Tweet from @clubforce: Just over an hour until blast off. Drivers have had their lunch, done the drivers' parade and will head over to the garage in about 15 mins.
There is some kind of tyre issue brewing though, with Red Bull and Vettel in particular having front tyre trouble and hoping to be allowed to change pre-race.
If you're following the race today, please join in the fabulous comments on the Sidepodcast dashboard: https://sidepodcast.com/dashboard
Of you can visit the live thread directly https://sidepodcast.com/post/live-belgium-2011-the-race/ and vote in the poll!
Today's question is, starting from the back of the grid, how far up the order can Michael Schumacher get? Into the points? On the podium?
Sebastian Vettel starts from pole position (presumably, unless he changes his tyres) after a last lap stunner in qualifying.
Behind him, Lewis Hamilton and Mark Webber, with Felipe Massa fourth - outqualifying Fernando Alonso for the second race in a row.
Via @OfficialLRGP "An hour before the race start, it's significantly colder and there is a darker sky..."
Tweet from @adamcooperf1: #F1 FIA has apparently told teams that top 10 have to start on tyres they qualified on, as per normal
Bruno Senna outqualified teammate Vitaly Petrov on his first qualifying session of 2011. He starts 7th, whilst Jaime Alguersuari did a good job to start 6th. Both ahead of Alonso!
Pastor Maldonado caused quite a stir yesterday after his collision with Lewis Hamilton, and he secured himself a five place grid penalty. He starts 21st. More information here: https://sidepodcast.com/news/pastor-maldonado-given-five-place-grid-penalty
If you missed any of the qualifying action, or want a quick reminder, I recommend the Factbyte Factbox highlights from yesterday: https://sidepodcast.com/post/belgium-2011-qualifying-highlights It was great fun!
There were two team calls that screwed over their drivers yesterday, for both Jenson Button and Paul di Resta.
Both were called in early, the teams assuming they were safe, but the drying track kept on getting faster and they missed out.
Paul di Resta starts 17th (after Buemi's penalty) and Button will start from 13th on the grid.
Interview with a fast-talking Jaime Alguersuari: "I think we did a good job since Friday morning. We've always been fast, we've shown good potential, the car has improved since Hungary... it looks like we are getting there. We're understanding the tyres, the championship. I don't really guess that sixth is our position realistically, but we're a bit better than it was before.
"I always had confidence in what I could do and what the team could do. I knew it was going to be a difficult championship for me, because everything changed in F1... It's just a matter of getting the tyres together in a consistent way and having one pitstop less than the others."
Interview with Bruno Senna: "The best way to answer criticism is to perform. To be fair in two years I didn't have the opportunity to show what I could do. Last year, the car wasn't competitive. It was good experience but now I'm getting the chance to go in a car that can get into the top ten. Hopefully, this will continue. I think today is going to be a very tough race... but the learning curve is steep and just try to learn as fast as possible.
"I know we have good performance in the wet. Some people are having blistering on their tyres, our tyres are pretty safe... If I get points today it will be a dream come true."
Pastor Maldonado: "The penalty, I think it was a difficult moment for everybody. It was not on purpose, maybe a mistake. Both drivers were completely involved, but it is their decision and that's it."
|1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull|
|3||Mark Webber||Red Bull|
|6||Jaime Alguersuari||Toro Rosso|
Tweet from @InsideFerrari: No rain is on the path of the circuit at the moment, so we should have a start on dry track
|Local timezone||+0200 GMT|
|Number of laps||44|
Jérôme D'Ambrosio participates in his home Grand Prix today, starting from 20th on the grid. He, and both HRT cars were outside the 107% cutoff but the FIA confirmed they'd be allowed to race.
Half an hour to the race start, the pitlane opens to allow drivers to make their way to the grid.
|(data from Williams F1)|
|Fuel laptime penalty||0.3s/10kg|
|Pit lane loss||18s|
|Pit lane length||386m|
Spa-Francorchamps boasts the longest lap on the calendar, so we're in for just 44 laps.
Tweet from @MyTeamLotus: Just under 30 mins til the peace of the Ardennes is ripped apart by V8s. Heading to the grid now
The tyre issue that I mentioned earlier has come to naught. Some top ten drivers were concerned about front tyre blistering, and asked both Pirelli and the FIA if they could change pre-race. They were declined.
