Over the past week, two things have dominated the F1 headlines: Spa-Francorchamps and the return of racing instead of last week’s incessant silly season speculation, and some speculation on the contents of the 2014 F1 calendar.

Vettel Beats Alonso and Hamilton to the Win
Though Lewis Hamilton snuck pole away from Paul di Resta during Saturday’s dry/wet/drying qualifying, he would not maintain the lead on the track for long. Vettel showed a surprising amount of Red Bull straight line speed and powered away from the Briton down the Kemmel Straight on the first lap and never looked behind him again. Fernando Alonso and Hamilton joined the German on the podium.

After that, only the end of Kimi Raikkonen’s points finishing streak, due to a break failure caused by a duct clogged with a visor tear-off, nonetheless, and a few scrappy bits including the return of Pastor Maldonado’s difficult reputation marked a mostly one-stop race.

Di Resta in particular was disappointed after Maldonado collided with him. He and the other drivers had something to say, all of which can be found in the Driver Quotes. The teams also released driver statements after qualifying and after the practice sessions.

Discuss everything that happened in the race during #F1Chat later today. Brush up on the discussion questions in the #F1Chat Preview.

New Jersey Grand Prix Remains a Shaky Venue
More and more speculation builds, indicating a likelihood that the United States will host only the grand prix at the Circuit of the Americas next season, as Bernie Ecclestone has said the New Jersey GP organizers “haven’t got any money.” He noted that it’s “like Donington all over again…it is such a muddle and a mess that it is not worth doing.”

Mexico City has been floated as a possible replacement, with Ecclestone again the source. He said, “I should know within a couple of weeks about Mexico. I’m going to try to make it happen.” Whether this is all a ploy to get the US organizers to pay up more quickly is something known only within the mind of Ecclestone himself.

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Negative Camber
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Negative Camber

The big question from this week’s news is…has Mercedes found the pace and tire performance? Did Spa show us that they are there or there abouts and are they a real challenge (given the remaining circuits) to Red Bull or Ferrari?

MIE
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MIE

Mercedes still have work to do, they were some way off the pace of Vettel. However Ferrari looked much better than recently (certainly in the race), the question I have is: is this improvement permanent, or just related to the low down force setup applicable to Spa and Monza?

Either way, Vettel is in the strongest position he has been at this stage of the season, and he hasn’t seemed to fade at the end of the year before.

Negative Camber
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Negative Camber

I thought it was interesting that Seb said he didn’t think they would be as competitive at Monza…seemed good to me at Spa with low downforce. :) Then there is the Tifosi factor too. :)