Thursday, September 01, 2011


After 17 wins, victory is still sweet for Sebastian Vettel

Sebastian Vettel’s dominance of Formula 1 is reminiscent of his compatriot, Michael Schumacher, from a few years ago. 

In 2004, Schumacher won 5 of the first six races.  This was replicated this year by Vettel.  Whilst Schumacher went on to win almost all of the remaining races on offer, and Vettel probably won’t, his lead at the top of the championship is almost unsailable. 
Spa is a track at which Red Bull Racing have never really perfo rmed well at.  With their lower peak engine power and higher downforce, the quicker tracks are their least strongest.  Despite this,  the sheer speed of both Sebastian Vettel, and his car ‘Kinky Kylie’ carried Vettel to an eighth pole position of the season.

From pole, it was a clean getaway that kept him in the lead, or for the first corner anyway.  Behind Vettel, Alonso moved upto fourth from eighth, and Rosberg passed both Ferraris into turn one, and slow starting Webber  and Hamilton off the line. 
Further back, race rustiness showed its hand for Brazilian returnee, Bruno Senna.  He overcooked turn one, and collided with Jaime Alguersuari (who just tapped Fernando Alonso, 

breaking his front left suspension).  The two Lotuses also collided.

Vettel’s lead wasn’t always guaranteed though.  After de fending through the first corner, Rosbergs straight line speed carried him to the gearbox of Vettel’s car, and with a healthy slipstream, the overtake was a mere formality.

When DRS was enabled after three laps, defending from Vettel was a step too difficult for Rosberg.  The champion found a way through on the run down to Les Coumbes.
Michael Schumacher’s anniversary drive had started well.  He had picked off 12 cars in the first three laps and was one of the quickest on the track. 
Button wasn’t going so well.  After a disappointing qualifying, Button was left with 13th.  He was caught up in the first corner carnage, and had lost a front wing end-plate and a wing mirror in the contact.

The final remaining Toro Rosso was taken out of the race by Sergio Perez, in  a mistimed overtaking manoeuvre.

The biggest talking point of the race wasn’t about the Pirelli tyres not withstanding the pressure, but instead Lewis Hamilton’s aggressive driving.
On lap 14, Hamilton misjudged a move on Kamui Kobayashi.  The McLaren had recently pitted (whilst Kobayashi had not) and had closed in on the Sauber.  As Hamilton pulled out to pass Kobayashi, he didn't realise that the Sauber was still on the racing line, and turned in in front of him.  Hamilton’s race was over as he was pitched into a spin, hitting the wall.  The safety car was needed.

Vettel was the only front runner to pit immediately, and was able to return to the track with only Webber and Alonso in front.  By the time the safety car came into the pits, both of the leading duo had given in, and were in need of some fresh rubber.  Vettel resumed his lead. 

From this point, it was plain sailing for Vettel.  The battle for second was beginning to get tasty.  After previously passing Alonso around the outside in Eau Rouge, Mark Webber had to make another pass on the Spaniard.  With better tyres, DRS and a quicker car, Webber could breeze past the Spaniard.

Vettel, chased down by Rosberg early on in the race

Button and Schumacher were also on the move. Button had also caught up with Alonso, and pulled off a move similar to that of Webber.  Schumacher’s charge was topped off with a pass on his team-mate for fifth.  Again, tyres and DRS made this easy for Schumi.  Vettel made it to the finish without any tyre worries for win number 17.  He’ll be hard to catch in the remainder of the season!

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