Tweet from @adamcooperf1: #F1 Jenson could have same camber issue as LH but he has the chance to start on more durable mediums so that might help him
Liuzzi's HRT ahead of the race.
Interview with Jenson Button on the grid: "As you know, we had a frustrating day yesterday. The pace has been great all weekend. When you're back in 13th and you have a good car, it's not so bad. We can still have a good race from here. People are getting blisters, they were getting blisters in qualifying. It's a problem with the dirty track, I guess... I think it's from sliding more than anything else.
"Today it should be better, but it's an unknown for all of us, especially back here as we haven't run slicks yet. It's not the best position to be in, but we've got a good car here and we're going to have fun today."
Tweet from @ToroRossoSpy: We're all hoping Jaime is 44 laps away from his best ever F1 result. And Seb is looking for points from 11th on grid. Go Toro Go!
Quick word with Petrov on the grid: "At the moment, everything looks very good. The weather looks constant but we're expecting rain one hour after the start of the race. It should be interesting. The rain is coming."
Jérôme on the grid.
Rubens Barrichello hopes for more: "Yesterday was a lovely time for us to perform better. I had a bit of traffic, but on the dry I think there is limitation on the car. We have to just wait for better."
A lot of the drivers appear to be in deep conversation with their engineers on the grid. Lots of strategy and tyre discussions in progress.
Interview with Christian Horner: "We've not been allowed to change them, so we're starting on the tyres we qualified on yesterday. With so little dry mileage here, it gives the tyres a pretty hard time. We're just going to have to keep a close eye on it in the race. We've spoken with the guys from Pirelli and looked at the data, and we're happy, otherwise the tyres wouldn't be on the car. It's the same for everybody."
Ten minutes until the race begins.
Interview with Paul di Resta: "I think hopefully here of any places our car seems to be quite strong. It's shown in the wet or dry. I believe we can move forward. The unknown is how long the tyres are going to last, given that everyone has only five laps worth of data."
Vettel has a heated discussion with a Pirelli chap earlier today. He didn't get his way.
I've closed the poll and 76% of voters believe that Michael Schumacher can get up into the points from his position last on the grid.
No one thinks he can get on the podium from there.
The mechanics are clearing the grid just ahead of the formation lap.
Team radio to Senna: "Just to remind you, little bit of braking into turn one, it's a long way to turn five, just think about giving your brakes a bit of a warm up on the formation lap."
The top ten are all starting on soft tyres - the yellow sidewalls and the softer of the two compounds.
They line up on the grid, waiting for the red lights to appear.
There's a lot of smoke pouring from Rosberg's Mercedes car.
Mark Webber just didn't get going, a terribly slow start. Rosberg is up into second, but he had a super speedy start.
Rosberg has got in front of Vettel and takes the lead of the race just a few corners in!
Massa is up to third, with Fernando Alonso up to fifth.
Alguersuari has broken front suspension, he looks like he's trying to get to the pitlane but he won't be able to go on.
Track is clear.
Alonso is hustling Hamilton for fourth position.
Quick rundown - Rosberg, Vettel, Hamilton, Alonso, Buemi and Pérez.
Glock, Senna and Kovalainen have all pitted. Bad news for Senna from such a high grid slot.
Fernando Alonso has passed Lewis Hamilton for fourth place.
Senna has taken on a new nose. There was an incident at the first corner, but we have yet to see a replay.
It looks like the yellow flags are for Jaime Alguersuari who has stopped on some tarmac runoff.
Schumacher is already up to 13th place, with Button up to 12th.
Sebastian Vettel takes the lead back from Nico Rosberg.
It looks like DRS is available, although haven't seen a message from Race Control yet either.
Replays of the start show Webber going into anti-stall, he lost loads of places and is now down to 8th.
Senna appeared to outbrake himself and thumped into Alguersuari, breaking the Toro Rosso immediately.
Webber and Button have both pitted.
Fernando Alonso has closed up behind Felipe Massa, the Ferrari pair squabbling for third place.
More replays of the start, at the back of the field, Trulli made a good start but spun Kovalainen at the first corner. Glock came together with another car, possibly an HRT.
