Sebastian Vettel extended his already yawning lead in the drivers’ world championship when he drove to a well-judged if, at times, fortunate victory in the Belgian Grand Prix.
The 24-year-old recovered from a poor start and problems with blistering tyres to ride his luck, managing a successful strategy to emerge on top ahead of teammate Mark Webber.
Vettel came home 3.7 seconds clear of Australian Webber, who dropped back after a bad start and then recovered splendidly, with Briton Jenson Button claiming third place for McLaren.
Two-time champion Spaniard Fernando Alonso finished fourth for Ferrari ahead of German Michael Schumacher, the seven-time winner marking the 20th anniversary of his Formula One debut with a dazzling drive into the points from the back of the grid.
“We had a lot of concerns going into the race and weren’t quite sure about the tyres blistering,” reflected Vettel. “The team took the risk and we had reason to be confident, but you never know until you get out there.
“It was certainly more tyre management than usual for me.”
Lewis Hamilton crashed out after 13 laps when he was involved in a controversial collision with Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi.
Hamilton’s race came to a premature end when his car was sent skidding and hit a wall nose-first, before spinning through an advertising board. He was dazed, but unhurt, and climbed out of his car. Surprisingly, the stewards decided to take no action.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 29th, 2011.