Tag Archives: Red Bull

FOTA in doubt after Red Bull and Ferrari pull out

Red Bull and Ferrari are to leave FOTA in February

Red Bull and Ferrari are to leave FOTA in February

The future of the Formula One Teams Association is in doubt, after both Ferrari and Red Bull Racing announced their departure from the group.

Disputes have arisen over the last few weeks regarding the future of the Resource Restriction Agreement (RRA), which has attempted to limit how teams spend their money in Formula 1.

However, the top 4 teams – Red Bull, McLaren, Mercedes and Ferrari – have all been accused recently about overspending and breaking the RRA. The departure of two of the largest teams in the sport confirms that a deal has not been found, and F1 will have a brand new controversy to talk about over the winter.

It must be noted that a team must serve a 2-month notice before it is to leave the association, so Red Bull and Ferrari will technically leave the group in February, providing some time to try and find a solution to this issue.

Ferrari attempted to explain their reason for leaving:

"Ferrari has informed FOTA President Martin Whitmarsh that it is leaving the 
organisation made up of the teams competing in the Formula 1 World Championship.

It was a difficult decision and a great deal of thought went into it. It was 
taken reluctantly after analysing the current situation and the stalemate when 
it came to debate on some issues that were at the core of why the association 
was formed, indeed with Ferrari and Luca di Montezemolo as the main instigator 
and promoter of ideas. It’s not by chance that the President of the Maranello 
company held that same position and job title within FOTA up to the end of 
2009.

Some of the major achievements of the association during these years, also 
worked out in conjunction with the FIA, centred around cost reduction, which 
was of significant benefit to everyone, the big teams and the small ones.

Ferrari was on the front line in this area, even before the birth of FOTA and 
it intends to continue down this route to ensure the sustainability of the 
sport in the long term. Now however, it is necessary to find some new impetus 
to move it along because FOTA’s drive has run its course, despite the excellent 
work of current President, Martin Whitmarsh in trying to reach agreement 
between the various positions for the common good.

Ferrari will continue to work with the other teams to make the current RRA, 
Resource Restriction Agreement, aimed at controlling costs, more effective and 
efficient, modifying it to make it more stringent in key areas such as 
aerodynamics, to rebalance some aspects such as testing and to expand it to 
areas currently not covered such as engines.

Formula 1, like the rest of the world in fact, is currently going through a 
delicate period. Ferrari wants to work with all parties for the future of a 
sport that expresses the highest level of motor sport technology.

We must return to a situation where Formula 1 is really a test bed for 
advanced technological research, the results of which can be transferred to 
Granturismo cars. In addition, we must not forget that this sport must become 
more user friendly and more accessible to the general public and furthermore, 
it cannot be the only professional sport where it is practically impossible to 
do any training: the number of days of testing must be increased so that the 
drivers, especially the young ones who lack experience and the teams, can be 
adequately prepared, as well as providing more opportunities for them to come 
into contact with spectators and sponsors."

Autosport has stated that these top 4 teams are to meet privately to try to reach an agreement.

The last time FOTA was in such a crisis was 2009, when Williams and Force India were thrown out of the organisation, in the midst of the budget cap controversy.

Young driver test Day 3 – Three out of three for Vergne

Vergne topped the timesheets every day

Vergne topped the timesheets every day

Jean-Eric Vergne has topped the third and final young driver test in Abu Dhabi, similar to Daniel Ricciardo last year.

The Frenchman was only 4 tenths of a second slower than Sebastian Vettel’s pole position time here last week. He led Sam Bird and Jules Bianchi by well over 2 seconds.

Bird tested 2012-spec exhausts for Mercedes, which do not feature any off-throttle blowing of the diffuser like this year.

Oliver Turvey drove the McLaren all day, replacing Gary Paffett from yesterday. Max Chilton was 5th, ahead of Esteban Gutierrez and Mirko Bortolotti, who was testing for Williams.

Kevin Ceccon was 8th for Toro Rosso, ahead of Alexander Rossi for Lotus. Jan Charouz drove a Renault today, taking 10th, while Stefano Coletti was ahead of Nathanael Berthon. Virgin again split their running between Robert Wickens and Charles Pic, with both drivers finishing at the back.

Teams ran using a mixture of 2011 and 2012 Pirelli tyres on a variety of fuel loads.

