2013-belgian-grand-prix-001
  • 2013-belgian-grand-prix-001
  • SPA, BELGIUM - AUGUST 25: The field prepares to get underway before the start of the Belgian Grand Prix at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on August 25, 2013 in Spa, Belgium. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
  • 2013-belgian-grand-prix-002
  • SPA, BELGIUM - AUGUST 25: Lewis Hamilton (left) of Great Britain and Mercedes GP leads the field into the first corner at the start of the Belgian Grand Prix at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on August 25, 2013 in Spa, Belgium. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
  • 2013-belgian-grand-prix-003
  • SPA, BELGIUM - AUGUST 25: Lewis Hamilton (C) of Great Britain and Mercedes GP leads the field into the first corner at the start of the Belgian Grand Prix at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on August 25, 2013 in Spa, Belgium. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
  • 2013-belgian-grand-prix-004
  • Drivers race at the start of the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Spa on August 25, 2013 during the Belgium Formula One Grand Prix. AFP PHOTO / TOM GANDOLFINITom Gandolfini/AFP/Getty Images
  • 2013-belgian-grand-prix-005
  • Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton leads after the start of the at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Spa on August 25, 2013 during the Belgium Formula One Grand Prix. AFP PHOTO / TOM GANDOLFINITom Gandolfini/AFP/Getty Images
  • 2013-belgian-grand-prix-006
  • Mercedes' German driver Nico Rosberg (C) drives ahead of McLaren Mercedes' British driver Jenson Button, Ferrari's Spanish driver Fernando Alonso and Red Bull Racing's Australian driver Mark Webber after the start of the at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Spa on August 25, 2013 during the Belgium Formula One Grand Prix. AFP PHOTO / TOM GANDOLFINITom Gandolfini/AFP/Getty Images
  • 2013-belgian-grand-prix-007
  • SPA, BELGIUM - AUGUST 25: Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Infiniti Red Bull Racing leads the field at the start of the Belgian Grand Prix at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on August 25, 2013 in Spa, Belgium. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
  • 2013-belgian-grand-prix-008
  • SPA, BELGIUM - AUGUST 25: Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Infiniti Red Bull Racing drives on his way to winning the Belgian Grand Prix at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on August 25, 2013 in Spa, Belgium. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
  • 2013-belgian-grand-prix-009
  • SPA, BELGIUM - AUGUST 25: Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Infiniti Red Bull Racing drives on his way to winning the Belgian Grand Prix at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on August 25, 2013 in Spa, Belgium. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
  • 2013-belgian-grand-prix-010
  • SPA, BELGIUM - AUGUST 25: Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Infiniti Red Bull Racing drives on his way to winning the Belgian Grand Prix at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on August 25, 2013 in Spa, Belgium. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
  • 2013-belgian-grand-prix-011
  • SPA, BELGIUM - AUGUST 25: Esteban Gutierrez of Mexico and Sauber F1 drives during the Belgian Grand Prix at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on August 25, 2013 in Spa, Belgium. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
  • 2013-belgian-grand-prix-012
  • Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany, left, and Mercedes AMG driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain steer their cars during the Belgian Formula One Grand Prix in Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Sunday, Aug. 25, 2013. Vettel finished first, Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso of Spain placed second and Hamilton third. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)
  • 2013-belgian-grand-prix-013
  • Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso of Spain steers his car during the Belgium Formula One Grand Prix at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit, Belgium, Sunday, Aug. 25, 2013. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
  • 2013-belgian-grand-prix-014
  • McLaren Mercedes driver Jenson Button of Britain, left, brakes to steer into the hairpin, as he chases Mercedes AMG driver Nico Rosberg of Germany, during the Belgian Formula One Grand Prix in Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Sunday, Aug. 25, 2013. Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany won the race, Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso of Spain was second, Mercedes AMG driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain became third. (AP Photo/Yves Logghe)
