August 25, 2013

(Mini) F1 Update!: Belgium 2013

There were grey skies above Spa all race, but not once did it rain.  That's a shame, because a bit of rain might have turned this into something of a race.  THIS is your (Mini) F1Update! for the 2013 Grand Prix of Belgium!

*THE RACE: For roughly thirty seconds, it looked like we had a good race in stock.  The lights went out, polesitter Shiv Hamilton made a good start and stayed in front of hard-charging Hannibal Vettel into La Source and through Eau Rouge.  At the start of the Kemmel Straight, however, the Red Bull got a tow from the Mercedes, swept past, and never looked back.  By the end of the first lap, even though he had to pass to take the lead and thus didn't have the entire lap to work with, Vettel had a 1.5 second lead.  A few laps later, it was up to seven seconds, and it became clear that Red Bull had a ridiculously low downforce setup on the car.  That's a safe gamble at, say, Monza, where it almost never rains, but at Spa?  A single drop of rain would send the RB9 sliding into the Ardennes Forest. 

But it didn't rain, and Vettel just ran away with the race.  His tires lasted longer than anybody else, the lack of downforce didn't hurt him at all, and he had a 15 second lead at one point.  It would have been bigger, but the team told him to dial it back, and for once, he listened.  The final podium was Vettel, Ferrari's HWMNBN (who had a great race from 9th), and Hamilton.

*SO WHAT DOES THIS ALL MEAN?
:  Nothing good.  Red Bull's weakness in the past has been the faster tracks.  Their naturally high downforce levels have always meant they've been slower than most everybody in a straight line.  If they can run with almost no rear wing and still have enough grip to survive in the fast sweeping turns of Spa, what are they going to be able to do at the next race at Monza?

*ALL THE REST:  Kimi Raikkonen retired from the race today with brake failure.  This was his first retirement since he returned to F1, some 38 races.  It was also his first non-points-paying finish in 27 races.  This dropped him to fourth in the Driver's Championship race, from second.  He's now behind Hamilton in 3rd, and HWMNBN in 2nd.  Mind you, that's 46 points behind in 2nd.

Greenpeace protested the SHELL sponsorship of the race and tried to disrupt the podium ceremony.  They managed to trigger two small remote-control banners, one of which made it on-camera for a moment.  If you're curious, there is footage on youtube of it; we won't link to it. 

*FINALLY:  We here at F1U! appreciate our readers' patience as we go through this most busy of times at work.  We'll do better next time, two weeks from now at Monza!  See ya then!

Posted by: Wonderduck at 07:13 PM | Comments (11) | Add Comment
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