Times from day 3:

 1.  Jean-Eric Vergne     Red Bull-Renault       1:38.917
 2.  Sam Bird             Mercedes GP            1:40.897
 3.  Jules Bianchi        Ferrari                1:41.347
 4.  Olivier Turvey       McLaren-Mercedes       1:41.513
 5.  Max Chilton          Force India-Mercedes   1:41.575
 6.  Esteban Gutierrez    Sauber-Ferrari         1:42.049
 7.  Mirko Bortolotti     Williams-Cosworth      1:43.277
 8.  Kevin Ceccon         Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1:43.686
 9.  Alexander Rossi      Lotus-Renault          1:44.283
10.  Jan Charouz          Renault                1:44.470
11.  Stefano Coletti      Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1:44.545
12.  Nathanael Berthon    HRT-Cosworth           1:45.839
13.  Robert Wickens       Virgin-Cosworth        1:45.934
14.  Charles Pic          Virgin-Cosworth        1:46.348

Young driver test Day 2 – Vergne still on top

Vergne finished day 2 on top again

Vergne finished day 2 on top again

Jean-Eric Vergne again headed the timesheets for the young driver test in Abu Dhabi.

A time of 1:40.188 in the morning was enough to secure the Frenchman top spot, despite sensor and KERS issues in the afternoon.

Ferrari test driver Jules Bianchi was again 2nd, but this time was only 0.091 seconds behind the Red Bull. Gary Paffett drove the McLaren for the entire day, and was 3rd, albeit 1.5 seconds slower than Vergne. He caused the only red flag of the day, when his McLaren spilled oil on the track.

Valterri Bottas was 4th for Williams, ahead of newest F1 debutant Johnny Cecotto Junior, driving for Force India. Sauber reserve driver Esteban Gutierrez was 6th.

Sam Bird was 7th for Mercedes, ahead of newcomer Kevin Korjus, driving for Renault. Luiz Razia was 9th for Lotus, with Kevin Ceccon 10th for Toro Rosso.

HRT split their running between Jan Charouz and Nathanael Berthon, who finished 11th and 13th respectively – Berthon only driving for the final half hour. Virgin shoe-in Charles Pic was 12th.

Times from day 2:

 1.  Jean-Eric Vergne     Red Bull-Renault      1:40.188
 2.  Jules Bianchi        Ferrari               1:40.279   0.091
 3.  Gary Paffett         McLaren-Mercedes      1:41.756   1.568
 4.  Valtteri Bottas      Williams-Cosworth     1:42.367   2.179
 5.  Johnny Cecotto Jr    Force India-Mercedes  1:42.873   2.685
 6.  Esteban Gutierrez    Sauber-Ferrari        1:43.637   3.449
 7.  Sam Bird             Mercedes GP           1:43.734   3.546
 8.  Kevin Korjus         Renault               1:43.776   3.588
 9.  Luiz Razia           Lotus-Renault         1:43.944   3.756
10.  Kevin Ceccon         Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1:44.808   4.620
11.  Jan Charouz          HRT-Cosworth          1:46.644   6.456
12.  Charles Pic          Virgin-Cosworth       1:46.698   6.510
13.  Nathanael Berthon    HRT-Cosworth          1:48.646   8.458

Vettel pips McLarens to Abu Dhabi pole

Sebastian Vettel pulled out another last-gasp lap to steal pole position off Lewis Hamilton in qualifying for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Jenson Button was 3rd, just 0.009 seconds off his teammate. Mark Webber was 4th, with the Ferraris 5th and 6th. Here is what happened:

Q1

Both Williams cars will start on the back row

Both Williams cars will start on the back row

Rubens Barrichello failed to set a lap time in his Williams, after suffering an oil leak earlier on that day. He will start in 24th place alongside his teammate, who took a 10-place penalty for an engine change.

With this, there was no shootout to see what midfield car would be knocked out. Both Felipe Massa and Michael Schumacher went out on soft tyres late on in Q1, but abandoned their laps when it became clear Rubens wasn’t taking part.

Heikki Kovalainen out-qualified Jarno Trulli for the 15th time this year, while Daniel Ricciardo did well to out-perform both his teammate and Jerome D’Ambrosio.