  • 2013-belgian-grand-prix-015
  • Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany, left, and Mercedes AMG driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain steer their cars during the Belgian Formula One Grand Prix in Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Sunday, Aug. 25, 2013. Vettel finished first, Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso of Spain placed second and Hamilton third. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)
  • 2013-belgian-grand-prix-016
  • Mercedes AMG driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain, background, chases Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso of Spain during the Belgian Formula One Grand Prix in Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Sunday, Aug. 25, 2013. Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany won the race, Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso of Spain was second, Mercedes AMG driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain came third. (AP Photo/Yves Logghe)
  • 2013-belgian-grand-prix-017
  • Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain, left, leads the field after the start of the Belgium Formula One Grand Prix at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit, Belgium, Sunday, Aug. 25, 2013. (AP Photo/Yves Logghe)
  • 2013-belgian-grand-prix-018
  • Sauber driver Nico Hulkenberg of Germany steers his car during the Belgium Formula One Grand Prix at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit, Belgium, Sunday, Aug. 25, 2013. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
  • 2013-belgian-grand-prix-019
  • Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany steers his car during the Belgian Formula One Grand Prix in Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Sunday, Aug. 25, 2013. Vettel finished first, Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso of Spain placed second and Mercedes AMG driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain third. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)
  • 2013-belgian-grand-prix-020
  • Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain leads his teammate Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg of Germany, McLaren Mercedes driver Jenson Button of Britain and Ferrari driver Felipe Massa of Brazil during the Belgium Formula One Grand Prix at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit, Belgium, Sunday, Aug. 25, 2013. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
  • 2013-belgian-grand-prix-021
  • Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen of Finland, top, chases Sauber driver Nico Hulkenberg of Germany during the Belgian Formula One Grand Prix in Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Sunday, Aug. 25, 2013. Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany won the race, Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso of Spain was second, Mercedes AMG driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain third. (AP Photo/Yves Logghe)
  • 2013-belgian-grand-prix-022
  • Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain leads the field after the start during the Belgium Formula One Grand Prix at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit, Belgium, Sunday, Aug. 25, 2013. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
  • 2013-belgian-grand-prix-023
  • Ferrari's Spanish driver Fernando Alonso and Mercedes' German driver Nico Rosberg drives at the Spa-Francorchamps ciruit in Spa on August 25, 2013 during the Belgium Formula One Grand Prix. AFP PHOTO / JOHN THYSJOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images
  • 2013-belgian-grand-prix-024
  • Lotus F1 Team's French driver Romain Grosjean and Lotus F1 Team's Finnish driver Kimi Raikkonen drives at the Spa-Francorchamps ciruit in Spa on August 25, 2013 during the Belgium Formula One Grand Prix. AFP PHOTO / JOHN THYSJOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images
  • 2013-belgian-grand-prix-025
  • Red Bull Racing's Australian driver Mark Webber and Mercedes' German driver Nico Rosberg drives at the Spa-Francorchamps ciruit in Spa on August 25, 2013 during the Belgium Formula One Grand Prix. AFP PHOTO / JOHN THYSJOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images
  • 2013-belgian-grand-prix-026
  • Ferrari's Spanish driver Fernando Alonso and Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton drive at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Spa on August 25, 2013 during the Belgium Formula One Grand Prix. AFP PHOTO / PATRIK STOLLARZPATRIK STOLLARZ/AFP/Getty Images
  • 2013-belgian-grand-prix-027
