Sunday, September 2, 2012

Post Race Analysis: 2012 Belgium Grand Prix

Four weeks of no Formula One ended finally with a comeback to the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps. A tough start to the weekend with a Belgian monsoon affecting running on both Friday practice sessions meant  a lot to be done on regarding setup and tyre strategies for qualifying ,albeit weather permitting. Saturday saw bright sunshine which continued throughout qualifying and the race on Sunday ; an anomaly at Spa-Francorchamps.

Jenson Button drove a very well "balanced" lap to put himself by a good margin on pole with Sebastian Vettel shockingly missing out from Q3, he would require 2 fingers to signal his grid position. Kamui Kobayashi drove superbly to put his Sauber on the front row of the grid as well with Pastor Maldonado delivering another surprising performance. Enthralling pace by Button ,especially considering he out-qualified Hamilton by 8 tenths ! Lewis has never been outpaced by any team-mate by such a margin in his Formula One career. He was absolutely devastated. 

He later ever so publicly rued this on having a different rear wing as compared to Jenson for the session . To add more insult , he later tweeted the team's telemetry analysis highlighting how he lost time on the straights. A little immature in my opinion.   The telemetry had details such as ride height , speed carried through corners etc . Essentially a report card of  both car's performance which in the hands of rival teams can effectively reveal their "Formula" of speed. Quite brash and immature in my opinion .

Race day on Sunday saw quite a few drivers moving back in the grid due to gearbox penalties received. As four weeks of utter boredom and distraught for Formula One fans finally ended , the 5 red lights illuminated and we were set for an action packed Belgian Grand Prix. 

And CRASH ! 

Romain Grosjean got it ever so wrong , weaving right in order to get the inside line of La Source squeezing Hamilton twice . Lewis had no where to go , the Lotus and McLaren collided with each other resulting in an absolute carnage of carbon fiber . Fernando Alonso and Pastor Maldonado meanwhile had both made good starts and were riling up an attack on the fore-runners down the Kemmel Straight but alas he picked up in the chaos and came ever so close to being decapitated. Essentially a sitting duck in the crash , it almost seemed jinxed that he would not equal Michael Schumacher's record of 24 races in the points. Really gutted for him and all his fans. The aftermath of the crash saw Lewis Hamilton absolutely livid with Grosjean and for 

As Jenson Button stormed at the front to build a conformable lead at the front , leaving a trial of a plethora of overtaking moves down the field The biggest winner after the first couple of laps was Mr. 300 Grand Prix's , although his pace eventually died down during the course of the race. Mercedes are a slow car , there is no doubting that . There was promise in the early part of the season with their Double DRS which was supposed to bear fruit in low downforce circuits such as Spa but to no avail . They are miles off the pace and have no excuse for such abysmal performances. 

The Driver of the day would a tough decision between Sebastian Vettel who started 11th and the race winner Jenson Button . Vettel was superb with his overtaking moves round the outside of the bus stop chicane , I suppose its one of those corners where there is a lot of grip on the outside off the traditional racing line , similar to the outside of Turn 1 at Suzuka. Vettel was Alonso-esque in maximizing the potential points after Alonso's failure . He benefited with a one-stop strategy and never put a foot wrong in the race. 

The King of Spa had a very disappointing race, never getting his tyres on. He was matching Vettel in his final stint even tough he was on considerable fresher tyres.

Interesting race for the Championship however as Fernando's lead has been cut down to 24 points . Vettel is now the straight contender in the fight . Even though McLaren has made it back to back victories , both their drivers have never capitalized as a whole when their car's performance has a par above the rest. This is something which they really need to do in order to overthrow Red Bull in the Constructor's Championship ; its a straight fight between them with Lotus and Ferrari fighting for the 3rd and 4th positions.

Looking forward in a week's time for the home of Ferrari and Italian motorsport , Monza baby !

The championship so far

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