, and this was second. The eco-terrorists at greenpeace didn’t help things, nor all the news outlets spending time talking about them so that it will encourage future protestors to ruin things for other people.

  15. Sad to see Spa and Monza reduced to this, for very different reasons, albeit.

    • JackySteeg (@jackysteeg) said on 13th September 2013, 16:16

      I think (or at least hope) that these were just one-offs for Spa and Monza. They weren’t helped by the fact that in the days building up to the race we were promised a bit of rain to spice up the action, which meant that when the rain failed to fall in both races then most of us found them to be a bit of a disappointment.

  16. JackySteeg (@jackysteeg) said on 13th September 2013, 16:17

    So Spa is voted the worst race so far and Bahrain voted the best. Never would’ve predicted that.

  17. I think DRS should be removed entirely at circuits like Spa. It has its place, for example Monaco or Yas Marina.

    Still, DRS has been around for years now and the great majority of races with it have been highly rated. Spa 2013 was not one of the worst races of the last several years, regardless of its rating. It was pretty much average.

  18. Win7Golf (@win7golf) said on 13th September 2013, 22:52

    As we go throw the season and it’s always the same boring show, it’s normal the races will be less popular, unless something really interesting happens… like a Vettel crash or car problem…
    If this continues… it’s already over. Let just hope next season changes will mix everything up with lots of car troubles, engine, aero, driver mistakes, and so on….

    For now we can only sit back and watch (again) the guy with the better car win his fourth World Champion in a row… But never forget – he’s no Senna, he’s no Mansell, he’s no Hakkinen, he’s no Hamilton, he’s no Raikkonen…! (and many more)

    And that’s why the booing…

    • Mansell should definitely be grouped with Vettel (if not in the “worse” category) – he could only win a championship once he had one of the most dominant cars in F1 history (something Vettel can’t even come close to).

      Räikkönen and Hamilton also have only both won one championship apiece to Vettel’s three, so I don’t know why Vettel has to live up to them. Alonso I can understand since he’s pretty much old guard now and I have to admit his 2012 campaign was nigh-on faultless.

      But again, why boo the team and driver who’s been clearly better than the rest? Because they’re doing their job properly? That’s what I don’t understand – it’s clearly just booing out of spite for their superiority.

      • If people want to boo. That’s fine.
        If people want to complain about people booing. That’s also fine.
        Comparing drivers present and past is also pretty futile; there are so many variables to consider.

        You’re comparison with Mansell is interesting, but also validates my attitude to Vettel. Which is this… Until he has competed, competitively, in inferior equipment, like Mansell, and Alonso, and Kimi, and Hamilton, he can’t be considered to be at the same level as those Champions – no matter how many he wins in a dominant car.

        Don’t get me wrong. He can drive. He’s a nice guy. And I don’t boo him. But he’s not a true Champion according to my definition of a Champion… yet.

        • David-A (@david-a) said on 18th September 2013, 17:10

          @scratt – Mansell started his career for Lotus, which could be defined as “inferior” equipement, but Mansell hardly moved mountains in that time- with no wins, only a few podiums, and losing to his teammates for three out of four years. He moved to the more competitive Williams, and lost to Rosberg in 1985, and Piquet in 1987, while Prost, in what was seen as an “inferior” Mclaren, beat him to the title in 1986. He only grabbed one title near the end of his career in the FW14B, a car that had a performance advantage Red Bull could only dream of.

          Vettel has shown that he can compete, “competitively” in inferior equipment- that’s what he had when he impressed so much in 2007 and 2008. The only car that Hamilton, Raikkonen and Alonso has had that was worse, was Alonso’s 2001 Minardi.

          • There is a massive difference between fighting a campaign for an entire season (or seasons) and actually being in the hunt for the Championship, and getting lucky as a rookie in a couple of races.

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 18th September 2013, 17:43

            @scratt – To even fight for the championship, never mind win one, you need the car to do so. That applies to Alonso, Hamilton, Raikkonen or Mansell as much as it does Vettel. It’s not like Red Bull have a rocketship, then the other 10 cars from Ferrari down to Marussia have equal Fiat Pandas.