  • Ferrari's Spanish driver Fernando Alonso, McLaren Mercedes' British driver Jenson Button and Red Bull Racing's Australian driver Mark Webber drive at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Spa on August 25, 2013 during the Belgium Formula One Grand Prix. AFP PHOTO / PATRIK STOLLARZPATRIK STOLLARZ/AFP/Getty Images
  • 2013-belgian-grand-prix-028
  • Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton, Red Bull Racing's German driver Sebastian Vettel and McLaren Mercedes' British driver Jenson Button drive at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Spa on August 25, 2013 during the Belgium Formula One Grand Prix. AFP PHOTO / PATRIK STOLLARZPATRIK STOLLARZ/AFP/Getty Images
  • 2013-belgian-grand-prix-029
  • Sauber's German driver Nico Hulkenberg and Lotus F1 Team's Finnish driver Kimi Raikkonen drive at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Spa on August 25, 2013 during the Belgium Formula One Grand Prix. AFP PHOTO / PATRIK STOLLARZPATRIK STOLLARZ/AFP/Getty Images
  • 2013-belgian-grand-prix-030
  • Red Bull Racing's Australian driver Mark Webber and McLaren Mercedes' British driver Jenson Button drive at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Spa on August 25, 2013 during the Belgium Formula One Grand Prix. AFP PHOTO / PATRIK STOLLARZPATRIK STOLLARZ/AFP/Getty Images
  • 2013-belgian-grand-prix-031
  • Mercedes' German driver Nico Rosberg and Ferrari's Spanish driver Fernando Alonso drive at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Spa on August 25, 2013 during the Belgium Formula One Grand Prix. AFP PHOTO / PATRIK STOLLARZPATRIK STOLLARZ/AFP/Getty Images
  • 2013-belgian-grand-prix-032
  • Scuderia Toro Rosso's Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo drives at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Spa on August 25, 2013 during the Belgium Formula One Grand Prix. AFP PHOTO / PATRIK STOLLARZPATRIK STOLLARZ/AFP/Getty Images
  • 2013-belgian-grand-prix-033
  • McLaren Mercedes' Mexican driver Sergio Perez and Ferrari's Brazilian driver Felipe Massa drive at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Spa on August 25, 2013 during the Belgium Formula One Grand Prix. AFP PHOTO / PATRIK STOLLARZPATRIK STOLLARZ/AFP/Getty Images
  • 2013-belgian-grand-prix-034
  • Lotus F1 Team's French driver Romain Grosjean and Lotus F1 Team's Finnish driver Kimi Raikkonen drive at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Spa on August 25, 2013 during the Belgium Formula One Grand Prix. AFP PHOTO / PATRIK STOLLARZPATRIK STOLLARZ/AFP/Getty Images
  • 2013-belgian-grand-prix-035
  • Ferrari's Brazilian driver Felipe Massa and Lotus F1 Team's French driver Romain Grosjean drive at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Spa on August 25, 2013 during the Belgium Formula One Grand Prix. AFP PHOTO / PATRIK STOLLARZPATRIK STOLLARZ/AFP/Getty Images
  • 2013-belgian-grand-prix-036
  • Ferrari's Brazilian driver Felipe Massa (R) and Lotus F1 Team's French driver Romain Grosjean drive at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Spa on August 25, 2013 during the Belgium Formula One Grand Prix. AFP PHOTO / PATRIK STOLLARZPATRIK STOLLARZ/AFP/Getty Images
  • 2013-belgian-grand-prix-037
  • Force India's German driver Adrian Sutil and McLaren Mercedes' Mexican driver Sergio Perez drive at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Spa on August 25, 2013 during the Belgium Formula One Grand Prix. AFP PHOTO / PATRIK STOLLARZPATRIK STOLLARZ/AFP/Getty Images
  • 2013-belgian-grand-prix-038
  • Sauber's German driver Nico Hulkenberg and Scuderia Toro Rosso's French driver Jean Eric Vergne drive at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Spa on August 25, 2013 during the Belgium Formula One Grand Prix. AFP PHOTO / PATRIK STOLLARZPATRIK STOLLARZ/AFP/Getty Images
  • 2013-belgian-grand-prix-039
  • Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton, Red Bull Racing's German driver Sebastian Vettel and McLaren Mercedes' British driver Jenson Button drive at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Spa on August 25, 2013 during the Belgium Formula One Grand Prix. AFP PHOTO / ALEXANDER KLEINALEXANDER KLEIN/AFP/Getty Images
  • 2013-belgian-grand-prix-040
  • Track marshalls remove the car of Force India's Scottish driver Paul di Resta at the Spa-Francorchamps ciruit in Spa on August 25, 2013 during the Belgium Formula One Grand Prix. AFP PHOTO / JOHN THYSJOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images
  • 2013-belgian-grand-prix-041
  • Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany celebrates as he wins the Belgian Formula One Grand Prix in Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Sunday, Aug. 25, 2013. Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso of Spain placed second and Mercedes AMG driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain third. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)