Drivers knocked out in Q1:

18) Heikki Kovalainen – 1:42.979

19) Jarno Trulli – 1:43.884

20) Timo Glock – 1:44.515

21) Daniel Ricciardo – 1:44.641

22) Jerome D’Ambrosio – 1:44.699

23) Vitantonio Liuzzi – 1:45.159

24) Rubens Barrichello – No time set

Q2

Schumacher passes a stray bollard

Schumacher passes a stray bollard

The Red Bulls and McLarens battled it out at the top of the timesheets for a while, before the red flags came out.

Felipe Massa, and then Jenson Button, had dislodged a bollard at Turn 8, and it landed on the racing line. When racing resumed, Hamilton remained ahead of Sebastian Vettel at the top.

Pastor Maldonado was 17th, and with his grid penalty, will start on the back row alongside his fellow Williams driver.

Both Force Indias made it through to Q3, while a mistake by Sebastien Buemi ensured he only qualified 13th.

Drivers knocked out in Q2:

11) Sergio Perez – 1:40.874

12) Vitaly Petrov – 1:40.919

13) Sebastien Buemi – 1:41.009

14) Bruno Senna – 1:41.079

15) Jaime Alguersuari – 1:41.162

16) Kamui Kobayashi – 1:41.240

17) Pastor Maldonado – 1:41.760

Q3

Vettel heads both McLarens for tomorrow's race

Vettel heads both McLarens for tomorrow's race

Q3 saw a fantastic shoot-out between the McLarens and Vettel, each driver just pipping the other after every lap.

A cooling track resulted in times being slower than in Q2. Lewis initially led Sebastian going into the final run, but Jenson Button threw himself into the mix by taking top spot on his final lap.

Hamilton then snatched the lead back, but only just – a gap of 0.009 seconds separated the McLarens. However, just when it looked as if it could be a McLaren front row lockout, Vettel smashed his Red Bull into pole position by 0.141 seconds.

It was his 14th pole position this year, equalling Nigel Mansell’s record from the 1992 season. However, it must be considered that there were only 16 races that year.

Interestingly, while Vettel and Button managed to go faster in Q3 despite the dropping temperatures, Lewis Hamilton felt that his Q2 lap was much better.

Mark Webber and the two Ferraris of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa never challenged for pole, each finishing 4th, 5th and 6th. Nico Rosberg was 7th, with Michael Schumacher and Adrian Sutil considerably further back. Paul di Resta was the only driver not to set a time.

Vettel romps home with 10th victory of the year in Korea

Sebastian Vettel has taken his 10th victory of the year at the Korean Grand Prix, while Red Bull have sealed up the constructors’ championship.

Vettel took the lead on the first lap from Lewis Hamilton, who held up Mark Webber and Jenson Button for most of the second half of the race, preventing any chance of a battle for the lead. Fernando Alonso spent most of his race battling with Felipe Massa, eventually finishing 5th. Here is what happened:

Hamilton leads at the start, but not for long

Hamilton leads at the start, but not for long

At the start, Hamilton retained his lead to the first corner, while Felipe Massa leaped up to 4th place. The Red Bull refused to stay behind though, and out-braked Lewis into Turn 4, taking the lead. Jenson Button slipped from 3rd to 6th position.

While Lewis stuck to the back of Vettel, the main battle was between Webber, Massa and Alonso for 3rd, with Button clinging to the back of this group. After an excellent first few laps, Felipe was now backing his teammate into Jenson.

Button opted not to pass, and pitted on Lap 14, taking on new super-softs. However, he was released alongside Nico Rosberg, with the Mercedes taking the position. While Button sliced past him at pit exit, the excellent straight line speed of Rosberg’s car allowed him to retake the place.

Mark Webber pitted for primes, alongside Felipe Massa. After losing much time to the race leader, Hamilton took on new options on Lap 16, while Fernando Alonso decided on the soft compound.

Petrov launches into Schumacher, taking both cars out

Petrov launches into Schumacher, taking both cars out

Despite indicating a different strategy during qualifying, Vettel took on super-softs at his stop. This timed perfectly with a sudden safety car deployment, for an incident at Turn 3. Vitaly Petrov messed up his braking, and launched into the back of Michael Schumacher, damaging the Renault’s front wing and breaking the steering arm, while Schumacher lost his rear wing. Both cars retired that lap, and Alonso was lucky not to be taken out in the crash.

After the safety car pitted, Button had moved up to 4th, and was challenging Webber for 3rd place. Kamui Kobayashi soon pitted for a front wing change, after hitting the back of Bruno Senna.