            And it’s myopic to say that Vettel “got lucky”. His win came from dominating from pole, not attrition. He otherwise consistently brought home strong results, which is why he was 8th in the 2008 championship, prior to finishing as runner-up in 2009.

          • “His win came from dominating from pole..”

            Gosh. What a surprise!

            And frankly, Newey´s cars are exactly what you say they are not. They are fast and fragile – which is why Vettel dominating from pole and those cars are a perfect match.

            I stand by my assessment. Once I see him fight through the field, and be in contention for a Championship in a car that is not the undisputed fastest thing on the track, then I will take another look.

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 18th September 2013, 18:46


            And frankly, Newey´s cars are exactly what you say they are not.

            You seem to be just assuming that any Red Bull car built by Newey is a rocketship, then? That’s just short sighted. By the same token, I might as well claim that every Ferrari is like an F2002 or F2004, or that every Mclaren is an MP4/4.

            You skipped the other point that I made- cars the Ferrari’s, Lotuses and Mercedes are clearly stronger than most other teams on the grid, so why should their drivers get so much credit for merely winning races or taking podiums, in comparison to the guy beating them in a slightly better car over the course of a season?

            The Toro Rosso he drove from 2008 certainly wasn’t a particularly fast car- Red Bull and Toro Rosso were nowhere prior to 2009. Anyone who knew what they were talking about would tell you that.

            I stand by my assessment. Once I see him fight through the field, and be in contention for a Championship in a car that is not the undisputed fastest thing on the track, then I will take another look.

            Well, it’s a rather ignorant assessment, as I have already told you- Vettel impressed on a consistent basis when he wasn’t in the fastest car.

            P.S. Red Bull were not the fastest car last year, but Vettel fought for and won the championship, with numerous races where he fought through the field.

          • What definition of fast are you using?
            Drag race, point to point, or overall pace?
            Case in point, the Red Bull was not the fastest car in a straight line by a long shot today in Singapore…

          • And to answer your query about consistently impressing re. Vettel, your view is subjective and not mine.

            Like I said, he’s a nice chap, and talented, he just hasn’t proved himself to me yet. You can debate this until you are blue in the face, and call my opinion names all you like. Until he satisfies my criteria, which are also subjective, my opinion remains as stated.

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 4th October 2013, 16:27


            What definition of fast are you using?

            The same definition Keith Collantine used (I even linked to the article), which stated that Vettel’s car wasn’t the fastest overall last year (never mind “undisputed fastest”)… yet he won the world championship. Maybe you should tell me your definition of “dominant car”? Is the answer “any car Vettel can win in, so that it’s easy to diminish his achievements”?

            Until he satisfies my criteria, which are also subjective, my opinion remains as stated.

            That wouldn’t be an issue if it wasn’t so inconsistent:

            Until he has competed, competitively, in inferior equipment, like Mansell, and Alonso, and Kimi, and Hamilton, he can’t be considered to be at the same level as those Champions – no matter how many he wins in a dominant car.

            Mansell as I already told you, didn’t win a race until his 5th year when he moved to Williams, often losing to his teammates at Lotus. What’s so “competitive” about that? Alonso, Kimi and Lewis have won races in frontrunning cars that didn’t win the championship (and therefore can be labelled “inferior” to something else on the grid). Vettel did that when he was runner-up in 2009.

            The stuff you wrote isn’t an issue because it’s your opinion, or because it’s subjective, it’s just illogical.

    • David-A (@david-a) said on 18th September 2013, 6:37

      @win7golf – I agree that he’s no Mansell, Hakkinen, Hamilton or Raikkonen, because he is better than them all.

  19. Patrick (@paeschli) said on 14th September 2013, 11:41

    How was this more boring than Monaco? oO

  20. I was there – my first grand prix. And, regardless of what people say about it not being a classic, I was still gripped from start to finish. – there’s a bit about the experience on my website.

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