  • 2013-belgian-grand-prix-042
  • SPA, BELGIUM - AUGUST 25: Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Infiniti Red Bull Racing celebrates as he crosses the finishing line to win the Belgian Grand Prix at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on August 25, 2013 in Spa, Belgium. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
  • 2013-belgian-grand-prix-043
  • SPA, BELGIUM - AUGUST 25: Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Infiniti Red Bull Racing celebrates in parc ferme after winning the Belgian Grand Prix at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on August 25, 2013 in Spa, Belgium. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
  • 2013-belgian-grand-prix-044
  • Red Bull Racing's German driver Sebastian Vettel celebrates in the parc ferme at the Spa-Francorchamps ciruit in Spa on August 25, 2013 after the Belgium Formula One Grand Prix. AFP PHOTO / ALEXANDER KLEINALEXANDER KLEIN/AFP/Getty Images
  • 2013-belgian-grand-prix-045
  • Winner, Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany, center, Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso of Spain, left, who finished second, and third placed Mercedes AMG driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain, right, spray champagne as they stand on the podium after the Belgian Formula One Grand Prix in Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Sunday, Aug. 25, 2013. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)
  • 2013-belgian-grand-prix-046
  • SPA, BELGIUM - AUGUST 25: Race winner Sebastian Vettel (C) of Germany and Infiniti Red Bull Racing stands alongside second placed Fernando Alonso (L) of Spain and Ferrari and third placed Lewis Hamilton (R) of Great Britain and Mercedes GP as protestors unveil a flag below the podium following the Belgian Grand Prix at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on August 25, 2013 in Spa, Belgium. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
  • 2013-belgian-grand-prix-047
  • Red Bull Racing's German driver Sebastian Vettel celebrates on the podium at the Spa-Francorchamps ciruit in Spa on August 25, 2013 after the Belgium Formula One Grand Prix. AFP PHOTO / JOHN THYSJOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images
  • 2013-belgian-grand-prix-048
  • Red Bull Racing's German driver Sebastian Vettel celebrates on the podium at the Spa-Francorchamps ciruit in Spa on August 25, 2013 after the Belgium Formula One Grand Prix. AFP PHOTO / JOHN THYSJOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images
  • 2013-belgian-grand-prix-049
  • SPA, BELGIUM - AUGUST 25: Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Infiniti Red Bull Racing celebrates on the podium after winning the Belgian Grand Prix at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on August 25, 2013 in Spa, Belgium. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
  • 2013-belgian-grand-prix-050
  • SPA, BELGIUM - AUGUST 25: Race winner Sebastian Vettel (2nd right) of Germany and Infiniti Red Bull Racing celebrates alongside second placed Fernando Alonso (left) of Spain and Ferrari, third placed Lewis Hamilton (right) of Great Britain and Mercedes GP and Michael Manning (2nd left) of Infiniti Red Bull Racing on the podium following the Belgian Grand Prix at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on August 25, 2013 in Spa, Belgium. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
  • 2013-belgian-grand-prix-051
  • (L to R) Ferrari's Spanish driver Fernando Alonso, Red Bull Racing'strackside control engineer Michael Manning, Red Bull Racing's German driver Sebastian Vettel and Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton celebrates on the podium at the Spa-Francorchamps ciruit in Spa on August 25, 2013 after the Belgium Formula One Grand Prix. AFP PHOTO / JOHN THYSJOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images
  • 2013-belgian-grand-prix-052
  • Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany, 2nd left, Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso of Spain, left, and Mercedes AMG driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain drink champagne as they stand on the podium after the Belgian Formula One Grand Prix in Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Sunday, Aug. 25, 2013. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)
  • 2013-belgian-grand-prix-053
It's been four weeks since we last saw a Formula One race, when Lewis Hamilton improbably put his Mercedes-AMG Petronas in P1 in Hungary. Even more improbably, he held onto the first spot at the finish of the race, ahead of Kimi Räikkönen in the Lotus and Sebastian Vettel in the Infiniti Red Bull.