After several laps of tussling, a lock-up by Rosberg allowed both Ferrari cars through. Up at the front, Vettel held off Hamilton, while Webber closed in on both of them. Lewis’ tyres soon began to heavily wear, allowing Vettel to tear away, and allowed Mark to close up behind.

Hamilton and Webber both pitted on Lap 34, retaining their positions and taking on prime tyres. The two cars tussled it out in the midfield, while Vettel and Button pitted, oblivious to the cameras.

Vettel seals the second constructors title for Red Bull

Vettel seals the second constructors title for Red Bull

While Webber struggled to pass the McLaren, Alonso pitted from the lead, dropping to 5th, but moving ahead of Massa. As the race progressed, Mark still failed to get past Hamilton, while Button and Alonso joined the increasing queue.

Oddly enough, Webber kept moving off line at Turn 1, preventing any chance at using DRS down the main straight. This continued up until the end of the race, ensuring that Vettel comfortably took the chequered flag.

The stream of cars behind retained their positions, while Jaime Alguersuari, quiet but fast the entire race, swept past Nico Rosberg on the final lap to take 7th place. His teammate Sebastien Buemi was 9th, after a very good day for the Toro Rosso team.

Button wins, while Vettel seals title in Suzuka

Vettel retains his lead, while the McLarens switch places

Vettel retains his lead, while the McLarens switch places

Sebastian Vettel is the new 2011 Formula 1 world champion!

The German driver finished 3rd in today’s Japanese Grand Prix, with Jenson Button winning the race, ahead of Fernando Alonso. Vettel lost the lead at the second round of pit stops, then fell behind the Ferrari later on. However, with no obligation to race for the win, he calmly sat back and clinched his second world title. Here is the full report:

At the start, Button made the best getaway, but was blocked by the Red Bull in front. This allowed Lewis Hamilton to sweep around the outside of Turn 1 and take 2nd place. Local hero Kamui Kobayashi slipped to 12th.

However, Button was less than pleased with the German’s move, and was complaining to his team for a penalty. Fernando Alonso easily moved past teammate Felipe Massa for 4th place.

While Lewis clung on to Vettel at the start, he appeared to slow with a slow puncture on Lap 9. He pitted, releasing Button to catch the Red Bull.

Buemi's race ends in the gravel trap

Buemi's race ends in the gravel trap

Sebastian pitted on Lap 10, while Button and Alonso picked up the pace. Both cars, plus Mark Webber, all stopped the following lap. Once the running order calmed down, it became clear that Hamilton had lost two places from his tyre problems.

Sebastien Buemi became the first retirement of the day, as a faulty wheel came off during his pit stop, and the Toro Rosso coasted to a halt in the gravel trap.

The gap between first and second was only 2 seconds, while the top 6 were separated by just 9 seconds. Oddly enough, it soon became apparent that Lewis Hamilton was again struggling with his tyres, allowing Felipe Massa and Mark Webber to give chase behind.

Vettel’s tyres wore off quicker than expected, with both Red Bulls pitting on Lap 20 – with only a few seconds between each pit stop. Jenson followed the same strategy, and emerged just ahead of the championship leader.

Within a few laps, the safety car was deployed. As Felipe Massa tried a move on Lewis Hamilton at the final chicane, Lewis squeezed the Ferrari and broke off a piece of Massa’s front wing, which landed in the middle of the track. The debris was causing cars to swerve to avoid it under braking, and the situation was deemed unsafe.

The safety car pitted after several laps, and Jenson tore away by over half a second per lap. Nico Rosberg continued his ascent through the field, pushing Vitaly Petrov aside to take 11th.

After being reeled in by Alonso, Vettel chose to switch to the harder tyre on Lap 34. Webber followed the tyre call the following lap, indicating heavy tyre wear by the Red Bulls.

Sebastian emerged behind Adrian Sutil, getting badly held up for a lap before passing the Force India. Despite being on the prime tyre, he set the fastest sector 1 time the next lap, prompting Button to bring forward his stop.

Button wins, while Vettel causes the biggest celebrations

Button wins, while Vettel causes the biggest celebrations

Fernando Alonso pitted two laps later, and emerged ahead of Vettel. Meanwhile, Hamilton made a slightly more safe pass on Massa on the pit straight. For a few laps, Michael Schumacher was actually granted the lead of the race due to the pit stop, the German leading a race for the first time since the 2006 Japanese Grand Prix.

