Seb wins in Belgium, Kimi unlucky to be hit at start
And that makes five. Five wins so far this season for Seb Vettel and Scuderia Ferrari, who had not won in Belgium since 2009. Seb has closed the gap in the Drivers’ championship to 17 points, while the Scuderia has lost a further 5 in the Constructors’ because of Kimi’s retirement, after he was hit by Ricciardo at the start. He could have got a great result given the pace of the SF71H, even though he was starting from the third row of the grid. And now we come to Monza.
FILM OF THE RACE
Seb was second on the grid, with Kimi sixth. The start went off normally, but a McLaren was soon flying through the air: it was Alonso, who had been hit by Hulkenberg. Other cars were also damaged and Kimi came on the radio to say he had a right rear puncture (probably after colliding with Ricciardo.) But at this point, all eyes were on the leaders as Sebastian immediately got past Hamilton on the Kemmel climb, to take the lead. Immediately after that, the Safety Car came out. The number 7 car pitted to fit the Medium tyres, showing signs of some damage to the floor and bodywork.
Four laps went by before the restart, when Vettel fought off the advances of his pursuers and was able to build a slight lead. However, his team-mate was struggling to drive his damaged car and returned to the pits to check the damage while work was done on the front wing. But it was all in vain and he was soon back to park up in the garage and retire.
The two leaders were lapping at almost identical pace and the two teams watched one another, waiting for the pit stops to begin. Hamilton was the first to come in at half distance, fitting the Softs. Seb stepped up the pace, prior to pitting. He also went for the yellow tyres and the driver congratulated the team on its perfect work, as he emerged still leading the race by 1”9. On lap 25, Seb a fastest lap.
With 15 laps to the flag, the Ferrari led by over 4 seconds and the key would be tyre management, but the battle was far from over. On lap 35, it was time to lap the backmarkers. There were five laps to go, the gap was 7” and growing. David Sanchez, the head of the aerodynamic engineers was sent up to the podium. “Great job everyone,” said Maurizio by way of words of thanks.