Vettel 3 Belgium 25Aug13
Sebastian Vettel takes the chequered flag in Belgium - Credit: Mark Thompson/Getty Images
0

Vettel Scores Dominant Win in Dry Belgian Grand Prix

Sebastian Vettel edged closer to a fourth-consecutive drivers’ championship by taking a dominant victory at the Belgian Grand Prix.

The rain that added so much spice to yesterday’s qualifying session stayed away from Spa-Francorchamps today and, once Vettel had passed pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton on the first lap of the race, nothing could stop the German from claiming an easy win and increasing his championship lead to 46 points.

Fernando Alonso finished second ahead of Hamilton, who could only manage third.

Nico Rosberg finished fourth, ahead of Mark Webber, while Jenson Button finished the race in sixth, exactly where he qualified.

Kimi Räikkönen retired with brake failure 19 laps from the end – his first retirement since the 2009 German Grand Prix.

Vettel celebrates the 31st victory of his F1 career - Clive Mason/Getty Images

Vettel celebrates the 31st victory of his F1 career – Credit: Clive Mason/Getty Images

 

The only thing falling from the sky in the build-up to the race were some Greenpeace protestors, who had some beef with sponsor Shell. The trespassers busied themselves by unfurling a banner on the roof of the main grandstand, while everybody else focused on the start of the race.

Lewis Hamilton got an excellent start to maintain his lead from pole position but led only as far as his first trip down the Kemmel Straight, when Vettel breezed past him.

Unlike last year, everybody managed to get around the first corner without crashing. Button got a good start to get up to fourth place, behind Nico Rosberg, and Alonso jumped from his starting position of ninth, up to fifth place. The big loser off the line was Mark Webber.

Vettel soon went about building up a commanding lead. At the end of Lap 3, he was already 3.5 seconds ahead of Hamilton.

Alonso was also on the move. On Lap 4 he was past Button, and then a couple of laps later he had overtaken Rosberg down the Kemmel Straight with the help of DRS. The Spaniard had gone from ninth to third in less than 6 laps.

Hamilton was the first to pit, coming in from second place at the end of Lap 11. He came back out onto the track just behind Romain Grosjean, who was running eighth. Hamilton got past the Frenchman into the bus-stop chicane, but was re-overtaken on the next lap out of Les Combes.

Alonso came in to the pits for his first stop at the end of Lap 13, and came out just behind Hamilton, who was busy re-passing Grosjean.

Vettel made his first stop a lap later, and comfortably retained track position over his rivals. Meanwhile, Hamilton made a mistake at La Source, and Alonso snuck past into Eau Rouge. This gave Alonso a net-second place.

Hamilton made his second stop at the end of Lap 26, just as Kimi Räikkönen’s race came to an end. The Finn suffered a brake failure, and with it his streak of 38 finishes, the last 27 of which were in the points, came to an end.

Lotus suspect that a visor tear-off blocked one of Raikkonen's brake cooling ducts - Photo Credit: Steven Tee/Lotus F1 Team

Lotus suspect that a visor tear-off blocked one of Raikkonen’s brake cooling ducts – Credit: Steven Tee/Lotus F1 Team

 

There was further retirement on Lap 28, when Paul di Resta had Pastor Maldonado crash into the rear of his Force India. Maldonado also tapped Adrian Sutil prior to this contact, which seemed to send the Williams driver slightly off course. Maldonado later got a ten-second stop/go penalty for causing the collision.

Alonso came in to the pits shortly after this accident had occurred, emerging comfortably ahead of Hamilton.  Vettel pitted at the end of Lap 30, and easily retained his race lead.

When Jenson Button finally made his second stop of the afternoon on Lap 34, third place was restored to Hamilton although, by this point, the Mercedes driver was over twenty seconds off leader Vettel, and nearly ten behind Alonso.