However, he soon pitted, slipping to 6th. Meanwhile, the battle for 2nd place began to heat up, with Vettel attempting several passes on Alonso, with the Ferrari driver cutting Sebastian off at every opportunity. Soon though, these battling cars began to catch Jenson Button at quite a considerable rate.

With 5 laps to go, the gap between first and second was 2.1 seconds. However, Jenson was able to pull out enough pace to maintain the gap to Fernando behind.

Sebastian Vettel celebrates back-to-back championships

Sebastian Vettel celebrates back-to-back championships

Button crossed the line to take an excellent victory, while Sebastian Vettel clinched the title from 3rd place. Interestingly enough, Jenson pulled over after the chequered flag, indicating the McLaren was extremely short on fuel.

The podium celebrations featured three world champions, one of which had just become the youngest ever back-to-back winner. After 9 wins out of 15 races, it is without doubt that it has been a fantastic season for the young German.

Vettel dominates Italian Grand Prix

Sebastian Vettel led nearly every lap of the Italian Grand Prix, and extended his near-unbeatable points lead. Fernando Alonso took the lead at the start, but was quickly beaten by the Red Bull within a few laps.

Liuzzi loses control and slams into Petrov and Rosberg

Liuzzi loses control and slams into Petrov and Rosberg

At the start, Fernando Alonso made a miracle start, taking to the grass to leap into the lead. At the back, an out of control HRT launched into several cars, including Nico Rosberg, Kamui Kobayashi and Vitaly Petrov. Daniel Ricciardo failed to start off the grid, while Bruno Senna and Kobayashi pitted for soft tyres.

The safety car peeled off the track on Lap 3, and the racing recommenced. Sebastian glanced at the lead at the second chicane, but Fernando was having none of it. Michael Schumacher swept past a slow-starting Lewis Hamilton for 3rd.

Even without DRS, Vettel shoved his way past Alonso – using the grass like the Ferrari did at the start. Mark Webber tried a move on Felipe Massa, but ended up clipping the back of Massa, taking off the Red Bull’s front wing, and spinning the Ferrari.

Later that lap, Webber crashed into the barriers as a result of the damage. The battle for 2nd place soon emerged, as Alonso began to lose pace. After being held up for several laps, Lewis Hamilton tried to pass Schumacher for 3rd, but the Mercedes wouldn’t back down.

As Button joined the back of this group, the McLaren’s strategies were becoming ruined, as Alonso and Vettel sailed into the distance. Lewis desperately tried to get past, but was pushed onto the grass, allowing Button through. The Variente Ascari gave Jenson the opportunity to take 3rd, which he graciously accepted.

Michael pitted at the end of Lap 17, setting the McLarens free to chase Alonso. Jenson opted to stop a lap later, followed closely by Hamilton on Lap 19. However, he emerged behind Schumacher, to his utter disgust. Alonso pitted on Lap 20, but was now 15 seconds behind the race leader.

Round 2 of Hamilton vs Schumacher begun, with the Mercedes cutting off the McLaren at every opportunity. Lewis got beside Michael on every single lap, but excellent straight-line speed kept Schumacher in front.

Eventually, after nearly 20 laps of tussling, Michael succumbed to Hamilton, and the McLaren moved into 3rd. Meanwhile, the other McLaren was now challenging Fernando Alonso for 2nd.

Once the Ferrari began to pick up pace near the end of the stint, Button took to the pits. Both Alonso and Hamilton pitted a lap later, with the positions remaining the same. An error by Fernando allowed Jenson to take the position a lap later.

With Vettel miles in front, and Button having good pace in 2nd, the focus switched to the battle for 9th. Sebastien Buemi on the primes struggled to hold back Bruno Senna on options, who had pitted on the first lap after the carnage. A brave dive down the inside of the Toro Rosso granted the Renault 9th place.

Hamilton was on the back of Alonso on the last lap, but just didn’t have enough pace to pass the Ferrari. This left Vettel free to take his second victory at the Italian Grand Prix, with Button 2nd and Alonso clinging on to 3rd.