Resuming the season at Belgium's Spa-Francorchamps circuit this weekend, Hamilton picked up his recent – and just as improbable – pole-setting form by putting the Mercedes in P1 for the fourth time in a row. The effort came during a qualifying session visited by intermittent rains and dry spells, his 54th trip to the front of the pack, tying Niki Lauda.

But neither the fireworks and surprises, the mid-field full of backmarkers, nor the tire strategies and timing choices changed the mission for the drivers in with a chance at the title: finish in front of Vettel.



The saying goes that if it rains one on day of the Belgian Grand Prix weekend, it will rain all weekend. That didn't happen this year, the wetworks from Friday and Saturday staying away on Sunday. When the lights went green, Hamilton got a terrific start, Vettel just a beat behind, the latter turning quickly to defense mode against Mark Webber and Nico Rosberg. Vettel kept his second spot around the first turn, and by the entry to Eau Rouge, he was done with defending and lining up Hamilton for a pass. By the exit of Eau Rouge, he was putting his front wing under Hamilton's gearbox. A few hundred meters down the Kemmel Straight, Vettel was pulling up next to Hamilton, by the time they were done with the next corner, Les Combes, Vettel was past and gone.

By the end of the first lap, Vettel had a 1.5-second lead, and each lap saw him add another 1.5 seconds to his lead until, on lap three, 4.5 seconds ahead, his race engineer told him, "Save your tires, we don't need any more than this."



Hamilton wasn't troubled by anyone behind for the next ten laps until Fernando Alonso put his Ferrari in the Mercedes' rearview mirror on Lap 11. Alonso was diplomatic about his Ferrari's performance after qualifying, but a lackluster showing left him in ninth and Felipe Massa in tenth. Still, Alonso said he thought he could win the race from ninth, and he didn't exactly look like a liar as he worked his way around Hamilton on Lap 15 to take second place.

That meant that one-third of the way into the 44-lap race, the final podium was locked in. But that didn't stop the action elsewhere, for good reasons and bad.



Sergio Perez in the McLaren was given a stop-go penalty for pushing Romain Grosjean in the Lotus off the track while heading into Les Combes. Strangely, Toro Rosso's Jean-Eric Vergne wasn't punished for a very similar incident with Sauber's Nico Hülkenberg later in the race. Perez finished in 11th after starting 13th and could have got some decent points if not for the incident. Grosjean finished in eighth after trying a one-stop strategy. The Lotus is very good on its tires, but even so, he couldn't post strong enough lap times on a long circuit that has the cars at full throttle almost four-fifths of a lap.



His teammate Räikkönen didn't make it to the end of his race, but he did make it to the end of his luck. Before Belgium, the Finn had finished 38 straight races going back to his last year in the sport with Ferrari, and finished 27 of those in the points. Coming into Chicane at the end of Lap 26, Räikkönen drove straight off the track, a message "You're out of brakes" explaining why he immediately crossed the track into the pit lane and retired. Before the break, Räikkönen had said that he'd have to start winning races to have any chance of winning the driver's title. Instead of doing that, his retirement, and Vettel's win, dropped him to fourth in the standings behind Vettel, Alonso and Hamilton.

