Courtesy Mark Hallam
Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen has frozen his story in the history of F1 with his 4th win at the legendary Spa Francorchamps circuit today for the Belgium Grand Prix. This victory was made all the more incredible in that he took the lead from Force India driver Giancarlo Fisichella who was on pole for the race.
Force India, arguably the minnows of F1, have secured their very first points in a F1 race after 30 starts. Fisichella looked strong all weekend bolstered by, some argue a possible Ferrari drive as Badoer replacement, a Force India car that looked suspiciously out-of-character-good all weekend long.
But in my mind the real winner was Sebastian Vettel because if you are following the title chase as World Drivers Championship; Vettel made the most of the day. Points leader Jenson Button’s Brawn GP car was punted at turn 5 by the Renault of rookie Romain Grosjean. His 18 point lead in the series was cut to 19 points over Vettel and remains 16 points over his Brawn GP teammate Ruben Barrichello who chipped 14 points away from Button in the last two races.
While this all sounds tenuous for Button, he still remains at the top of the heap as Red Bull drivers Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel have failed to effectively capitalize on Button misfortune. This weekends points haul for Vettel is good but will it make a difference come the last race?
Ferrari are looking to secure 3rd place int he Constructor’s Title and today’s win will go a long way in doing so but the big question on everyone’s mind is will Luca Badoer remain as Felipe Massa’s replacement for Monza? Badoer finished last this weekend and this was after he hinted at a better showing at a circuit he is familiar with. Rumors, and I stress the word rumors, have been running rampant that Fisichella may move over the Ferrar for the final few races of the season.
In my mind, this may be one of Kimi Raikkonen’s best drives in many moons. He was not the fastest car on the circuit and with the use of KERS in the first stint through Eau Rouge and Kemmel straight; he was able to hold off Fisichella and take the victory. Raikkonen made a storming start even running wide at turn one on to the run-off area which was much ballyhooed last year when McLAren’s Lewis Hamiltona nd Raikkonen used the areas to race each other in the final rain-soaked laps.
This year was different as the Finn had literally no where else to go having been pushed wide by a pack of cars fighting for position. Raikkonen drove a stellar race and deserves the win. THis is the Kimi I like. This is the Kimi that amazes me. This is the Kimi that is the world chapmion. The motivated Kimi that can run with anyone at any time.
This too is the Vettel that I like. The Vettel who I think will one day be world champion and who may just be among the best three drivers, if not the best given future potential, on the grid. But look at me sharing opinion on a site that is…well…made for opinion. So my opinion may be a bit biased and I know there are other, terrific drivers out there but for my money; this kid has it all. I honestly think Rosberg is very close as well (no, I didn’t say that just for Mark Hallam).
Stay tuned for Mark Hallam’s post-race F1B Fringe Report tonight and the Formula1blog.com Podcast race review with Grace, Paul and me. Congratulations to Force India, F1B couldn’t be more proud of your achievement today.
Pos Driver Team Time
1. Raikkonen Ferrari (B) 1h23:50.995
2. Fisichella Force India-Mercedes (B) + 0.939
3. Vettel Red Bull-Renault (B) + 3.875
4. Kubica BMW Sauber (B) + 9.966
5. Heidfeld BMW Sauber (B) + 11.276
6. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes (B) + 32.763
7. Barrichello Brawn-Mercedes (B) + 35.461
8. Rosberg Williams-Toyota (B) + 36.208
9. Webber Red Bull-Renault (B) + 36.959
10. Glock Toyota (B) + 41.490
11. Sutil Force India-Mercedes (B) + 42.636
12. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) + 46.106
13. Nakajima Williams-Toyota (B) + 54.241
14. Badoer Ferrari (B) + 1:38.177
Fastest lap: Vettel, 1:47.263
Driver Team On lap
Alonso Renault (B) 27
Trulli Toyota (B) 22
Button Brawn-Mercedes (B) 1
Grosjean Renault (B) 1
Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes (B) 1
Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) 1