Hamilton storms to victory in Belgium

Lewis Hamilton battled through rain and incidents to claim his third Grand Prix win of the 2010 season in a chaotic Belgian Grand Prix.

Four drivers were forced to retire from the race, which was hit by rain throughout, including Hamilton’s McLaren teammate Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello of Williams, who would have been looking for a better end to his 300th Formula One race.
The Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium is notorious for its unpredictable weather, with most drivers saying that the course is the most challenging race track remaining in the F1 calendar, given that, while one side of the circuit can be dry, the other side can be wet as the site is so large.
After Mark Webber had started on pole after a good qualifying session the previous day, Hamilton will have been overjoyed to be leading the race going into the first corner. Webber had a poor start and Hamilton took full advantage, breezing past the Red Bull driver, as did Renault’s Robert Kubica.
Button, who started fifth on the grid, soon got himself into a decent position as eased past a troubled Kubica to take second. In the middle of all that Barrichello came into contact with Fernando Alonso, forcing the Brazilian to leave the race early.
The unpredictable rain did begin to come down on the third lap and, with Kubica still struggling for pace, Sebastien Vettel stormed through to take third position. The track was causing problems for most drivers and Alonso, who had already pitted after the Barrichello incident on the first lap, was forced to pit again only three laps later, sending the Spaniard towards the back of the pack in 20th position.
Hamilton was now flying. By the tenth lap the Englishman had gained a 5.6 second lead on Button in second, while the trio of Vitaly Petrov, Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher battled it out for the places of ninth to eleventh. Rosberg did have some damage to his front wing but managed to keep up with teammate Schumacher to pit at the end of the eleventh lap.
Button also had front wing damage but decided to delay his pit stop so that he could coincide that with changing his tyres, as news of more rain reached the track. As Button struggled with balance and speed Hamilton pulled away even further, gaining an 8.3 second lead on his teammate.
Button’s race was ended, however, when Vettel and the McLaren driver collided coming out of Blanchimont, with Vettel veering into Button on the wet surface. Vettel managed to go into the pits but Button’s race was over; a cruel twist of fate for Button, who admitted that the collision was a “massive blow”, both for the race and the season. Vettel did receive a drive-through penalty for the accident, although that will be no of consolation to Button who is now fourth in the Drivers’ Championship, thirty-five points behind Hamilton who, by the twenty-fourth lap, had gained a fifteen second lead on Kubica.
There was an interesting battle in the middle of the race standings as Adrian Sutil breezed past Michael Schumacher on the twenty-fifth lap while Vitantonio Luizzi and Vettel had a little coming together at the Bus Stop corner, with the Force India car taking a slice out of Vettel’s wheel resulting in a puncture for the Red Bull car, forcing Vettel to pit yet again.
Hamilton remained calm and relaxed throughout the race and, by the thirtieth lap, had created a 12.9 second gap between him and Kubica. As the rain began to pour, with Hamilton and Webber deciding to stay out on the track without changing tyres, Hamilton very nearly threw it all away at the Rivage with only nine laps to go.  He went into the gravel but, impressively, managed to divert the car away from smashing into the padded barrier. He kept his head, got back onto the track and resumed his race.
The final few laps were full of incidents, with Felipe Massa getting a corner all wrong and spinning his car into the barrier twice before being forced to leave his car lying horizontally across the track. The safety car was deployed and, when it left the track with three laps to go, Jarno Trulli did a full 180-degree turn, somehow managing to avoid passing cars as he spun.
With a lap to go Hamilton had a 1.7 second lead over Webber, who had passed Kubica five laps previously in the pit lane when the Renault driver seemed to miss the designated pit-area for his car. Hamilton, who has been known to throw races away in the past, was cool and calm going into the last few laps, leaving every other car behind him in his wake. Kubica did manage to obtain a third place finish, behind Webber, which sets the Drivers’ Championships up very nicely with only six races to go. The Monza Grand Prix is only two weeks away, though, and Button will be looking to move further up the leaderboard in Italy.


Webber Dominates Silverstone, But Hamilton Is Still Top

Mark Webber spoilt the British party as he stormed to a victory at the British Grand Prix. With a record crowd attending Silverstone, the majority were looking for a British win from either of the McLaren drivers, Lewis Hamilton or Jenson Button. 

Nevertheless, Webber had a great race and showed that, even though Red Bull seem to have picked their ‘favourite’, Webber is by-no-means the second best driver behind Sebastian Vettel. 

   After Vettel had started on pole, with Webber behind him, many expected another Red Bull one-two finish. The race, though, could not have been more thrilling.
   The excitement started on Friday. In the third practise session Jarno Trulli desperately tried to improve on the previous day’s efforts, after the Lotus driver only managed three full laps out of two practice sessions, with the Italian recording the lowest score of twenty-four drivers. Trulli, though, could only manage a lap time of 1:36.098, putting him twenty-first after the final practise. The English pairing of Hamilton and Button, who currently occupy first and second place in the Driver’s Championships respectively, had poor practises on Friday, with Hamilton in eighth and Button in thirteenth. The two Brits were frustrated once again in the final session on Saturday as they could only watch as the Red Bull pairing of Vettel and Webber in first and second correspondingly. The McLaren team recorded the seventh and twelfth fastest times.
   Red Bull’s persistent problems, though, were again evident in the final session before qualifying. The nose cone of Vettel’s car came loose on the entry to the 170mph Abbey corner late on.
   It was Vettel at the top once again after the first qualifying session, with Webber in second. Alonso followed him, with Hamilton in fourth and Button in seventh. The McLaren cars were again having problems out on the Silverstone track, with Hamilton going off-track going into a corner and Button struggling to keep up with the front-runners on the grid.
   It got even worse for Button, who couldn’t manage a top-10 finish in the second qualifying session. Hamilton made it through in seventh, with the Red Bull team again sitting at the top, not only after the second qualifying session, but after the third also, giving Red Bull yet another pole position in this year’s Driver’s Championships. Vettel started on pole for Silverstone, with British hopefuls Hamilton in fourth and Button in fourteenth.
   The race itself had a fantastic start. The two Red Bull cars went wheel-to-wheel right from the start, with Vettel being forced off-track and Webber steaming clear at the front. After the first lap, Felipe Massa and Vettel were forced to pit with punctures, giving Hamilton the chance to go second, behind Webber. Massa clashed with teammate Alonso at the start to damage his back tyre, with Alonso struggling to keep up with the rest of the pack. Button forced his way to eighth before the end of the second lap.
   Hamilton pitted after lap sixteen and exited just in front of teammate Button, and Webber pitted on the next lap. The Australian, though, was so far ahead of anyone that he came out of the pit lane still in first place. Webber was in control throughout the race and simply could not be caught, with Hamilton, Niko Rosberg and Button all trailing behind him. Vettel, though, was still struggling to make his way towards the front of the grid, although he did make his way past Michael Schumacher, who disappointed once again. Schumacher still hasn’t obtained a podium finish since he returned to the sport this season. Vettel then barged his way past Adrian Sutil to go seventh.
   It was Vettel’s teammate, though, who stole the show. Webber was at the front from the first lap and deserved the victory after obtaining fastest lap after fastest lap, giving Hamilton no chance, who was five seconds behind the Red Bull driver. Hamilton, though, remains at the top of the Driver’s Championships, twelve points ahead of Button, with Webber now five points behind Button.