The Belgian Grand Prix rarely fails to produce a good race and today was no exception with Kimi Raikkonen
using his KERS advantage to win from Giancarlo Fisichella
while others were caught up in the lap one skirmish. Here's what the drivers had to say.
1 . K. Raikkonen - Ferrari
Great start saw Raikkonen move to the front using his KERS advantage despite a wide momenbt at Les Combes. Raikkonen then held off Fisichella to the chequered flag.
“A great victory for me and the team. The champagne tastes the same wherever you are on the podium, but the feeling when you win is definitely different. This track has everything a driver could want and it’s a pleasure to drive here, however, there’s no particular secret to explain why I’ve won here four times. We wanted to win at least one race and we’ve done it. Our car was not the best in the pack, but we managed to put everything together and this result comes from all the work done with the team. I got away well, but Rubens was stuck in front of me and I had to avoid him. Then, at the first corner and at the end of the straight, I managed to move up to second. Behind the Safety Car, I thought mainly about keeping the tyres and brakes up to temperature to be able to attack Fisichella at the restart, and that’s how I managed to pass him quite easily. At the first pit stop, maybe it would have been better to stay with the softer tyre but that’s easy to say afterwards. In the final part, when it seemed I might not be able to fight off Giancarlo, I slightly changed the way I used the KERS so as to defend myself on the straight at Stavelot and so I managed to stay in front. Monza will be difficult, because our car is not particularly good over the kerbs, but we will try and do our best.”
2 . G. Fisichella - Force India Mercedes VJM02
Powerless – literally – to prevent Raikkonen taking the lead but a stunning drive to second for the Force India driver.
"It's been another great day and it was an amazing result today. Before coming to Spa if you had asked all the team if we would have been happy to finish eighth we would have said it was a fantastic result but second is a dream, just great. Actually if I can be honest I am a little disappointed as I felt we could have won the race. I was unlucky with the safety car when Kimi came past me at the restart and overtook me with the KERS. Actually behind him I was quicker but with the KERS I couldn't get past as it was impossible to be quick on the long straight. But we can't take it away from the fantastic result, both at the track and in the factory to get this result. After yesterday I was pretty confident to score points, it's positive for the championship and for the coming races. A big thank you to everyone."
3 . S. Vettel - Red Bull Renault RB5
Used strategy well to take the final podium position and claim six valuable points.
“If you look at the Championship board, today was a good result. Obviously it was not easy to start from the middle of the pack, but the actual start was good. I was maybe too conservative in the middle of the first lap when I saw Nick go off the track – very often cars tend to come back on to the circuit spinning; I lost a position to Nico and had to catch him back up after the restart. I lost too much ground to the leading cars in the first stint, but in the second and third stints the car was fantastic, I didn’t make any mistakes and was pushing like it was qualifying on every lap. It was a pleasure to drive the car and we were quicker than the guys in front. We took points out of the Brawn team today, so that’s good for the team and it’s good to score more points than Jenson and Rubens for the Drivers’ Championship. A big thank you to the team and compliments to Renault – after everything we’ve gone through in the last couple of races, it’s good to finish a race again. We’ve proven that we are back.”
4 . R. Kubica - BMW Sauber F1.09
Got the jump on his team-mate at the start in a much better race for BMW Sauber.
"I managed to make a good start and was second after the first corner. I was surprised to see Kimi next to me going through Eau Rouge. Approaching the fifth corner he braked very late and went off. It is a very tricky place. He came back on the track right in front of me and I played it safe as we saw a lot of accidents there over the weekend. Although we had a slight touch, I was able to continue. At times we lacked a bit of speed but, of course, it is good to be fighting for podiums again. The result means a lot of points for the team and is good. Unfortunately we didn’t have the chance to achieve anything better. The result proves we are quite competitive on low downforce tracks, which is a positive sign for Monza. However, we have to analyse why the car was more competitive and felt better during qualifying yesterday."
5 . N. Heidfeld - BMW Sauber F1.09
Slow out of La Source on lap one and lost ground after a fast start off the line.
"Although it is a good result for the team, I have to admit I’m disappointed. From third on the grid I had higher expectations, but I lost the race on the first lap. My thought pattern before the race went back and forth as to whether I should take the harder or the softer compound for the start. The harder was the quicker one but, of course, not the better one for heating up quickly. Because the sun was shining I went for the harder compound, and paid for it. After the start I tried to out brake Jarno on the inside of La Source, but I lost ground because the tyres weren’t warm enough. Up the hill to turn five several cars were in the gravel, including me, and that’s where I lost more positions. Later at my first pit stop I had to lock up the brakes in the pit lane to avoid crashing into Mark, who I was then able to immediately overtake on the track. In the last stint my pace was really good and I closed the gap to Robert. But, even though I was quicker than him, I couldn’t overtake because as soon as you are less than two seconds behind another car you start sliding due to losing downforce in the dirty air.”"
