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Team-Mate Wars: Spa-Francochamps

Tuesday 27th August 2013

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Team-Mate Wars: Spa-Francochamps

Team-Mate Wars: Spa-Francochamps

Because in F1 the first person you have to beat is your team-mate.

Red Bull Racing
Race: Vettel
Season: Sebastian Vettel 10 - Mark Webber 1
Mark was very close to Seb in qualifying, but he had an ominous feeling that his start wasn't going to go well and he was right. Had he been able to slot in behind his team-mate away from the line then it would have been a Red Bull 1-2 instead of a Red Bull 1-5. Both Lewis and Fernando benefited, whereas Seb lost the three-points of extra gappage he could have expected had Mark been behind him. In the race, Vettel showed the kind of advantage he enjoyed in FP2 on Friday afternoon, which is pretty depressing for the neutral fan hoping to see the championship stay alive until the final race - or at this rate - even the last three. Where's Grosjean when you need him?


McLaren
Race: Button
Season: Jenson Button 8 - Sergio Perez 3
No matter how hard Jenson Button pressed the "Rain" button on his steering wheel, it didn't arrive. But at least he was up there with the big boys again. Sergio Perez was stung for a penalty not meted out to other drivers - a typical experience for a McLaren driver at Spa.


Mercedes
Race: Hamilton
Season: Lewis Hamilton 8 - Nico Rosberg 3
Rosberg lost out in qualifying, but looked like he could have run Lewis Hamilton very close in the race. Unfortunately for Nico he's fallen into a bit of a 'Felipe Massa' situation where for Lewis to keep in contention, Nico has to finish behind him every race. It hasn't got awkward yet, but it could.


Ferrari
Race: Alonso
Season: Fernando Alonso 9 - Felipe Massa 2
The Ferrari looked bella bella in low downforce set-up which surely bodes well for two weeks' time in Monza. Fernando chose the right line off the start, Massa got delayed behind the Lotuses. So while Fernando had a "boring" afternoon around the World's most exciting F1 circuit, Felipe had to sort his KERS out and then peg people back, the kind of task that normally falls to Kimi Raikkonen. Although the portents for another season don't look good for Felipe, one big result at Monza could do him a world of good.


Lotus
Race: Raikkonen
Season: Kimi Raikkonen 9 - Romain Grosjean 2
When Lotus can't rely on lighter tyre wear they're a bit stuck for options. Luckily Grosjean didn't hit anyone on the anniversary of his epic wrecking of Alonso's 2012 chances. It's interesting to hear that Lewis Hamilton is still pretty bitter about the (very wrong) decision that robbed him of the win at Spa in 2008 and you can bet that Grosjean's folly will never be far away from Fernando's thoughts in Belgium. Just as Grosjean's wheels weren't that far away from his head. Romain didn't hit anyone but he found himself on the outside of Mark Webber who moved out and pushed him across the track and into Kimi Raikkonen who had to go off track. But no damage.

Raikkonen was showering brake dust from a very early stage at a circuit where drivers don't have to make lots of big stops and it looked like something had to give. We had the usual Kimi spat on the radio with his engineers, who tried to talk to him before he got onto a straight bit of track and could concentrate on the (unnecessary) message. Whether Raikkonen could have managed the brake situation a bit better by driving less aggressively and with a brake balance thrown to the rear, is impossible to tell. He got to Lap 25 with only a lightish fuel load left before it let go.

For those who think that a Raikkonen return to Ferrari might be on the cards, we have the prospect of F1's most-on-the-radio engineer, Rob Smedley, being teamed with F1's least-on-the-radio driver.


Force India
Race: Sutil
Season: Paul Di Resta 6 - Adrian Sutil 5
Adrian Sutil gave a very telling demonstration of how easy F1 drivers regard Eau Rouge now. On the way down there, pulling alongside Esteban Gutierrez, he was busy making hand gestures at the wayward Sauber driver, rather than staring fixedly at the road ahead.

In Qualifying Paul DiResta made an inspired choice to stay in the garage and go out on Inters when all around him were going for slicks. Nico Hulkenberg didn't do that.


Sauber
Race: Hulkenberg
Season: Nico Hulkenberg 10 - Esteban Gutierrez 1
The Hulk got a great start, but that was about it. Esteban Gutierrez drove like someone had told him to perform wonders and was trying just a bit too hard.


Williams
Race: Maldonado
Season: Maldonado 8 - Bottas 3
Bottas
Maldonado was closest in contention when the gaggle of cars descended on the Bus Stop chicane for a bit of synchronised spinning. Had he not been contacted by Sutil then it's unlikely he would have hit DiResta, but we can argue about that one all day.


Toro Rosso
Race: Ricciardo
Season: Daniel Ricciardo 6 - Jean-Eric Vergne 5
If, as everyone expects, Red Bull sign Daniel Ricciardo, then there will be a very sharp focus on the relative performances of the two Red Bull drivers. "JEV" has already been overlooked, or as Gary Anderson likes to say: "he's been looked over the top of."


Marussia
Race: Bianchi
Season: Jules Bianchi 11 - Max Chilton 0
Max was in front of Jules till close to the end of qualifying and then they combined with Caterham to produce the qualifying upset of the season.


Caterham
Race: van der Garde
Season: Giedo van der Garde 4 - Charles Pic 7
Just imagine what would have happened if the skies had opened straight after Q1 and it had become too wet to qualify, as in Japan one time. The raced stewards would have had to declare the result of Q1 as the starting grid. That would even have eclipsed Michael Schumacher's debut qualifying for Jordan, although no-one thinks that Giedo is going on to win seven World Championships.


The Kimi is Disappointed File: "One day your luck has to run out and today was that day."

Star of the Race
Alonso 2, Hamilton 2, Vettel 2, Sutil 1, Brawn 1, Perez 1, Rosberg 1, Grosjean 1

Overtaking Move of the Race
Vettel 2, Grosjean 2, Raikkonen 2, Alonso 1, Button 1, Bottas 1, Webber, Hamilton 1

Dull vs Exciting GPs
Exciting 9 - Dull 2

Sat on the Naughty Step
Van der Garde 2, Maldonado 1, Vettel 1, Red Bull 1, Gutierrez 1, Hulkenberg 1, Grosjean 1, Hembery 1, Stewards 1, Sutil 1

Media Watch
Jenny Gow is the BBC Radio 5's diminutive pitlane reporter, but on Saturday we got to see her on screen for a change. Many media personnel have to wear white tabards in the pitlane, but because Jenny is so tiny hers actually looked like a media poncho.

Meanwhile Suzi Perry was introducing us to some choice black country phrases. Peering past Eddie Jordan at the gathering dark clouds beyond the hill she said: "if you look on the other side it's as dark as Bill's mother's". Now that's bostin'.

Andrew Davies

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