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Belgian Grand Prix – Spa Race Day

August 30, 2009

Despite all the jokes about a Force India being on pole, race day dawned with Giancarlo Fisichella still at the front. The race got off to a messy start as Barrichello’s Brawn went into anti-stall mode on the start, as did Lewis Hamilton’s McLaren. Jenson Button managed to make the most of this, and jumped four or five places at the start. Unfortunately, at turn five, Renault’s Romain Grosjean outbraked himself and took out championship leader Jenson Button, swiftly followed by Jaime Alguersuari swiping Lewis Hamilton off the track. The safety car is deployed, to allow the debris to be cleared. During the safety car period there is some suggestion that Nico Rosberg may have passed Sebastian Vettel.

At the restart, Kimi Raikkonen jumped Giancarlo Fisichella due to KERS, and managed to hold onto the advantage. Rosberg let Vettel pass, although there was no formal decision reported, so it’s unclear exactly what happened there. At the first set of pitstops, Red Bull released Mark Webber into the path of Nick Heidfeld, who has to avoid an accident. The stewards quickly award a drive through, which puts paid to the good work Webber had done to this point. Chances of finishing in the points are now very slim.

Fernando Alonso was looking in good shape heading into his only stop of the race, however Renault once again could not fit the wheels properly, and although he rejoined the track, he’s called back by his engineer, who advised him to come back ‘carefully’. It appears that he banged wheels with Adrian Sutil on the first lap which caused some damage, and ultimately ends his race.

At the final pitstops, Fisi and Raikkonen pit together, but the Ferrari pit crew manage to get Kimi out much more efficiently, and he rejoins in the lead, to bring home his first win of the season. Fisichella doesn’t give an inch, and it right on his tail all the way. Vettel takes third, which is good for him in the Championship, Webber can only manage 9th, which is not so good.Luca Badoer still managed to finish last, depsite reminders from Rob Smedley that he was on the better tyres, and had KERS for the restart. He made up no places, and only finished ahead of the cars who didn’t make the full race distance. Speculation that Fisi could take his drive in Monza will surely only get more fierce now.

Overall, a far more enjoyable race than last week, more evidence, as if it was needed that the new Bernie-mandated tracks can’t hold a candle to some of the traditional venues.

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