 

Results

2013 FORMULA 1 SHELL BELGIAN GRAND PRIX
Race Result:
Pos No Driver Team Laps Time Grid Points
1 1 Germany Sebastian Vettel Austria Red Bull 44 1:23:42.196 2 25
2 3 Spain Fernando Alonso Italy Ferrari 44 +16.8 secs 9 18
3 10 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Germany Mercedes 44 +27.7 secs 1 15
4 9 Germany Nico Rosberg Germany Mercedes 44 +29.8 secs 4 12
5 2 Australia Mark Webber Austria Red Bull 44 +33.8 secs 3 10
6 5 United Kingdom Jenson Button United Kingdom McLaren 44 +40.7 secs 6 8
7 4 Brazil Felipe Massa Italy Ferrari 44 +53.9 secs 10 6
8 8 France Romain Grosjean United Kingdom Lotus 44 +55.8 secs 7 4
9 15 Germany Adrian Sutil India Force India 44 +69.5 secs 12 2
10 19 Australia Daniel Ricciardo Italy Toro Rosso 44 +73.4 secs 19 1
11 6 Mexico Sergio Perez United Kingdom McLaren 44 +81.9 secs 13
12 18 France Jean-Eric Vergne Italy Toro Rosso 44 +86.7 secs 18
13 11 Germany Nico Hulkenberg Switzerland Sauber 44 +88.2 secs 11
14 12 Mexico Esteban Gutierrez Switzerland Sauber 44 +100.4 secs 21
15 17 Finland Valtteri Bottas United Kingdom Williams 44 +107.4 secs 20
16 21 Netherlands Giedo van der Garde Malaysia Caterham 43 +1 Lap 14
17 16 Venezuela Pastor Maldonado United Kingdom Williams 43 +1 Lap 17
18 22 France Jules Bianchi Russian Federation Marussia 43 +1 Lap 15
19 23 United Kingdom Max Chilton Russian Federation Marussia 42 +2 Laps 16
Ret 14 United Kingdom Paul di Resta India Force India 26 Accident 5
Ret 7 Finland Kimi Raikkonen United Kingdom Lotus 25 Brakes 8
Ret 20 France Charles Pic Malaysia Caterham 8 Oil leak 22

 

Drivers’ Championship Standings
After Belgium, Round 11 of 19
Pos Driver Team Points
1 Germany Sebastian Vettel Austria Red Bull 197
2 Spain Fernando Alonso Italy Ferrari 151
3 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Germany Mercedes 139
4 Finland Kimi Raikkonen United Kingdom Lotus 134
5 Australia Mark Webber Austria Red Bull 115
6 Germany Nico Rosberg Germany Mercedes 96
7 Brazil Felipe Massa Italy Ferrari 67
8 France Romain Grosjean United Kingdom Lotus 53
9 United Kingdom Jenson Button United Kingdom McLaren 47
10 United Kingdom Paul di Resta India Force India 36
11 Germany Adrian Sutil India Force India 25
12 Mexico Sergio Perez United Kingdom McLaren 18
13 France Jean-Eric Vergne Italy Toro Rosso 13
14 Australia Daniel Ricciardo Italy Toro Rosso 12
15 Germany Nico Hulkenberg Switzerland Sauber 7
16 Venezuela Pastor Maldonado United Kingdom Williams 1
17 Finland Valtteri Bottas United Kingdom Williams 0
18 Mexico Esteban Gutierrez Switzerland Sauber 0
19 France Jules Bianchi Russian Federation Marussia 0
20 France Charles Pic Malaysia Caterham 0
21 Netherlands Giedo van der Garde Malaysia Caterham 0
22 United Kingdom Max Chilton Russian Federation Marussia 0

 

Constructors’ Championship Standings
After Belgium, Round 11 of 19
Pos Team Points
1 Austria Red Bull 312
2 Germany Mercedes 235
3 Italy Ferrari 218
4 United Kingdom Lotus 187
5 United Kingdom McLaren 65
6 India Force India 61
7 Italy Toro Rosso 25
8 Switzerland Sauber 7
9 United Kingdom Williams 1
10 Russian Federation Marussia 0
11 Malaysia Caterham 0