• Aug 28, 2011
Everyone deserves a little break once in a while. But once that vacation is over, it's time to get back to work.

For the Formula One circus, that break took the better part of a month, giving the drivers and their teams some much-needed R&R from the Hungarian Grand Prix that served as the eleventh of nineteen rounds the last weekend in July until this weekend's Belgian Grand Prix.

Now that they're back in business, it was back to the thrilling season that's unfolded so far and into the home stretch for the last two rounds in Europe before the show hits the road to races overseas. Follow the jump to find out how the race at Belgium's indispensable Spa-Francorchamps circuit went down.


A wet and tumultuous qualifying procession on Saturday left the grid in disarray. Though the top three positions were awarded much as you'd expect – with Vettel on pole, Hamilton in second and Webber in third – the rest of the starting grid held its share of surprises.

Bruno Senna, for starters, impressed on his first race start this season by qualifying seventh, Toro Rosso's Jaime Alguersuari just ahead in sixth, while Jenson Button was stuck in thirteenth. Felipe Massa showed rare form to land his Ferrari in fourth, while his team-mate Fernando Alonso could fare no better than eighth. Nico Rosberg qualified an impressive fifth, while his elder wingman Michael Schumacher lost his right-side rear wheel and was so was relegated to the back of the grid on the 20th anniversary of his first race.




Off the line at the race start, Rosberg impressively took the lead ahead of Vettel with Massa in third. Webber dropped down the field, Alonso jumped from 8th to 5th, and Schumacher immediately advanced from 24th to 14th. A collision between Senna and Alguersuari, meanwhile, saw the Renault driver drop to 22nd and the Toro Rosso retire on the opening lap.

By the second lap Vettel had already taken the lead back from Rosberg in an endless game of leap-frog that would see several drivers rotating at the head of the pack before the race was done. Behind them, meanwhile, both Alonso and Hamilton closed in to take third and fourth from Massa in the opening laps.

Lap 13 saw the end of Lewis Hamilton's race when the former champion was tangled up trying to move up the inside of Kamui Kobayashi's Sauber into the tight right-hander and was sent off across the grass and gravel and into the barrier.



With the safety car deployed a whole flurry of cars went in to the pit lane for their second tire swap. The race resumed with Alonso in the lead, a position he would lose back to Vettel a few laps later after his team-mate Massa surrendered fourth to Rosberg. All the while Jenson Button was working his way up the field from his thirteenth-place starting position all the way to the front by lap 30 when the leaders went in to pit for the last stint.

Vettel soon retook the lead once again in the closing laps as Webber and then Button pushed Alonso off the podium. All the while Sauber's Perez, HRT's Ricciardo and Toro Rosso's Buemi retired from the race one after another to join Hamilton and Alguersuari in the garages before the race was done. The closing laps also saw a heated intra-team battle between Schumacher and Rosberg, the elder statesman of the grid finally overtaking his junior team-mate to take fifth place.




Across the finish line Sebastian Vettel took his 17th grand prix win to further entrench the defense of his championship, while his team-mate Mark Webber joined him on the podium in second. Jenson Button took a well-deserved and hard-earned third place, with Alonso in fourth ahead of the two Mercedes GPs. Sutil, Massa, Petrov and Maldonado claimed the remaining points.

The results put Vettel even further into the lead with 259 points to Webber's 167 and Alonso's 157, McLaren's Button and Hamilton trailing in fourth and fifth with 149 and 146 points, respectively. Combined scores leave Red Bull in the lead for the constructors' title with 426 points to McLaren's 295 and Ferrari's 231. The circus heads next to Monza – one of the few tracks that's faster than this weekend's Spa – for the Italian Grand Prix in two weeks' time.


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  • 20 Comments
      EnzoHonda
      • 3 Years Ago
      Thanks for the picture that clearly shows Vettel getting blown. Good race overall. It's been a while since I've been able to be up to watch a race, so I'm glad it was Spa. It's difficult for there to be a dull race at Spa simply because of the track layout. The only disappointing thing about the race was when Coulthard and Brundle blamed Kobayashi for the incident when it was pretty clearly Hamilton's fault. Hamilton has even Twitted his acceptance of blame and apologized to Kamui. It's just a shame that Spa's going to be one of the "alternate year's" races in 2013 when it alternates with a French race.
      Tilps
      • 3 Years Ago
      Hamilton is real s*it magnet.
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      razrrick13
      • 3 Years Ago
      Regarding the Hamilton crash I do not think Kobayashi was at fault and he did not deserve a drive through. He held his line and Hamilton was the one who moved over to take a wider line into the corner and made contact with Kamui's front wing, sending him spinning into the wall. This kind of thing happens a little too often to Hamilton for it not to be his fault once in a while...
        msspamrefuge
        • 3 Years Ago
        @razrrick13
        On top of that, wasn't Kamui on the outside of an impending corner when that happened? Short of throwing himself into the wall (which he's probably had quite enough of from when Sauber couldn't keep the nose cone on the car in early 2010), there wasn't anything within reason he could've done to avoid that collision. Lewis' kamikaze line change was the beginning, middle, and end of his crash, and I'd have expected DC and Bundle to know better. Oh well.
          Rotation
          • 3 Years Ago
          @msspamrefuge
          It is up to a driver to make a clean pass. As he still had overlap with Kobayashi, it is as much his job to not hit Kobayashi as it is Kobayashi's to not hit him. As to the idea that Hamilton didn't turn toward the outside, that's ridiculous. Just watch the video. He may not have had intent to hit Kobayashi, but he did have intent to swing out to the outside and so that's what he did. But he didn't notice there was a car in that location already and thus there was a collision.
          lineside128
          • 3 Years Ago
          @msspamrefuge
          There wasn't anything Kobayashi could have done to avoid the collision, except back off because he had already been overtaken and beat into the corner. It was Kobayashi's fault. Regardless of whether Hamilton thought he had more room or not, Kobay was beat, and should have conceded the position.
          EuropaCar
          • 3 Years Ago
          @msspamrefuge
          "kamikaze line change" ???? Were we watching the same race? Lewis was drifting left for a while yes, but at no point did he make an erratic move. Kobayashi also turned in slightly earlier than Lewis, and that is what caused the crash. When you're behind, or on the outside of someone, your movements must be dictated by the driver in front. We see this all the time when a driver is "squeezed out" at the exit to a turn. But all that aside, from replays of Lewis' cockpit there was virtually no driver input, no conscious attempt to make a move towards Kobayashi.
          msspamrefuge
          • 3 Years Ago
          @msspamrefuge
          " He may not have had intent to hit Kobayashi. . ." I'm certain he didn't. But with regard to EuropaCar; it's almost, always suicide to move or even drift to the outside unless you're certain you're clear because if you're not, you're going for a spin at the very least.
        Rotation
        • 3 Years Ago
        @razrrick13
        Without comment about Hamilton's past, it was his fault in my mind. He didn't note he didn't have enough clearance on Kobayashi and he simply swung into him.
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      Rotation
      • 3 Years Ago
      Hamilton says upon review of the video the crash was 100% his fault. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/formula_one/14701797.stm He says he didn't realize that he wasn't clear of Kobayashi and thus when he moved over he caused the wreck.
        Elmo
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Rotation
        Pure class to admit that you were at fault. +1 to Mr. Hamilton.
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