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2011 Formula 1 : Vettel wins in Spa to extend lead

Written By Nathen Bridgwater on Sunday, August 28, 2011 | 9:46 PM


2011 F1 - Belgian GP winner : Sebastian Vettel (GER), Red Bull Racing, RB7

SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS, Belgium : August 28, 2011 - Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) scored his seventh win of the season in the Belgian GP on Sunday to extend his championship lead.



2011 F1 - Belgian GP winner : Sebastian Vettel (GER), Red Bull Racing, RB7

The reigning world champion was off the pace during wet practice but came good in the dry qualifying session to take pole, but the race was not an easy one for him, after he was passed on the first lap and dropped back down the order later.

Team mate Webber came in second, 3.7 sec behind with an excellent drive taking Jenson Button (McLaren-Mercedes) from 13th on the grid to the podium. Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) was fourth.

Michael Schumacher (Mercedes) drove from the back of the grid to fifth, finishing a second ahead of team mate Nico Rosberg.

Vettel has extended his lead in the championship to 259 points ahead of Webber (167), Alonso (157), Button (149) and Hamilton (146).

Red Bull has a runaway lead in the constructors' championship with 426 points over McLaren (295) and Ferrari (231).

Rosberg made a blinding start from fifth on the grid at Spa-Francorchamps to lead at the end of the first lap. He streaked away from fifth place on the grid, passing third-placed Webber as if he was parked and challenging for the lead against Vettel into the first corner. Vettel stayed ahead but only as far as the back straight where Rosberg got into the slipstream and emerged to pass into the chicane.

Lewis Hamilton (McLaren-Mercedes) dropped from second to third behind Rosberg at the start while further back, Bruno Senna (Renault) outbraked himself into the first corner and smacked into the side of Jaime Alguersuari (Toro Rosso-Ferrari), breaking his front suspension and putting him out of the race.

Felipe Massa (Ferrari) got past Hamilton into third place on the first lap and the 2008 champion then had to start defending against Alonso.

At the end of the first lap, Rosberg was leading from Vettel, Massa, Hamilton, S├ębastien Buemi (Toro Rosso-Ferrari) and Sergio Perez (Sauber-Ferrari).

On the second lap, Alonso got past Hamilton on the back straight as Senna pitted for a new front wing and Heikki Kovalainen (Lotus-Renault) and Timo Glock (Virgin-Cosworth) also pitted to repair damage.

After wet practice and qualifying session, Sunday's race started under grey skies on a dry track with the air temperature at 16°C and the track at 24°C with humidity of 58%.

Most of the drivers elected to start the race on the softer option compound, but Jenson Button (McLaren-Mercedes) chose the harder option starting from 13th on the grid and hoping to go further before needing to stop for fresh tyres.

Vettel got past Rosberg into the lead on the second lap and then set a fastest lap of 1'55.708 as team mate Webber pitted for fresh tyres. Second-placed Rosberg had both Massa and Alonso looking for a way past him. Massa defended against Alonso, but Alonso got past and with Massa wrong-footed, Hamilton also got through and into fourth.

On lap 5, Vettel pitted for fresh soft tyres as Buemi pitted with a collapsed rear wing and retired.

On lap 6, Alonso moved past Rosberg into the lead after starting from eighth on the grid, and Hamilton also got past Rosberg to go second.

On lap 8, Alonso pitted and Hamilton took the lead and then pitted for fresh tyres on lap 10. Two laps later he came down the long back straight behind Kamui Kobayashi (Sauber-Ferrari) and used his DRS to pull out and draw alongside as the two braked for the Chicane. Both drivers aimed for the same piece of track and there was contact between the two cars, with Hamilton spearing off the track into the barriers and retirement. As a result the Safety Car was deployed.

On lap 15, with the field circuiting behind the Safety Car, Alonso was leading from Webber, Vettel, Massa, Rosberg, Adrian Sutil (Force India-Mercedes), Perez, Vitaly Petrov (Renault), Michael Schumacher (Mercedes) and Rubens Barrichello (Williams-Cosworth).

Button got past both Petrov and Perez in the run downhill out of the La Source hairpin into eighth while at the front, Vettel slipstreamed down the back straight past Alonso and held the lead into Les Combes.

There was a five-way dice for tenth between Perez, Barrichello, Pastor Maldonado (Williams-Cosworth), Paul di Resta (Force India-Mercedes) and Kobayashi, all covered by just two seconds.

Button had good pace and was lapping at the same times as the leaders and he next caught seventh-placed Schumacher and began trying to find a way past. On lap 21 he shadowed the German for most of the lap before out-braking him into the final chicane and emerging into the start/finish straight in seventh place. One lap later he got past Sutil into sixth.

Fifth-placed Massa was half a second a lap slower than Button and less than a second ahead and he was quickly reeled in. They arrived side-by-side at the final Chicane and Button hung on around the outside to emerge ahead and in fifth place, 16.3 sec behind race leader Vettel, who had 4.7 sec in hand over Alonso.

Button caught Rosberg a lap later and drove straight past him on the back straight to take fourth. His next target was third-placed Webber eight seconds ahead, with the Red Bulls suffering with blistering front tyres in this race.

Alonso pitted for fresh tyres on lap 29, choosing the harder compound.