Lewis Hamilton must have been disappointed with 4th, Michael Schumacher 5th and Felipe Massa 6th. Jaime Alguersuari has become the 9th driver in a row to take points after qualifying 18th, finishing 7th. Paul di Resta was 8th, Bruno Senna 9th, with Sebastien Buemi finishing off the top 10.

The Lotuses were an excellent 13th and 14th, with Maldonado heading Barrichello for 11th and 12th. Timo Glock was 15th, and Daniel Ricciardo was unclassified, after finishing the race 14 laps behind Vettel.

In theory, Sebastian could now wrap up the title at the Singapore Grand Prix in two weeks time.

Vettel leads Red Bull 1-2 in Belgium

Rosberg slices up the field, while Webber falls back at the start

Rosberg slices up the field, while Webber falls back at the start

Sebastian Vettel has won the Belgian Grand Prix, after a safety car period granted him a tyre strategy advantage. He led home teammate Mark Webber, with Jenson Button taking an excellent 3rd after having started 13th.

Exactly like last year, Mark Webber bogged down at the start, and was swamped by the cars behind. Nico Rosbrg made a stunning start, slicing up to 2nd at the first corner, and taking Sebastian Vettel at Les Combes to take the lead.

However, on Lap 3, Vettel retook the lead with the help of DRS. Replays showed Bruno Senna making contact at the first corner, Alguersuari breaking his suspension, and the Lotuses making contact.

Both Lotuses clash at La Source

Both Lotuses clash at La Source

Both Webber and Jenson Button pitted on Lap 4, Jenson for a rear wing, Mark for prime tyres. With Vettel released into the lead, a 4-way battle emerged for 2nd. Fernando Alonso dived down the inside of his teammate for 3rd, but ran alongside him for several corners. He got past, and Lewis Hamilton muscled his way past Massa also.

As well as an extra pit stop, Bruno Senna would soon receive a drive-through

As well as an extra pit stop, Bruno Senna would soon receive a drive-through

Vettel pitted on Lap 6, taking on new options. Bruno Senna and Timo Glock both received a drive-through penalty for causing a collision at the start.

A fantastic straight-line speed advantage gave Alonso the lead at Rosberg’s expense. Hamilton was on Nico’s tail the next lap, passing with him at ease after Eau Rouge.

Vettel was flying on the new options, as Alonso followed the strategy on Lap 9. He emerged just ahead of Mark Webber, but the Australian shoved his way through – at the entry to Eau Rouge.

DRS wasn’t even necessary for Fernando, his Ferrari’s speed allowing him to slide past the Red Bull. Vettel made an incredible move around the outside of Blanchimont to pass Rosberg – who hadn’t even pitted yet.

Lewis Hamilton turns into Kamui Kobayashi

Lewis Hamilton turns into Kamui Kobayashi

Hamilton pitted from the lead, leaving Sebastian in control again. However, he was soon complaining of blistered tyres, and Alonso in 2nd was picking up the pace. The safety car was to close the gap, as Lewis Hamilton crashed out of the Grand Prix. The McLaren moved off the racing line to defend against Kamui Kobayashi. The Sauber took the racing line to attack,, Lewis moved back in, without realising the Sauber was there, and collided.

This safety car allowed Vettel to pit and not lose too much time, but he still succumbed the lead to Alonso, with Webber 2nd. When the safety car peeled into the pits, Vettel moved past Webber, and pushed to challenge Alonso for the lead.

Assisted by DRS, Sebastian passed the Ferrari around the outside of Les Combes. Sergio Perez was handed a drive-through penalty for causing a collision, while Jenson Button got past Michael Schumacher for 7th place. A brave dive around Adrian Sutil the following lap promoted him to 6th. Another brilliant move then pushed him past Felipe Massa.

Being no slouch, the McLaren quickly made mincemeat of Nico Rosberg on Lap 26. Button was now the fastest man on track, and chasing down the top 3 drivers.

Alonso pitted from 2nd on Lap 30, taking on the primes until the finish. Vettel made the same move a lap later, emerging behind Button. Rosberg and Massa stopped on the same lap.

Sebastian used DRS to retake the lead on Lap 32. Button decided to pit, and take on fresh soft tyres. This left Vettel being chased by Alonso for the race win, with Webber 5 seconds behind.

However, the options gave Webber a massive increase in pace, catching Fernando by a second per lap. He leaped past the Ferrari on Lap 37, then set his sights on Sebastian Vettel.