6 . H. Kovalainen - McLaren Mercedes MP4-24
A solid race using a one stop strategy to score points for McLaren.
“A good race for me. Even though our overall pace here hasn’t been as good as in the two previous races, our strategy worked out perfectly and I was able to overtake a lot of the guys stopping before me. Today’s sixth place was the result of a strong, reliable car, a great strategy, a fantastic engine and a first-rate KERS – all of which helped me to make up nine places on my grid position today. We still have some work to do to be fully competitive on medium-downforce tracks, but Monza should be a different story as it’s a very low-downforce circuit and we are traditionally quite good there. Finally, I’m really happy for Kimi: he drove a great race and I knew he would be a tough guy to beat around this place.”
7 . R. Barrichello - Brawn Mercedes BGP 001
Anti-stall kicked in again dropping him fourth to last at the start before a strong recovery drive. Fortunate to go the distance with a heavily smoking Mercedes V8 in the final laps.
"I have to be happy with seventh place and the two points really after such an eventful race. We should have had far more from today but the problem with the clutch at the start took away any chance of a podium which is frustrating for me and the team. We changed my strategy at the end of the first lap to fuel longer for the first stint which was a good move and gave me the chance to get into the points. I had fun in the race from then on and the move on Mark Webber at the Blanchimont bend was definitely one of the highlights. The oil leak gave us some worrying laps but I was able to manage the pace and bring the car safely home which was a big relief."
8 . N. Rosberg - Williams Toyota FW31
Held off the recovering Webber for the final point as he continues to score for Williams.
"We got absolutely the maximum out of today and so I am not so unhappy with the result. Even though the car was not good at all on Friday, we moved it forward and had a reasonable qualifying. We built on this with a good start to the race and claimed another point finishing in 8th place. It is more than I could have hoped for at the beginning of the weekend. The car was difficult to drive today and it had a lot to do with the tyres. When the sun came out, the tyres worked well, especially the soft tyres in the final stint. In these conditions, I was able to push more."
9 . M. Webber - Red Bull Renault RB5
Red Bull released Webber into the path of Heidfeld in the first stops.
A drive through penalty dropped Webber out of the points.
“I had a good first lap and laid the right foundations to get some good points today. But, at my first pit stop, I was released in front of Nick, which I was given a drive through penalty for. After that it was a case of damage limitation. I tried to get back into the points and when we had free air, which was not often, we had good pace, but it wasn’t enough. It’s very frustrating not to take any points away, I thought I deserved them from that drive, but the drive-through wrecked that. No one’s interested in excuses though; that’s how it is, so let’s get on and look ahead to the next race.”
10 . T. Glock - Toyota TF109
Refuelling issue in the pits dropped Glock out of the points on a disappointing day for Toyota.
"I made a pretty strong start and was running fourth when the safety car came out so we had a good chance of points. But at my first pit stop we had trouble with the fuel rig which cost me time and positions. The crew did well to quickly change to the back-up rig but nevertheless we lost time. Clearly there was a problem with the fuel rig and we have to analyse what happened and prevent any similar problems in the future. I did my best and the car was quite quick but it wasn't to be."
11 . A. Sutil - Force India Mercedes VJM02
Contact with Alonso on lap one forced a pitstop for a new front wing. Strong drive back to 11th in the second Force India.
"It was a great weekend for the team, particularly for Giancarlo. He did a great race today, second position, which is a big achievement for everyone. We have clearly made a very good step and I think today anything was possible and we can look forward to the next race. Personally I am a little disappointed as someone crashed into me at the first corner and the race was over at that point. I think it was Alonso, who went straight into my rear and turned me around and destroyed my front wing. In the end it was disappointing as the car had the speed and I tried to get back in the race but it was frustrating. I am still very happy with the car and for the team as second place is still a very good position. I hope I can get a similar result in Monza."
12 . S. Buemi - Toro Rosso Ferrari STR4
Good pace but a traditional two-stopper was never going to yield results for the Swiss racer.
