This was a spectacular race in the end. The highlight of the race were the awesome overtaking moves with or without DRS from top to bottom of the field. It was an amazing sight for all the fans out here. In the end it was Jenson Button who in his 200th GP start, came as the winner with some luck and some top racing. He was followed by Vettel and Alonso.
Here is the detailed report of the whole weekend:
It was all set for the second race in two weeks time and the last race before the teams head for Summer break. Pirelli had brought the super-soft and soft tyres for this race in this high-downforce track. The weather remained dry. By the end of the first session, it was Lewis Hamilton of McLaren who topped the session followed by Vettel of Red Bull and Alonso of Ferrari. The Force Indians had a good session with Paul ending at P12 while Hulkenberg at P13. Hulkenberg was trying out the new wing which they had brought in Spain. There was just one accident when Webber spinned at Turn 9, with just 20 minutes to go.
The teams had a good lunch after FP1 as they headed out for FP2. The weather rose to a significant hotter temperature. The session went smooth with few occasional spins from several drivers. By the end of the session, it was once again Hamilton topping the time-sheets followed by Alonso & Button. The Force Indians improved further with Paul ending at P9 while Sutil at P10. As they said, they had a normal Friday with loads of data’s collected.
It was a new day, and the teams were welcomed by a bright sunshine all around. Few might be pleased and few might not be. Before the session it was said that Red Bull broke the curfew hours to work on Vettel’s car. Whatever they did, might have worked well as he topped the time-sheet by the end of the session followed by Alonso & Button. The Force Indians had mixed results, with Paul ending at P10 while Sutil at P16. He did say that he was suffering from lack of grip which was later worked upon before Qualifying.
With all the Practice session done, I was optimistic that surely one of the Force India can make it to Q3 and the other pretty close to making it in. As for the top battle, Red Bull made a comeback and they were very much in for getting to pole once again.
The weather was dry but a bit cloudy to start with. As usual it was the slower cars going out first to set times in order to qualify within the 107% time. The session was ended with Alonso on top. Both the Force India made it to Q2 on their last improved run. As expected all the slower teams didn’t made the cut, along with them this time it was Buemi who missed out. There were no major accidents or spins in the session.
The track started improving as the times started tumbling as the second session of the qualifying began. By the end of the session, it was again Alonso finishing at top. On his very last lap Sutil made it to Q3, second time in succession. It was a good lap by him to get ahead of the Lotus Renaults. While Paul couldn’t go past the Q2 hurdle as he ended at P11, ahead of the Lotus Renaults. Maldonado was the only non-runner in the session.
It was going to be another 3 way battle for Pole, this time all the top 3 teams running in for pole with McLaren’s favorites. It was looking as if Hamilton will stop Red Bull’s reign of pole but another super lap from Vettel found him on pole, helping Red Bull to its 12th consecutive pole (all 11 in the season) followed by Hamilton & Button. Force India’s Sutil finished at P8 with a good lap, and ahead of one of the Mercedes. Perez was the only person not to set a time.
That was an amazing Qualifying session, a good fight for pole after quite a while. I was more happy with Force India as they clearly showed their improvement in the recent races, clearly they are ahead of the other mid-fields at the moment. Regarding race, I was hoping for a double point finish.
The rain came but it was just before the race, leaving the track wet (not wet to use full wet tyres but enough for inter’s). Vettel was back at top with Hamilton alongside him and Button & Alonso behind. The track was slippery and it was very tough to stay on initially. Vettel had a good start as nither Hamilton nor Button could pass him at the first corner. Behind Alosno & Webber lost places. For Force India, it was a mixed start as Sutil lost places as he was trying to avoid a collision, sending him down to P20 while Paul gained places to be at P9.
Vettel couldn’t hold his place for long as a charging Hamilton finally made a move in those slippery conditions and took the lead and soon during pit-stops Button too got ahead of Vettel. From the past two-three races, the top teams drivers were giving us loads of entertainment. Meanwhile, Paul was doing a great job keeping his tyres cool and staying ahead of the competitors. While Sutil along with Perez, Maldonado battled hard to get ahead of Heikki who was giving the mid-fielders a tough fight. There was a scary moment when Heidfeld’s car caught fire after a long pit-stop resulting in his DNF.
The highlight of the race was surely the positions fight between team-mates Hamilton & Button, they were giving us chills and thrills. But Button prevailed as Hamilton spun who also gave a scare to Paul, thereby he was given a drive through penalty. Hamilton also made a wrong tyre call as did Webber & Sutil. Thus Button chances of winning was very much secured with Vettel not looking to challenge him. As for Paul after surviving a scare from that Hamilton spin, collected himself well to get through the mid-field. Sutil on the other hand being a lap down tried his heart out to unlap himself having a good fight with Perez (who was a lap down along with him) and also with Kobayashi, Buemi, Jamie (a lap up).
In the end it was indeed Button who won it superbly, it was his 200th GP start and what better prize for him. Vettel followed him with Alonso behind them. Hamilton overtook Webber in the end laps to end at P4. Force India had another good finish, this time by Paul finishing behind the 3 top teams at P7 while Sutil had a tough race and thus he ended at P14.
This was the last race before the teams break for 3 weeks. A break from all the tough weekends for all. I am quite happy with Force India’s performance, they will go in with some positive energy as they close down the gap with Sauber to just 9 points. The recent surge in performance is a good sign for the future and I am quite optimistic about our chances to get the P6 position the Championship Table. So, see you guys in 4 weeks time with the weekend review of Belgium GP. Enjoy your break!!