However, it quickly became apparent that he lacked the pace to catch his teammate, and so the focus turned to the battle for 3rd. With 3 laps to go, Button replicated his previosu passes, and moved around the outside of Les Combes to clinch the final podium spot. In a similar fashion, Michael Schumacher overtook Rosberg for 5th position.

Vettel recovers from poor tyres to cross the chequered flag

Vettel recovers from poor tyres to cross the chequered flag

Vettel crossed the line to take his first win since the European Grand Prix. Fernando Alonso took 3rd in the driver’s championship, while Button moved into 4th ahead of Hamilton.

Adrian Sutil finished 7th. Felipe Massa passed Vitaly Petrov on the last lap to take 8th, with the Russian pulling over on the pit straight. Hooligan of the week, Pastor Maldonado, took his first points in Formula 1 with 10th place.

Vettel snatches pole for Belgian Grand Prix

Sebastian Vettel will start on pole position for tomorrow’s Belgian Grand Prix. Lewis Hamilton was set to take pole, but will start 2nd, with Mark Webber 3rd. Bruno Senna, in his first qualifying session for Renault, took a fantastic 7th place. Here is the full report:

Q1

Schumacher hits the wall after his wheel detaches

Schumacher hits the wall after his wheel detaches

As the cars left the pits for their first laps on intermediate tyres, a crash disrupted the session. Michael Schumacher was on an out lap, when his back right wheel detached, and the Mercedes spun and crashed into the barriers.

While the double yellows were out straight away, the session continued. Lewis Hamilton was the fastest in the first few minutes with a 2:09.506.

Within minutes though, that time had been reduced by 3 seconds. With 8 minutes to go, Mark Webber posted a 2:04.481.

Both McLarens soon topped that, Jenson Button taking a 2:01.813. The track was drying out, but not quickly enough for drivers to put on the slick tyres. Both Ferraris pitted with 3 minutes to go, while the Force Indias took on new sets of intermediates.

A spin by Paul di Resta on his penultimate lap, and Heikki Kovalainen pushed him into the drop zone.

Michael Schumacher will start 24th, the worst qualifying performance in his entire career.

Drivers knocked out in Q1:

18) Paul di Resta – 2:07.758

19) Jarno Trulli – 2:08.773

20) Timo Glock – 2:09.566

Outside 107% rule

21) Jerome D’Ambrosio – 2:11.601

22) Vitantonio Liuzzi – 2:11.616

23) Daniel Ricciardo – 2:13.077

24) Michael Schumacher  – No time

Q2

Another accident - this time it's Sutil in the wall

Another accident - this time it's Sutil in the wall

Intermediates were still the way to go, as Q2 began. A small shower of rain before the session slowed the cars a little, with the fastest time being a 2:06 by Webber.

However, with 7 minutes to go, the red flag was thrown for the second crash of the day. Adrian Sutil used too much kerb at the exit of Eau Rouge, spun and hit the left-hand side barriers.

The cars all queued up as the session restarted, with all the drivers looking to get a quick lap in before potential rain.

Before any cars could start their laps, medium intensity rain hit part the circuit. In 11th position, Fernando Alonso braved the conditions to go fastest, pipping Sebastien Buemi and Vitaly Petrov.

However, the times soon began to crash once again – Vettel posting a 2:03.317. Pastor Maldonado was held up by a Lotus car, then Lewis Hamilton pushed him aside on the final corner on a last-gasp run. Maldonado was forced to stay 16th, while Hamilton went fastest.

Pastor wasn’t finished with Lewis yet, though. On their cool-down lap, Pastor swerved into Lewis’ car, damaging the McLaren. The stewards are investigating the incident.

Bruno Senna took a fantastic 5th place, while Fernando Alonso took top spot. Jenson Button allowed his teammate past on the final lap, and was unable to post a faster lap, dropping out of Q2.

Drivers knocked out in Q2:

11) Sebastien Buemi – 2:04.692

12) Kamui Kobayashi – 2:04.757

13) Jenson Button – 2:05.150

14) Rubens Barrichello – 2:07.349

15) Adrian Sutil – 2:07.777

16) Pastor Maldonado – 2:08.106

17) Heikki Kovalainen – 2:08.354

Q3

Senna excelled to take 7th position in the dry conditions

Senna excelled to take 7th position in the dry conditions

An interesting tyre situation emerged at the start of Q3, as the drivers took on soft tyres on a damp track. Felipe Massa running into a gravel trap just showed how difficult the conditions were.

