Formula One, Belgian Grand Prix (Rd 11, 44 laps)
Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel cruised to an unchallenged victory at Spa-Francorchamps on Sunday, opening his title lead to 46-points over race runner-up Fernando Alonso.
From the outside of the front row, Vettel remained 2nd for a brief period, as the German racer simply drove by polesitter Lewis Hamilton on the Kemmel Straight, never to seen again. It was no easy victory for the Red Bull man, as he continued to push hard throughout the race, eventually winning by 16.8s, but it is not inconceivable to think several seconds could have been added to that gap.
A stunning start promoted Alonso from 9th to 5th on the opening lap, after which the Spaniard made relatively easy work of Jenson Button and Nico Rosberg. Alonso took advantage of a Hamilton error at the beginning of lap 14 to claim 2nd, with the Ferrari man gradually extending his gap to the Mercedes as strategies unfolded. There was little Hamilton could do – in terms of race pace, the Mercedes’ simply did not have the race pace; however the Englishman had done enough to claim his 56th podium.
Rosberg drove a quiet race to finish 4th ahead of Mark Webber, who could do little to challenge the Mercedes during the running. Button survived several challenges to claim 6th, helping McLaren to jump Force India in the Constructors’ Championship, while Felipe Massa assumed 7th for Ferrari and Romain Grosjean 8th for Lotus.
Adrian Sutil brought his Force India in 9th to score two valuable points as he efforts to save his drive for 2014, while Daniel Ricciardo came back from a poor qualifying to secure the final point after he dispatched the fading Sergio Perez late on.
The race was not without incident. A poor start dropped Paul di Resta into a midfield battle, where he would be clumsily taken out by Pastor Maldonado while dicing with teammate Sutil and Esteban Gutierrez. Perez copped a misjudged penalty early when stewards announced he had forced Grosjean off the road, when the latter had merely forgotten to brake. Kimi Raikkonen endured his first retirement since Germany 2009, effective rendering his championship challenge null and void.
GP2 Series (Rd 9, Spa-Francorchamps)
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GP3 Series (Rd 6, Spa-Francorchamps)
Check out this week’s GP3 Series report in Motorsport Monday magazine (p34-37) – completely free.