Renault powers Vettel to majestic Spa victory
He secures second win in three years at Spa-Francorchamps
Sebastian Vettel used the Renault RS27 engine power to the full as he secured a dominant win in today’s Belgian Grand Prix. The triple world champion stormed past polesitter Lewis Hamilton on the long Kemmel straight on the first lap and was never headed. Sebastian had extended his lead to a comfortable 17secs by the end of the race to move further ahead in the drivers’ championship.
Infiniti Red Bull Racing team-mate Mark Webber started from third on the grid but lost three places at the start to Rosberg, Button and Alonso. Using a different tyre strategy to the leading pack he closed the gap to the top four and finished the race just four seconds adrift of Rosberg in fifth.
Romain Grosjean used a one stop strategy to finish in eighth overall after surviving an early tangle with Sergio Perez, which saw the Frenchman run off the road at Les Combes. Perez was handed a penalty for his part. Grosjean made his way through the pack and was in seventh until Massa found a way past in the late stages of the race. Kimi Raikkonen’s run of 27 points finishes sadly came to an end as the Finn retired with brake issues on lap 25.
Caterham F1 Team’s Giedo van der Garde was one of the stars of yesterday’s qualifying session. An inspired choice to change to slicks on a drying track put him 14th on the grid; a career best for the Dutchman. He fought hard with the Williams and Marussias throughout the race and held on to finish in 16th. Charles Pic’s race came to a premature end on lap 8 with an oil leak. With a new engine fitted for this race, the Frenchman was retired from the race to save damage to the RS27 unit.
After scoring its first point of the season in Hungary, Williams F1 Team missed out on a points-scoring finish today. Pastor Maldonado and Valtteri Bottas lost out in qualifying and started 17th and 20th respectively, which compromised the potential for the race. Maldonado was knocking on the door of the top 12 however an incident with the Force India of Paul di Resta called for a nose change and handed him a 10sec stop and go penalty. Ultimately Bottas finished 15th with Maldonado 17th.
Rémi Taffin, Renault Sport F1 head of track operations
Spa is perhaps the hardest test for the engine and for an engine-chassis package. Not only do the engines have to negotiate the long 20secs plus periods of wide open throttle, but numerous compressions and changes in altitude that put the internals under intense stress. Top speed is crucial, but giving the right levels of driveability out of the slower corners and uphill is just as important. For these reasons, getting the win and a further two Renault powered cars in the top ten is a really rewarding result; congratulations to Sebastian and to everyone at Milton Keynes.
We now go to Monza, which is again a power track, so it will be another tough one for the engines. However winning here sets a very high precedent!