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. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

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

    How was this more boring than Monaco? oO

  5. 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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