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.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss