What a start! If crashes are your game, then the Spa GP gave you that within 10 seconds of the start, with Grosjean (“Lotus”) clipping Hamilton (McLaren) then flying over Alonso’s Ferrari who then took out Perez (Sauber). Much deliberation by the stewards resulted in Grosjean being banned for the next race (Italian GP this weekend). A fair penalty? Review of the video footage shows Grosjean coming across Hamilton’s line, and his rear wheel hits Hamilton’s front. I would contend that despite Grosjean’s poor judgment, if Hamilton had braked and let him in, then the incident would not have occurred. Remember that this was on the run to the first corner, the corner where you do not win races, you only lose races. Asked about the accident by the BBC, Grosjean said, “It was a good start, then a big boom.” It certainly was!
The other enfant terrible Pastor Maldonado (Williams) looked as if he had done the start of the century from the third row of the grid, but like most things which look to be too good to be true, generally aren’t! It was judged to be a jump start, and the FIA has sophisticated electronics which can show this. That alone gave him a five place grid penalty for this Italian GP, but then Pastor had another of his brain fade moments and clobbered another car, putting himself out of the race and garnering another five place grid penalty on top of the other one. I am quite sure that it is only Maldonado’s USD 46,000,000 contribution to the Williams budget that keeps him in the seat. Or am I being cynical?
The star of the show was Jenson Button who was a clear head and shoulders above the rest at Spa. He was the only driver to dominate all three sections of Qualifying and then just ran away and hid, and was never challenged in the race. His team mate Hamilton really had the pouts all weekend, something he is good at. A wrong choice of wing left him floundering, but then he went public on Twitter where he posted a series of angry comments following the decision to use a different rear-wing to that of Button. “Damn, WTF!! Jenson has the new rear wing on, I have the old. We voted to change, didn’t work out. I lose 0.4 tenths just on the straight.” If that wasn’t enough he then published the data-logging sheets, where according to BBC Sport, “the telemetry sheet not only contained traces of the two drivers’ laps, showing where Hamilton was losing time to Button, but also information about the car’s settings, including sensitive data such as its ride height.” Hamilton is petulant and impetuous, I am afraid.
Other drivers worth a mention included “The Finger” Vettel (Red Bull) who scrapped his way into second and Raikkonen (“Lotus”) who fought a car which was not to his liking into third.
An interesting fight between Vettel and Schumacher (Mercedes) with both drivers giving everything. Vettel stating that “it doesn’t matter where you get Michael on the circuit, he will fight like hell – he hasn’t lost it.” He certainly has not, and if Ross Brawn could only come up with a half decent race car, you could expect to see Michael Schumacher on the podium top step.
Other drivers of note include Hulkenberg (Force India), Vergne and Ricciardo (Toro Rosso) who all finished in the top 10 and deservedly so.
Now let’s see what happens in Italy this weekend!