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Belgium analysis - catch us if you can… 26 Aug 2013

(L to R): Christian Horner (GBR) Red Bull Racing Team Principal; Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing and Adrian Newey (GBR) Red Bull Racing Chief Technical Officer, celebrate their victory after the race.
Formula One World Championship, Rd11, Belgian Grand Prix, Race Day, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Sunday, 25 August 2013 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB9.
Formula One World Championship, Rd11, Belgian Grand Prix, Race Day, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Sunday, 25 August 2013 Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing on the podium.
Formula One World Championship, Rd11, Belgian Grand Prix, Race Day, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Sunday, 25 August 2013 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W04.
Formula One World Championship, Rd11, Belgian Grand Prix, Race Day, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Sunday, 25 August 2013 Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren MP4-28.
Formula One World Championship, Rd11, Belgian Grand Prix, Race Day, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Sunday, 25 August 2013 Sergio Perez (MEX) McLaren MP4-28 and Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus E21 battle.
Formula One World Championship, Rd11, Belgian Grand Prix, Race Day, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Sunday, 25 August 2013 Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus E21.
Formula One World Championship, Rd11, Belgian Grand Prix, Race Day, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Sunday, 25 August 2013 Adrian Sutil (GER) Force India VJM06.
Formula One World Championship, Rd11, Belgian Grand Prix, Race Day, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Sunday, 25 August 2013 Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Scuderia Toro Rosso and his engineer on the grid.
Formula One World Championship, Rd11, Belgian Grand Prix, Race Day, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Sunday, 25 August 2013 Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Sauber C32 leads Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams FW35 and Adrian Sutil (GER) Force India VJM06.
Formula One World Championship, Rd11, Belgian Grand Prix, Race Day, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Sunday, 25 August 2013 Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Williams FW35.
Formula One World Championship, Rd11, Belgian Grand Prix, Race Day, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Sunday, 25 August 2013 Giedo van der Garde (NDL) Caterham CT03 makes a pit stop.
Formula One World Championship, Rd11, Belgian Grand Prix, Race Day, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Sunday, 25 August 2013 Jules Bianchi (FRA) Marussia F1 Team MR02 on the grid.
Formula One World Championship, Rd11, Belgian Grand Prix, Race Day, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Sunday, 25 August 2013

With their crushing victory in Sunday’s 2013 Formula 1 Shell Belgian Grand Prix, Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull sent out a clear message to their championship rivals - they have no plans to ease up in the battle to retain both titles. As the highly-anticipated Mercedes challenge failed to materialise, not only did Vettel win with ease, he extended his advantage atop the driver standings and saw Lotus’s Kimi Raikkonen - previously his nearest opponent in the table - drop from second to fourth overall after his first DNF of the year. We take a team-by-team look at the Spa-Francorchamps formbook...

Red Bull
Sebastian Vettel, P1
Mark Webber, P5

Vettel drove to his 31st Grand Prix victory - one behind Fernando Alonso’s career tally and equalling that of Nigel Mansell - with such insouciant ease in a Red Bull that was perfectly suited to Spa, that rivals shuddered as they floundered in his wake. It suggests he can be very competitive again at Monza, too. Webber made a poor start thanks to clutch worries and spent his race fighting back from that, but at times he was able to set fastest laps to demonstrate what might have been on his last F1 visit to the circuit he loves.

Ferrari
Fernando Alonso, P2
Felipe Massa, P7

Ferrari had nothing like the pace they needed to get anywhere near Red Bull, but Alonso beat everyone else after fighting up from ninth to fifth on the opening lap and then picking off Button, Rosberg and Hamilton. A decent second place put him back ahead of Raikkonen in the drivers’ title battle. Massa lost time early on in traffic but eventually came out on top of a lengthy fight with Grosjean to take seventh.

Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton, P3
Nico Rosberg, P4

As Hamilton had expected, Mercedes lacked the pace in low-downforce form to run with Red Bull, but getting beaten by Ferrari was an unwelcome shock. Hamilton drove the wheels off his W04 to take the final podium slot and move ahead of Raikkonen in the points table, while Rosberg was also very strong and finished only 2.1s behind his team mate.

McLaren
Jenson Button, P6
Sergio Perez, P11

Button felt that McLaren’s revised MP4-28 was a good improvement, though he wasn’t sure that the team got the best out of it and said they vacillated too much between one- and two-stop strategies. Nevertheless, he did lead briefly when he was out of sync of pit stops, and sixth was a step forward. Perez put in a forceful pass on Grosjean but was adjudged to have forced the Frenchman off track and given a drive-through penalty that held him back to an 11th-place finish.

Lotus
Romain Grosjean, P8
Kimi Raikkonen, Retired lap 26, brakes

The race was a big disappointment for Lotus. On a single-stop strategy, Grosjean couldn’t better eighth after losing time in the incident with Perez, while Raikkonen dropped out after 25 laps - ending his record run of 27 consecutive points finishes - when, it was thought, somebody else’s discarded tear-off visor lodged in his left front brake duct and caused too much damage to the brake disc. The retirement cost him two places in the drivers’ standings.

Force India
Adrian Sutil, P9
Paul di Resta, Retired lap 27, hit by Maldonado

Sutil was in superstrong form and pulled off some steely overtaking moves to gain ninth place, but after he’d tagged Maldonado in the last corner on the 27th lap, the Williams driver turned sharp right and took out an innocent Di Resta who was battling hard with his team mate. The team dropped from fifth to sixth in the constructors’ stakes, as McLaren moved ahead.

Toro Rosso
Daniel Ricciardo, P10
Jean-Eric Vergne, P12

After their disaster in qualifying the Toro Rosso drivers fought back in the race. Vergne won out in an intense battle with Hulkenberg, but was then slowed by a puncture during his final stint. Ricciardo started on the hard Pirellis and said his race really began on the mediums. They helped him through to the final point.

Sauber
Nico Hulkenberg, P13
Esteban Gutierrez, P14

No points for Sauber this time, after Hulkenberg had to give way to Vergne’s Toro Rosso and Sutil’s Force India, and Gutierrez got a drive-through penalty for gaining advantage by going outside the track limits.

Williams
Valtteri Bottas, P15
Pastor Maldonado, P17

Bottas simply lacked the pace to better 15th, while Maldonado was swiped by Sutil in the final corner on the 27th lap but compounded that by turning right in a doomed attempt to enter the pits. He collected an innocent Di Resta, and was handed a 10-second stop-go penalty as punishment.

Caterham
Giedo van der Garde, P16
Charles Pic, Retired lap 9, oil leak

Caterham lost Pic early on to an oil leak, but Van der Garde didn’t roll over as the faster cars attacked on the opening lap, and later fought tooth and nail to beat a recovering Maldonado for 16th, much to his team’s delight.

Marussia
Jules Bianchi, P18
Max Chilton, P19

No problems for Bianchi, apart from being shuffled down the order, with team mate Chilton, from 15th and 16th on the grid to 20th and 21st by the end of the opening lap. But Chilton later got a drive-through penalty for ignoring blue flags.

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