Belgium analysis - Red Bull give their response 29 Aug 2011
Red Bull are on the back foot, with McLaren and Ferrari favourites to dominate from here on in. That was the prediction of many a pundit heading to Spa after the summer break. How wrong they were. Despite starting the race on blistered tyres amid set-up uncertainties, Vettel losing the lead on lap one and Webber making a disastrous getaway, the men from Milton Keynes were not to be denied as they battled their way to a triumphant one-two in Belgium, further cementing their considerable championship advantage. We look back team-by-team on a fascinating afternoon
Sebastian Vettel, P1
Mark Webber, P2
Pirelli and the FIA refused to acquiesce to Red Bulls request for some more front tyres after the blistering that they encountered after hard use in qualifying, but the team from Milton Keynes had the last laugh with some excellent management of the tyre situation in the race. Others looked strong in the early going, but after Hamilton crashed on lap 13 Vettel was in easy command and sped home to a thoroughly satisfying victory, his seventh of the season. Webber had another anti-stall disaster at the start, for the second year in succession, but an early switch from the soft tyre to the medium gave him a stable platform from which to attack Alonso, whom he passed after 37 laps to make it a resounding Red Bull one-two just when it was least expected.
Jenson Button, P3
Lewis Hamilton, Retired lap 13, accident
McLaren went into the race expecting to have the fastest car, but low straight-line speed immediately indicated that they had too much downforce relative to Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes. Hamilton led as others pitted early, but was in himself on the 10th lap and then crashed heavily at Les Combes when he misjudged Kobayashis track position. Button, meanwhile, got savaged by a Force India at the start, damaging a rear wing endplate, then had his front wing damaged by debris. The latter was replaced in his lap three pit stop, when he dropped the medium tyre for the option, and thereafter he moved up quickly. In the closing stages he hunted down Alonso to snatch the final podium place. His overall feeling was, he said however, what might have been, had there not been the snafu in qualifying and that first-lap damage.
Fernando Alonso, P4
Felipe Massa, P8
Alonso was a podium contender while the Ferrari ran on the soft Pirellis, but could not hack it on the mediums. In the early stages he had great duels with Webber, Hamilton and Massa, but in the latter stages he was easy meat for the Australian and Button as the 150° Italia simply doesnt generate sufficient tyre temperature in relatively cool conditions. Massa ran strongly initially, but ran into similar problems and lost his chance of a decent result when the left rear tyre picked up a late puncture.
Michael Schumacher, P5
Nico Rosberg, P6
Rosberg made a blinding start and led the first two laps before Vettel overtook. He led again when Vettel and Alonso pitted early, but did not have the pace to keep near the front. Later he was advised to save fuel, enabling team mate Schumacher, who ran a three-stop strategy in contrast to his two, to close up and relieve him of fifth place with three laps to run.
Adrian Sutil, P7
Paul di Resta, P11
Sutil had another of his great races and was always a points contender. He mixed it with the big boys initially, and only let Schumacher past as the elder German was quicker on the soft Pirellis. Di Restas car sustained damage to its floor and wings in the first-corner assault by Glock and thereafter suffered debilitating understeer. He also lost his chance of points when the team pitted both cars under the safety car and naturally had to give Sutil priority as he was further up the order.
Vitaly Petrov, P9
Bruno Senna, P13
Senna made himself unpopular by out-braking himself at La Source at the start, hitting Alguersuari and triggering the resultant mayhem, but after a stop for repairs and another for a drive-through he settled down and brought his R31 home with reasonable pace. Petrov was always in the hunt for points in a strong and encouraging performance, but said his car lacked straight-line speed. Later it lacked brakes too, and he spun out of eighth at the end trying to keep Massa at bay.
Pastor Maldonado, P10
Rubens Barrichello, P16
Maldonado stayed out of trouble to take the final point, but Barrichello lost his chance of it by having to stop late for a new nose after running into the back of Kobayashi in the chicane.
Kamui Kobayashi, P12
Sergio Perez, Retired lap 27, rear axle
Kobayashi was running well in the hunt for points until having to stop on the second lap behind the safety car to investigate the collision with Hamilton. That lost him many places, and compromised his race thereafter. Perez got a drive-through penalty for running into the back of Buemi, and later retired with a rear axle problem after a series of pit calls.
Jarno Trulli, P14
Heikki Kovalainen, P15
Kovalainen half spun team mate Trulli on the exit to La Source at the start, when they got concertinad in the melee. That lost them both time but thereafter they enjoyed trouble-free runs to useful 14th and 15th places.
Jerome d'Ambrosio, P17
Timo Glock, P18
Glock got in trouble for braking too late and hitting Di Resta in the first corner, and lost time with a pit stop for repairs and another for a drive-through, but DAmbrosio had a clean run through to 17th in front of his home crowd.
Tonio Liuzzi, P19
Daniel Ricciardo, Retired lap 14, rear end problem
Liuzzi had a lonely run to 19th, but Ricciardo fell foul of an unspecified rear-end problem.
Sebastien Buemi, Retired lap 6, rear wing damage
Jaime Alguersuari, Retired lap 1, steering and suspension damage
Poor old Toro Rosso! Their race was compromised at the start when Senna braked too late and smashed Alguersuaris steering and front suspension. Then Perez ran into the back of Buemi when the Swiss driver was running an excellent sixth after a super start, destroying the STR06s rear wing and prompting another retirement.
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