“I drove a consistent race, making no mistakes and everything on the car worked well. It’s a shame I could not pass Kovalainen, even though I was quicker than him, but at least I tried. Maybe a one stop strategy would have worked better for me. I wasn’t involved in the first lap accident, but maybe I picked up some debris, as for several laps my front wing did not seem to be working and I tried driving over the kerbs to shake it loose and eventually it got better. Overall, I think I had a good race and I hope that we do so again in Monza running in a low downforce configuration.”
13 . K. Nakajima - Williams Toyota FW31
Poor qualifying run made the race day all but impossible for a strong result.
"We struggled with our pace throughout the whole weekend here and qualifying was especially tough, which of course affected our potential in the race. On balance, the race was slightly better than Saturday, but of course all of our attention will now be on what we can do to be sure of an improved result in Italy in two weeks time."
14 . L. Badoer - Ferrari F60
Started last and finished last in the second Ferrari. Surely his final race with the Italian team.
“Today I did my best. Unfortunately, at the first corner after the start, I flat-spotted the front tyres and so I always had strong vibrations throughout the first stint. Once the tyres were changed, the situation improved, but the performance of the harder compound was not as good as the soft one. I have upped my performance level yet again and I really want to race at Monza, one of the tracks I know best, along with Fiorano and Mugello. I am very happy for Kimi and the team: this is a fantastic victory, which was just what we needed at this point in the season.”
15 . F. Alonso - Renault R29
Front left damage from contact with Sutil at the start forced retirement when points seemed likely on a one stop strategy.
"Today I missed an opportunity to be on the podium. I had a good start, making up a few positions and the strategy looked good. The car was better than we expected and I was in third position when I came in for my pit stop and it became clear that something was wrong on my left front tyre and the team asked me to retire. We now think it was damaged at the first corner at the beginning of the race. Anyway, Monza is in two weeks and I look forward to making up for the disappointment of today."
16 . J. Trulli - Toyota TF109
Lap one contact with Heidfeld forced a stop for a new front wing. A further refuelling issue and then retirement capped off his disappointing day.
"I can't say how disappointed I am with that race. I was really expecting a strong result because we were in great shape after qualifying. But at the first corner I was right behind Heidfeld and at the exit I expected him to pull away faster than he did. I'm not sure if he had a problem but I just touched him slightly and that broke the front wing. It was vibrating a lot so I had no choice but to make a pit stop. There was nothing I could do after that and in the end the team saw a problem with brake wear and decided it was safer to stop."
17 . J. Button - Brawn Mercedes BGP 001
Poor qualifying and a short race but he retains a massive lead in the championship so something must be going his way.
"I had a really good start and had made up a few places in the first few corners to be ahead of Lewis and Rubens. I had a good run going down the straight to turn five just after Eau Rouge. I was on the outside of Heikki and turned in for the corner but quite simply Romain outbraked himself and hit my back wheel. That was it for my race today. It's frustrating as I was in a reasonable position having made up some places and with a lot of fuel on board but it's better to have my first retirement here where I haven't been so competitive than when I'm running at the front. We're determined get back on the track at the next race and be more competitive there at a track which should be quite good for our car."
18 . R. Grosjean - Renault R29
A short second Grand Prix as he tipped Button into a spin on lap one - something he denies. He made subsequent contact with the barriers at Les Combes.
"I made a very good start, moving up to 13th place and I was keeping a good pace but then Button took me out at turn five and it was the end for me. It’s frustrating because I would have loved to finish the race and learn more about the car on this very special track. Hopefully I can do better in Monza.”
19 . L. Hamilton - McLaren Mercedes MP4-24
Taken out in the lap one incident when struck by Alguersuari after a slow start.
“Some days, when things go bad they go bad – and this was just one of those days. I got a poor start, the anti-stall kicked in and I tried to recover, but got sandwiched at the first corner and lost a bit of my front wing. When Romain Grosjean spun Jenson around at Turn Five, everyone was trying to avoid them, so I slowed down to try and avoid the damage and got taken out by one of the drivers behind me, who was trying to avoid the accident too. A disappointing day, but we’ll come back and try to win this race next year.”
20 . J. Alguersuari - Toro Rosso Ferrari STR4
Like Grosjean, under investigation for his part in the lap one incident that eliminated four cars.
“My race didn’t last long. These things happen in racing and you just have to accept it. My start was not too bad and the car seemed to be going well. Jenson spun and Hamilton had to move to the left to avoid him, moving onto the part of the track that I was on. We collided and my car was too damaged for me to continue. Hopefully we can do better in the coming races.”