Vettel and then Webber pitted too, releasing Button into the lead, but Vettel got past on fresher tyres to regain the lead. McLaren had no option but to follow Red Bull's strategy and pull in Button for fresh tyres, which they did on lap 32 with 12 laps remaining.

Massa pitted for tyres on lap 30 but had to return three laps later with a puncture, dropping to 11th place as Webber set a new fastest lap of 1'49.883.

Schumacher, who started from last place on the grid after his wheel came off in qualifying, got past Sutil on lap 34 to take sixth place.

Second-placed Alonso was lapping slower and was being caught by both Webber (+0.9) and Button (+7.6) with seven laps remaining. Webber got good drive out of Raidillon and swept past the Ferrari down the back straight.

Button was wearing down the 2.6 sec gap between himself and third-placed Alonso at over a second a lap with four laps remaining, while further back, Schumacher was right on the tail of team mate Rosberg in fifth place.

Barrichello ran in to the back of Kobayashi under braking for the chicane, with carbon-fibre panels flying off the cars.

Button caught Alonso down the back straight and drove around the outside of the Ferrari to take third place. Schumacher made an identical move to pass Rosberg into fifth place.

2011 Formula 1 : Belgian Gran Prix - Race Result



























Pos
No
Driver
Team
Laps
Time/Retired
Grid
Pts
1
1
Sebastian Vettel RBR-Renault
44
1:26:44.893
1
25
2
2
Mark Webber RBR-Renault
44
+3.7 secs
3
18
3
4
Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes
44
+9.6 secs
13
15
4
5
Fernando Alonso Ferrari
44
+13.0 secs
8
12
5
7
Michael Schumacher Mercedes
44
+47.4 secs
24
10
6
8
Nico Rosberg Mercedes
44
+48.6 secs
5
8
7
14
Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes
44
+59.7 secs
15
6
8
6
Felipe Massa Ferrari
44
+66.0 secs
4
4
9
10
Vitaly Petrov Renault
44
+71.9 secs
10
2
10
12
Pastor Maldonado Williams-Cosworth
44
+77.6 secs
21
1
11
15
Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes
44
+83.9 secs
17
12
16
Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari
44
+91.9 secs
12
13
9
Bruno Senna Renault
44
+92.9 secs
7
14
21
Jarno Trulli Lotus-Renault
43
+1 Lap
18
15
20
Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Renault
43
+1 Lap
16
16
11
Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth
43
+1 Lap
14
17
25
Jerome d'Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth
43
+1 Lap
20
18
24
Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth
43
+1 Lap
19
19
23
Vitantonio Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth
43
+1 Lap
22
Ret
17
Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari
27
Rear axle
9
Ret
22
Daniel Ricciardo HRT-Cosworth
13
Mechanical
23
Ret
3
Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes
12
Accident
2
Ret
18
Sebastien Buemi STR-Ferrari
6
Accident damage
11
Ret
19
Jaime Alguersuari STR-Ferrari
0
Accident damage
6

2011 Formula 1 : Drivers' Championship Standing































Pos
Driver
Nationality
Team
Points
1
Sebastian Vettel German RBR-Renault
259
2
Mark Webber Australian RBR-Renault
167
3
Fernando Alonso Spanish Ferrari
157
4
Jenson Button British McLaren-Mercedes
149
5
Lewis Hamilton British McLaren-Mercedes
146
6
Felipe Massa Brazilian Ferrari
74
7
Nico Rosberg German Mercedes
56
8
Michael Schumacher German Mercedes
42
9
Vitaly Petrov Russian Renault
34
10
Nick Heidfeld German Renault
34
11
Kamui Kobayashi Japanese Sauber-Ferrari
27
12
Adrian Sutil German Force India-Mercedes
24
13
Sebastien Buemi Swiss STR-Ferrari
12
14
Jaime Alguersuari Spanish STR-Ferrari
10
15
Sergio Perez Mexican Sauber-Ferrari
8
16
Paul di Resta British Force India-Mercedes
8
17
Rubens Barrichello Brazilian Williams-Cosworth
4
18
Pastor Maldonado Venezuelan Williams-Cosworth
1
19
Pedro de la Rosa Spanish Sauber-Ferrari
0
20
Jarno Trulli Italian Lotus-Renault
0
21
Vitantonio Liuzzi Italian HRT-Cosworth
0
22
Bruno Senna Brazilian Renault
0
23
Jerome d'Ambrosio Belgian Virgin-Cosworth
0
24
Heikki Kovalainen Finnish Lotus-Renault
0
25
Timo Glock German Virgin-Cosworth
0
26
Narain Karthikeyan Indian HRT-Cosworth
0
27
Daniel Ricciardo Australian HRT-Cosworth
0
28
Karun Chandhok Indian Lotus-Renault
0

2011 Formula 1 : Teams' Championship Standing















Pos
Team
Points
1
RBR-Renault
426
2
McLaren-Mercedes
295
3
Ferrari
231
4
Mercedes
98
5
Renault
68
6
Sauber-Ferrari
35
7
Force India-Mercedes
32
8
STR-Ferrari
22
9
Williams-Cosworth
5
10
Lotus-Renault
0
11
HRT-Cosworth
0
12
Virgin-Cosworth
0

[Source : F1-Official, McLAREN, SUPERSPORT.ZA, CRASH.NET]
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