Paul di Resta was also cursed this race. The Scot has been trying to revive his fortunes after a run of team errors and poor qualifying performances, and looked to have done it after a gamble in the Q3 qualifying session saw him take the early pole time before the rains came. The weather cleared in Q3 a few minutes before the end, the drying track giving the big teams a chance to get ahead of him, but di Resta still started fifth on the grid. The Sahara Force India didn't really have the race pace, though, and he was soon running just outside the top ten.



On Lap 28, during a five-way battle with teammate Adrian Sutil, Gutiérrez, Nico Hülkenberg in the second Sauber and Pastor Maldonado in the Williams, the bunch was going through Chicane when Sutil, turning left to catch the second apex, cut across Maldonado's nose and tore off the latter's front wing. Di Resta was coming up on Maldonado's outside when it appeared that Maldonado decided to head across the track into the pits. The Williams drove straight into di Resta's left rear wheel, immediately ending the Scotsman's race. Incredibly, Maldonado would get to the pits, get a new front wing – and a drive-through penalty – and finish the race in 17th.



Every race should begin with a question about Mark Webber's drive: Which issue will kill Webber's chance of a win? The choices would be, A) A poor start, B) A KERS failure, C) Some other mechanical issue or D) "The pace just wasn't there." That list could address almost every race in Webber's recent career. In Belgium, the answer was A, when a clutch issue at the start saw him go backward at the green lights. He would finish in fifth, two spots down from where he started.



The top ten at the finish was Vettel, Alonso, Hamilton, Rosberg – who started fourth, Webber, Button – who started sixth, Massa, Grosjean, Sutil and Ricciardo. The Aussie in the Toro Rosso had quite the drive, a team mistake in qualifying getting he and Vergne kicked out in Q1. Ricciardo passed Perez in the final laps for the single point, and to make another point to the bosses at Red Bull that perhaps he should get Webber's vacant seat next year. There was a bit of excitement after the race when Webber told the BBC in an interview that a driver had been chosen for Red Bull and it "was a good decision for Australia," which everyone took to mean that Ricciardo got the seat. Neither the team nor Ricciardo has said anything, though, so that's all just rumor for now.

There's no question about the challenge for the rest of the season, however. Vettel won by 16 seconds after being told to speed up because of potential rain, then slow down again when the rain didn't come, and he said he still had pace left in the car. His 31st win puts him even with Nigel Mansell on the all-time list and gives him 197 points in this year's Driver's Championship, followed by Alonso at 151, Hamilton at 139 and Raikkonen at 134.



Over in the Constructor's Standings, Red Bull now has 312 points, Mercedes is a distant second at 235, followed by Ferrari with 218 and Lotus with 187.

The last European leg comes in two weeks at Monza, where Hamilton says the Mercedes will probably struggle again, and Alonso will be hoping the home-field juju gives him a chance to take some points from Vettel. The way things went in Belgium, though, it looks like the only hope for every title aspirant would be Infiniti Red Bull getting the same result it got at Monza: a double DNF.

We'll see you then.