Felipa Massa is catching Nico Rosberg in second now. The Mercedes driving defending the best he can.
Team radio from Vettel: "I can see the marks on the front tyres, at the moment they seem to have stabilised."
Fernando Alonso passes Massa but runs wide, rejoining side by side with his teammate. He gets the position, and Hamilton also slides past the Brazilian as well.
I wonder if these yellow flags are ever going to go away? How long does it take to move a Toro Rosso?
Vettel pits from the lead, he's bolted on another set of the soft tyres.
Pérez has also pitted.
We think Webber is on the medium tyres, whilst Vettel is on the soft. Split strategy from Red Bull.
Sébastien Buemi's rear wing is hanging off, it looks like he came together with Pérez, hence the Sauber's pit stop a moment ago.
Race Control: Turn 1 incidents involving Glock and Senna under investigation.
Brundle says it's a drive through for both cars, Glock and Senna.
Fernando Alonso sweeps past Rosberg for the lead. Vettel is down in 7th after his pitstop.
Buemi has made it back to the pitlane.
Team radio to Button: "Both Red Bulls have already pitted, there's a long way to go in this race, let's look after these tyres."
Track is clear, finally!
Tweet from @OfficialLRGP: Drive through for @BSenna. His first race start on these tyres. Not the only driver to make a mistake at T1
Lewis Hamilton has passed Nico Rosberg for second place. Massa is catching the Mercedes now.
Tweet from @karunchandhok: Outstanding 7 laps from Fernando ! P8 to the lead...
Alonso pits from the lead.
Tweet from @WilliamsF1Team: Busy opening laps! Rubens now 12th and Pastor up to 11th!
Alonso puts on soft tyres. Hamilton goes through into the lead, running longer than those around him, despite complaining on the radio that he was really struggling on his tyres.
Alonso comes out side by side with Webber, and the pair speed through Eau Rouge with Webber not relenting for a moment.
Kobayashi has a damaged front wing, he doesn't seem to be heading towards the pitlane either.
Buemi has officially retired. Both Toro Rossos out of the race.
Felipe Massa pits.
Alonso has got caught up behind a battle between Webber and Sutil. They're all fighting for position so no one is yielding.
Alonso gets the position from Webber, through the DRS zone and into 7th position.
Team radio from Vettel: "More blistering, front left."
Hamilton pits for soft tyres.
Ted Kravitz confirms that the smoke pouring from Rosberg's car on the grid was brakes and not engine.
Fernando Alonso puts in the fastest lap of the race so far - 1:53.747.
Alguersuari has made it back to the pitlane, not happy, helmet on and a shake of the head.
Tweet from @MyTeamLotus: 25% of the race completed - Jarno hunting down the HRTs who escaped the 1st corner melee with Heikki making up ground just behind
Petrov and Maldonado have both pitted. Kobayashi is up to fourth place but has yet to stop.
Accident between Kamui Kobayashi and Lewis Hamilton!
Safety car deployed.
On the long straight after Eau Rouge, Lewis gets the pass on Kobayashi with DRS. Kobayashi came back at him and they drifted into each other. Right front on the Sauber sent Lewis pitching off track, through an advertising hoarding and out of the race.
Vettel has pitted from the lead. Sutil, Barrichello, Schumacher, and Button also pit.
Collision between Kobayashi and Hamilton.
Tweet from @HRTF1Team: SC is out because of HAM's crash. Daniel makes the most of it and comes in for his first stop
TedNews: Lewis Hamilton is fine, he didn't get out of the car straight away because he was a little winded but mostly frustrated. The race had been going really well, so he was ultra annoyed and frustrated being taken out of a race he could have won.
Daniel Ricciardo is sitting off track as well. Race over for him too?
Alonso leads, with Webber, Vettel (2 stops), Massa and Rosberg behind.
Vettel has one stop on everyone else, and fresh tyres on, so it could work in his favour. It may be a good call from Red Bull.
A moment of calm behind the safety car now.
Schumacher is up to 11th, Button 13th, with Barrichello between.
Tweet from @clubforce: A set of softs for Paul as he makes his first stop under the safety car.
Race Control: Safety Car in this lap.
Track is clear.
Not sure what the yellow flag is about. Alonso leads the pack away.
