F1 Belgian Grand Prix: Red Bull head to Monza happy after easy win

 

They are still pinching themselves in Milton Keynes, home of the Red Bull Racing team. They have been used to winning races and world championships over the past three seasons – no other team or driver has had a look-in in the drivers’ and constructors’ series since Sebastian Vettel was first crowned in 2010 – but even they were astonished at the ease with which he destroyed opposition from Ferrari and Mercedes at Spa-Francorchamps on Sunday.

Elated to learn that he has now led more than 2000 laps in his F1 career, and that his points lead is the biggest it has ever been, Vettel smiled. “It was a very good afternoon for us and obviously looking forward to Monza where we don’t expect, maybe, to be that strong. But let’s see.”

Red Bull didn’t expect to be so strong in Belgium, either.

Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton knew they needed to stop the German winning again if their own world title aspirations were not to be compromised even further. But the Spaniard was 16.8s behind, the Englishman a further 10.8s.

Both made optimistic noises after the race, pointing out that the low downforce nature of Spa suited the Red Bull (though traditionally it is accused of being so uber-successful because it has so much aerodynamic downforce), but it smacked of whistling to keep up battered spirits. Alonso is now 46 points behind, Hamilton, 58. But each believes that their chances remain intact. With eight races left in the calendar, a maximum of 200 points is available.

“When the weekend started I felt that we perhaps didn’t have as good a package as these two here,” Hamilton said, nodding at Vettel and Alonso on Sunday evening. “Now we’ll try and see if we can improve for Monza. But definitely when we get to Singapore, I think we’ll have a much better chance there. But as far as the championship is concerned it’s going to be very, very tough, undoubtedly.

“Seb has had a phenomenal car for such a long time, and it is still phenomenally quick. He does the job, so it is the perfect package. We have had some really strong races and been there or thereabouts competing, and finished ahead of him in the past. So that doesn't mean we can't do that, but we’ll soon need to finish ahead of him each and every time.”

Hamilton added that from Singapore onwards, Mercedes will be able to revert to the high downforce configuration with which he was so successful in Hungary where he beat Vettel fair and square. “Hopefully it will be improved again,” he said.

Mercedes’ focus ahead of Monza will be on why their car lacked straightline speed, while Ferrari believe they have to take another step forward from one they made in practice at Spa, if they are to remain in the hunt.

“We need another improvement in the performance of the car,” team chief Stefano Domenicali said.

By contrast, Jenson Button and McLaren were boosted by qualifying and finishing sixth, after briefly leading the race while out of sync with others on pit stops on the 15th lap, and Max Chilton took his best qualifying position with 16th place for Marussia. There was also good news for Britain’s next F1 driver, James Calado. The Racing Steps Foundation-supported racer from Oxford scored a timely success in the GP2 race on Sunday. After a highly impressive test with the Force India team at the recent Young Driver Test at Silverstone, rumours continue to suggest he will drive one of their cars alongside Paul di Resta in Friday practice at Monza.

New Articles
tvDownton Abbey Christmas special
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
tvForget the rumours that Clara Oswald would be quitting the Tardis
Arts and Entertainment
Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
art
News
The Queen delivers her Christmas message
newsTwitter reacts to Her Majesty's Christmas Message
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Life and Style
fashion
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all