Alonso flies, Vettel wins

Sebastian Vettel wins the Belgian Grand Prix ahead of his toughest World Championship rival Lewis Hamilton.
Fernando Alonso says goodbye to a fatal accident, but he survives unhurt.
Here are the results of Formula 1.
By Philipp Schneider, Spa-Francorchamps
Sebastian Vettel flew with his Ferrari one last lap over the track. Once up the mountain, then back down into the valley. Once again, the centrifugal force pulled his body tremendously, in the many fast corners of Spa-Francorchamps. Even before this race Vettel had raved about how much fun the rage in the Ardennes makes, with the new racing cars, which have more downforce than before, so the curves can be driven faster. Now the fun was limitless. Because Lewis Hamilton, his rival, the championship leader, he flew though. But he could not keep Vettel’s pace. “The last 15 laps I could relax,” said Vettel, in the end he was allowed to cruise. “Today we proved that our car is stronger,” exulted Ferrari boss Maurizio Arrivabene.

Already in the first round Vettel had pushed past in his Ferrari to Hamilton, after it had given a violent start crash. “He overtook me as if I was not there,” said Hamilton, who looked at Vettel’s Ferrari immediately after the race and said, “They have some tricks in the car.” In the World Cup overall standings Vettel, whether with or without tricks, reduced the gap to 17 points. The next week is Monza. And nowhere else is cruising in a superior race car.

The rain is shaking up the qualifying
Mercedes and Ferrari have each presented in Spa the last stage of their engines for this season. There is now more power for Vettel and Hamilton. The Scuderia had already, in the second stage of development, a lead of 38 hp compared to Mercedes, which let the recent defeats of Vettel additionally painful. In Hockenheim he had slipped from the wet track, in Hungary Hamilton benefited from a downpour at the right time. The Briton was lucky twice. And on Saturday, in the first qualifying after the summer break, the phenomenon was repeated. It rained again at the right time. And again Hamilton was lucky.

At Spa we could see how much more complicated a qualification can be in times of complex hybrid engines. Especially when it begins to rain heavily, and then just as suddenly stops raining. The big question facing all teams when it started dribbling in the third qualifying session was: how long would it rain?

Vettel, who had the advantage of making his last attempt when Hamilton was back in the pits and the track had dried off, had a problem at the crucial moment: he ran out of energy. His battery, which is loaded when braking, was not full when he last circled. Because he split the energy into two quick final rounds, not just one. Like Hamilton. He had made a mistake in his penultimate attempt, which turned out to be a stroke of luck for him. So he could use his wasted attempt to maximally charge his battery for the final run. With seven-tenths of a second ahead he drove the pole.

In Spa, however, can be excellently overtake. The start is not only up to the first corner, the hairpin “La Source”. For the leader it remains dangerous. It goes through the depression “Eau Rouge”, steeply up the hill, then on the long straight “Kemmel”. Somewhere there, Vettel wanted to grab Hamilton. And there he grabbed him. But first, car parts sailed through the air. No, a whole McLaren flew around. The one by Fernando Alonso.


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