2011 Formula 1 Belguim GP Mercedes GP Race Report: Vettel Wins, Mercedes GP finish Strong with 5th and 6th Place
The Belgium GP has always thrilled everyone and this years race solidifies that notion. From Senna's crash at the beginning to Schumacher starting last and finishing 5th. Mercedes GP started strong with Rosberg moving from 5th place to overtake Vettel and take 1st place at the end of Spa's straight away and last place Schumacher finished the first lap in 15th place. Like every race though, Mercedes GP began to lose it's overall race pace to Redbull and Mclaren and saw Rosberg fall to 5th place. With 3 laps left, Michael Schumacher with soft tires and DRS stormed past Rosberg on the harder compound on the straight away to claim 5th place.
With Vettel winning Spa, extended his championship lead to 92 points ahead of Webber who finished the race in second place. Webber displayed his outstanding racing abilities when was wheel to wheel with Alonso on the Eau Rouge uphill corner and passing him. Button finished third from 19th place on lap 2, after having to stop for a new wing when debris from Senna's crash struck his car damaging his wing and taking his right mirror, inches from his head. Button stormed the pack with his best move coming against Massa, when he passed him on the outside of the chicane. His teammate Hamilton saw his hopes for chasing the title blow right by him after crashing out following his contact with Kobayashi.
Alonso, who started 8th finished in 4th place. Adrian Sutil had a quiet race finished 7th and Massa recovered from a puncture on lap 8 to claim 8th spot. Petrov and Maldonado round up the top 10.
I think more than fifth place would not have been possible today but making up 19 places was a good feeling. With all my family, friends and fans here, it was an extra motivation, and I would like to thank all of them for their support. They saw an exciting race with a great strategy from our team. So all in all, for me, there was a lot of emotion and a lot of overtaking today. At the beginning I was a bit afraid that some of the flying parts might hit and damage my car, but I was lucky that nothing happened. After that, I had big fun hunting and making my way forward.
It was a special feeling to be leading the race in a Silver Arrow at this amazing circuit. It was great to see the traffic jam behind me with the Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari cars, but it was hard to realise that we just don’t have the pace to stay at the top. However we have made progress this weekend and today was a good result for the team. I had to push quite hard at the start and in the middle which cost me a little towards the end, which combined with Michael being on the faster soft tyres, meant that I wasn’t able to keep him behind me. Now I’m looking forward to Monza and I’m confident that we can improve further.
It was nice to remember what it's like to be at the front again, after Nico's excellent start and early laps in the lead. Both drivers did a great job this afternoon on quite different strategies. Michael began the race on the medium tyre and got that stint of his race out of the way quickly by stopping on lap four and changing to the soft compound. The Safety Car then worked in his favour by allowing him to catch up to the cars in front, and he was obviously on the better tyre in the final laps when he was catching Nico. It's a very nice result for him on this anniversary weekend, and especially after starting from dead last. Nico ran a two-stop strategy and, although it was a little marginal with tyre performance at times, he drove an excellent race to sixth place. Towards the end, we told him to trim his fuel: although we had a Safety Car period, one doesn't use this to save fuel under the current rules because any fuel saved is simply extra weight carried through the rest of the race, and at that point his fuel consumption was on target. In any case, it didn't cost him a significant amount of lap time, and the decisive factor was that Michael was on the soft tyre at the end while Nico was on the medium, which was around a second a lap slower. Overall, it was a very good team result and our best points score of the season so far.
Coming from last to fifth place is excellent and well deserved. Michael drove impeccably and the team had a great strategy in starting with the slower medium tyres to get them out of the way at an early stage. Being in a position to use the softs during his last stint, whilst Nico was on mediums, was crucial for the outcome of their races. Nico had a great start and was leading for a couple of laps but of course the speed of our current package is still not good enough to stay at the top of the field. A satisfying result for the team after the summer break; well done guys. We will try very hard in a fortnight in Monza.
Full Race Results:
Belgian Grand Prix 2011