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 23 Comments
      TrippulG3
      • 2 Years Ago
      I hate to say it, but this year's driver's championship is pretty much over after this. A DNF or other non-points finish by Vettel is certainly possible, and is really the only way that this battle will be close. The problem is, if Lewis wins, or Alonso wins, then Rosberg picks up a win, or maybe Kimi...they're all taking points away from each other, and all Vettel needs to do is just keep finishing in the points with say a 5th or higher, and he'll easily waltz away to his 4th straight title. Looking forward to the new regulations next year, hopefully they'll shake things up and end RBR's stranglehold on both titles.
        ~Al
        • 2 Years Ago
        @TrippulG3
        Yeah, hope Mercedes really make new breakthrough next year. And, it would be nice to see Kimi replaces Alonso or Massa on Ferrari. This way, 2 most exciting to watch racer will end Newey/engineer wins.
      carboy55
      • 2 Years Ago
      Sebastien Vettel = Jimmie Johnson = Championship Machine
        ~Al
        • 2 Years Ago
        @carboy55
        Great equation. So it happens in Nascar too, eh? Honda also dominating MotoGP, but at least Marquez is a real rider compared to Vettel.
      StephenT
      • 2 Years Ago
      I really thought Di Resta was going to pull it off in qualifying. That gamble of going out on inters almost worked. He just needed it to get a little wetter towards the end of the session. Too bad Maldonado canceled out a pretty good qualifying effort. Vettel just disappeared into the distance right from the start of the race. He was in a different league Sunday. Too bad about the Kimster's race finishing streak coming to an end.
        Narom
        • 2 Years Ago
        @StephenT
        "He was in a different league Sunday." No, his car was. As it always bloody is. Turning into another Schumacher affair.
          ~Al
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Narom
          Yeah, his CAR is what makes the racer.
          RocketRed
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Narom
          Webber was in the same car as Vettel. Massa was in the same car as Alonso. How did those guys do? Arguably, Irvine, Barichello, Massa, were closer to Schumacher than Webber is to Vettel now. I'm no Vettel fan (can you tell?) but give him his due.
          HH112233
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Narom
          Haha, and here Gentlemen, we have the typical defense reaction of people not seeing a legend in the making. “ITS ALL THE CAR”… Keep on doing what you’re doing Sep. YOU are in your own league. It’s a blast to watch you drive the wheels off the Red Bull! Oh yeah, and Schumi is by far the best F1 racer, EVER :-).
          Myself
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Narom
          Senna's car was the best in the field. So I guess Senna's also just an average driver in the best car... And Senna also failed to win the title outside McLaren. Now do you realize how rubbish is your comment?
      TrippulG3
      • 2 Years Ago
      Also, regarding this race...the officiating seemed VERY inconsistent to me. As the article mentioned, to give Perez a penalty for his move on Grosjean (I thought it was a drive-through, not a stop & go, but I could be wrong), and then to have a nearly identical incident occur when Vergne forced Hulkenberg off and no penalty was given...made no sense. Also, the commentators on NBCSN touched on the Maldonado incident, and I have to say I agree with them. Why give him a 10-second stop & go, when his race is already ruined and he had no chance of finishing in the points anyway? A more appropriate measure would have been to give him a grid place penalty for the next race at Monza. Personally, I don't feel like Maldonado should even be allowed on an F1 grid at all, but that's another story...
      safeerexus
      • 2 Years Ago
      Vettel has had a super competitive car since 2009 which Alonso never had & anyone who watched the 2010 & 2012 seasons in their entirety will know that Alonso should've won both years if it weren't for Ferrari's screw ups. Let Vettel drive a mediocre car & we'll see how good he is against Alonso, Hamilton & Raikkonen. It's no secret that Bernie is a huge supporter of Vettel & I suspect that he has been masterminding some sort of championship "fixing" since 2010...
        Angela
        • 2 Years Ago
        @safeerexus
        Haha, YES thats it! Bernie "the puppet master" is behind it all! Alonso and Ferrari down talk their car and everybody is believing it. Vettel would be just as successful in the Ferrari. He is better in sorting out the car and working with the team, and he has more skill than Hamilton and Alonso. Alonso the self-proclaimed Samurai and Hamilton the equal of the great late Senna... Oh yeah, and Vettel did drive a mediocre car and did win (the only win Torro Rosso ever recorded).
      Tony Mejia
      • 2 Years Ago
      Are Vettel and Webber car exactly the same? Or is Vettel getting all the new upgrades while Webber gets used parts. If anybody noticed Webber pittstops were slower Yesterday.
        Myself
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Tony Mejia
        Cars are the same. It's just Vettel is faster than Webber. Just like Alonso is faster than Massa. Red Bull wants to win the constructor title and you need two high scoring cars for that. See, they got F1 money for the constructor championship, not driver's crown.
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
    • Load More Comments
    Share This Photo X