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Vettel wins Belgium Grand Prix

The Belgian Grand Prix started with a dry track and blue sky, something that the teams had not been used too since turning up at Spa this weekend.

All the teams had completed limited dry running throughout Friday and Saturday which left a huge question mark over how long the tyres would last throughout the race.

Rosberg's car was smoking on the grid and he was red hot going into the first lap jumping Lewis Hamilton on the grid before taking Sebastian Vettel for the race lead.

Hamilton was struggling for pace over the first two laps initially losing out to Rosberg, Massa and then Alonso.

The pace of the Mercedes didn't last though as Vettel re-took the lead on lap three before his mirrors were then full of the two Ferrari's of Massa and Alonso.

Further back and Mark Webber had a terrible start before dropping down the order and eventually pitting on lap four for a new nose, at the same time Jenson Button was also in for a new front wing after suffering some contact.

Back to the front of the race and Rosberg was heavily defending his position to Massa, which bunched up the pack and allowed Alonso to get alongside him to pass. It certainly wasn't a case of Ferrari ordering the manoeuvre as both drivers were battling hard, so hard that Lewis Hamilton managed to take advantage and despite Massa pushing him almost onto the grass the McLaren got past.

With Vettel pitting from the lead for a new set of tyres, Rosberg led once again for a short period before losing the lead to Fernando Alonso.

Just as Hamilton was discussing the state of his tyres Hamilton closed in on Rosberg and took the position on lap 8.

As Massa lined up a move on Rosberg, Alonso pitted for new tyres handing the lead to Hamilton. Alonso returned to the track in ninth behind Webber who had pitted very early.

Webber's team-mate Vettel who had also pitted was making his way back through the order and was now fourth and within just a few seconds of Hamilton in the lead.

Hamilton pitted from the lead on lap 11, dropping down to eighth and handing Vettel the lead, but the German was already discussing blistering on his tyres after just four laps!

Rosberg was next to pit, but he had a slow stop and out in fourteenth.

The race began to settle a little on lap 12. Pole position man Vettel was back into the lead with Alonso second and Webber had recovered well from his poor start to get back up to third with Hamilton fourth.

On lap 13, Hamilton who had already over taken the Sauber of Kobayashi earlier on the lap, slightly drifted out-wide while taking his normal line, Kobayashi began to take the corner early and made contact with Hamilton. The result was a heavy impact for the McLaren into the barrier, ripping the nose off of Hamilton's car leaving the 2008 F1 champion winded and the safety car being deployed.

Some drivers took advantage of the safety car to make pit stops with the Pirelli soft tyre not lasting very long. This left Alonso leading with Webber second and Vettel third, but of course Vettel was now on new tyres and would hold the advantage over the next few laps and it wasn't long before the championship leader was back in front.

Further back and Michael Schumacher who had started last in twenty fourth was now seventh, while Jenson Button who started thirteenth and on the harder compound tyre had got up to eighth.

The former champions enjoyed a battle over laps 20 to 22, with Button eventually coming out on top.

Button was now looking racy and on the following lap he was all over the Force India of Sutil, the McLaren driver bided his time and within half a lap, he took sixth and was beginning to home in on the back of Ferrari's Massa in fifth.

On lap 25 a brave move down the outside of the final turn on Massa saw Button get passed despite a bit of contact and now Button's attentions were turning to Rosberg.

One lap later and Button was again on the move getting passed Rosberg for fourth. The leaders of Vettel, Alonso and Webber were eight seconds ahead of Button, but they were now beginning to slow with blistering tyres, while Button was now the fastest man on the track.

On lap 30 Fernando Alonso made his second stop of the race switching to the medium compound Pirelli tyre. The Ferrari re-entered the race in fourth, 2 seconds behind Button who was now third.

On lap 31 Vettel was next to pit also switching to the medium tyres, slotting in behind Button and in front of Alonso after a clean stop.

Webber pitted the very next lap, handing the lead to Button, but within moments, Vettel over-took Button to re-take the lead once again.

The pass was so easy that McLaren reacted immediately pitting on lap 33 to take a new set of soft tyres, Button dropped down to fourth, while Massa also pitted after picking up a puncture and the Brazilian dropped down to twelfth.

On lap 37 Mark Webber got past Fernando Alonso to take second place, while Jenson Button was also catching the Ferrari in the final stages.

Behind them there was also a battle for fifth and that was between the two Mercedes drivers of Rosberg and Schumacher.

Conveniently the live feed flicked to the team radio which announced that the drivers were free to race for the final six laps of the race. Rosberg had the position, but Schumacher had the faster softer compound tyre and Rosberg was in fuel saving mode.

The inevitable happened with two laps to go with Schumacher taking the position.

On the same lap Button caught and passed Alonso for a hard fought for third position.

If there had been a few more laps the Red Bull's may have been nervous in regards to Button's end of race pace, but with just a lap and a bit to go, Webber still had a four second cushion over the Brit.

Overall an eventful Belgian Grand Prix thanks to the Pirelli tyres which saw Vettel return to winning ways and with Mark Webber coming in behind securing Red Bull another one-two finish.

Button came home third, Alonso fourth, Schumacher 20 years since his debut finished fifth ahead of team-mate Rosberg in sixth.

Sutil, Massa, Petrov and Maldonado completed the top ten.
















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The Journalist

Writer: Red5 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Sunday August 28 2011

Time: 2:28PM

 

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