Alonso set a 1:54.550, while Webber went 8 tenths faster. Sebatsian Vettel struggled slightly to 4th position.

Webber soon improved to a 1:50. Lewis Hamilton, carrying sticky tape on his sidepods after the clash with Maldonado, went 3rd.

Webber and Hamilton’s times continued to crash as they entered the final lap. Mark made a mistake at Pouhon, allowing Lewis to post the fastest time as the chequered flag fell. However, Vettel crossed the line half a second faster than anybody else, snatching pole position out of the McLaren’s hands.

Felipe Massa was 4th, well ahead of Alonso in 8th. Nico Rosberg was 5th, while it was an amazing qualifying session for Jaime Alguersuari and Bruno Senna, taking 6th and 7th respectively.

Times in Q3:

1) Sebastian Vettel – 1:48.298

2) Lewis Hamilton – 1:48.730

3) Mark Webber – 1:49.376

4) Felipe Massa -1:50.256

5) Nico Rosberg – 1:50.552

6) Jaime Alguersuari – 1:50.773

7) Bruno Senna – 1:51.121

8 ) Fernando Alonso – 1:51.251

9) Sergio Perez – 1:51.374

10) Vitaly Petrov – 1:52.303

Webber leads second practice before rain arrives

Webber took advantage of a brief dry period to go fastest

Webber took advantage of a brief dry period to go fastest

Mark Webber nipped in a fast lap just before a rain shower to head second practice in Belgium.

The session began in damp conditions, as the Renaults of Petrov and Senna traded fastest laps. As the track dried out, most of the frontrunners decided to test out their long-range strategies on the harder (medium) tyre.

However, the prospect of further rain forced drivers to take on the soft tyre earlier than expected. Mark Webber posted a 1:50.321 to take top spot, ahead of Fernando Alonso.

Both McLarens were 3rd and 4th, while Sebastian Vettel was only 10th after not setting a time on the option tyre.

Hulkenberg and Sutil in 8th and 9th were separated by 0.026 seconds. A steering issue left Vitaly Petrov in the pits during the dry conditons, and the Russian ended up in last place.

Times from FP2:

 1.  Mark Webber         Red Bull-Renault      1:50.321           22
 2.  Fernando Alonso     Ferrari               1:50.461  + 0.140  18
 3.  Jenson Button       McLaren-Mercedes      1:50.770  + 0.449  9
 4.  Lewis Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes      1:50.838  + 0.517  9
 5.  Felipe Massa        Ferrari               1:51.218  + 0.897  14
 6.  Nico Rosberg        Mercedes              1:51.242  + 0.921  22
 7.  Sergio Perez        Sauber-Ferrari        1:51.655  + 1.334  20
 8.  Nico Hulkenberg     Force India-Mercedes  1:51.725  + 1.404  17
 9.  Paul di Resta       Force India-Mercedes  1:51.751  + 1.430  8
10.  Sebastian Vettel    Red Bull-Renault      1:51.790  + 1.469  13
11.  Michael Schumacher  Mercedes              1:51.922  + 1.601  22
12.  Pastor Maldonado    Williams-Cosworth     1:52.750  + 2.429  20
13.  Kamui Kobayashi     Sauber-Ferrari        1:52.780  + 2.459  25
14.  Jaime Alguersuari   Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1:52.911  + 2.590  24
15.  Sébastien Buemi     Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1:53.009  + 2.688  24
16.  Rubens Barrichello  Williams-Cosworth     1:53.156  + 2.835  17
17.  Bruno Senna         Renault               1:53.835  + 3.514  20
18.  Jarno Trulli        Lotus-Renault         1:55.051  + 4.730  20
19.  Timo Glock          Virgin-Cosworth       1:55.494  + 5.173  22
20.  Heikki Kovalainen   Lotus-Renault         1:56.202  + 5.881  15
21.  Jerome D'Ambrosio   Virgin-Cosworth       1:56.816  + 6.495  20
22.  Tonio Liuzzi        HRT-Cosworth          1:57.450  + 7.129  19
23.  Daniel Ricciardo    HRT-Cosworth          1:57.612  + 7.291  24
24.  Vitaly Petrov       Renault               2:02.234  + 11.913 12
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