Track is clear.
Nico Rosberg jumped Felipe Massa for fourth place. Webber is close up behind Alonso for the lead.
Actually, that is Vettel, he appears to have passed Webber who is third.
Schumacher is up to ninth now.
Jenson Button managed to pass both Petrov and Pérez in one go.
Vettel takes the lead from Fernando Alonso, who didn't push the position too much.
There's a train of five cars battling for tenth place, starting with Pérez. Including both Williams, Paul di Resta and Kobayashi.
All of them are within 1.5 seconds of each other.
Tweet from @tonyfernandes: Heikki has taken luizzi. And now got to take ambrosio.
Team radio to Alonso: "We know it's not a problem for the strategy. It's not a disaster for the strategy."
Vettel has pulled out almost three seconds on Alonso now.
Schumacher is up to seventh, and has just put in the fastest sector of anybody so far.
Team radio to Schumacher: "We will stay on this tyre and then put one more option on at the end. That is our quickest race."
Jenson Button is closing up behind the Mercedes though, tries to take the position but Schumacher not giving it up.
Tweet from @autosportlive: DRS is available once again, but there has also been plenty of action on the drag to Les Combes without the rear wing opening. #F1
Stewards confirm no further investigation to be taken on the incident between Hamilton and Kobayashi.
Button makes the pass on Schumacher for seventh place.
Race Control: Drive through penalty for Perez for causing a collision.
Senna comes into the pits.
We're halfway through the race now and the action shows no sign of stopping.
Button is now making an attempt on Sutil, it doesn't work this time, but he'll be in sixth place in moments, surely.
Pérez pits for his drive through. I'm not sure what incident he caused.
Interview with Lewis Hamilton: "I'm not sure what happened. I just remember sitting in the wall, hit the wall pretty hard. Bit unfortunate, we were in a good position. AS far as I was concerned, I was ahead of whoever it was I was racing, and then I got hit by them and then it was over. There have been a lot of races I haven't finished this year, and this is just another one of them.
"I think we were struggling, for whatever reason, we were massively slow on the straight. I guess that's what put us in that position anyway. Nonetheless, I think we were in a good position still. We were still able to challenge, we got past one of the Ferraris, I think we could have got a podium."
Button has passed Sutil for sixth place now.
Pérez pits again. So either this is his drive through and the previous one was a real pit stop or vice versa.
Next in Button's sights is Felipe Massa, currently sitting fifth.
He takes the position, it looks like they touched as they passed, but Button got away with it.
Comment from Journeyer: "Can I just say - none of the top 5 have ever won an F1 race at Spa."
Button is now tucked up behind Nico Rosberg. They speed through Eau Rouge with Rosberg just hanging on.
At the top, the DRS zone and some old tyres on the Mercedes helps Button through to fourth.
There's only three more cars in front of Button. Vettel, Alonso and Webber. What will he do once he's dispatched them?
There's an eight second gap between Webber and Button though, so he'll need some time to catch up to the Red Bull.
Track is clear.
Tweet from @HRTF1Team: After holding him off for 10 laps, Tonio loses his 19th spot to Glock
Pérez ran wide which explains the yellow flags. He's still running though. Liuzzi pits from the back of the field.
Pérez comes into the pitlane, it looks like his car is broken. We may have another retirement on our hands.
Alonso pits from third.
Maldonado and Kobayashi have both pitted as well.
Alonso rejoined the track in front of Rosberg but behind Jenson Button. That's one less person Button can hound for position.
Vettel pits from the lead. He'll have to take on the medium compound now. Crucially, Button has already used both compounds.
Rosberg, Massa and Petrov also visit the pitlane.
The Sauber crew clear a space in the garage for Pérez, via @OfficialSF1Team.
Webber pits which puts Button in the lead, but Vettel overtakes him for the lead.
Alonso gets some team radio confirming that Button could go to the end of the race, although it would be ambitious. Replays show damage to Button's right rear endplate as well.
It was too ambitious, Button pits from second place. Soft tyres go on the McLaren and off he goes.
Felipe Massa pits from the midfield. Tricky afternoon for Felipe.
Commentators are saying that Massa had a puncture, so he actually stopped twice in very quick succession. Very tricky afternoon for Felipe!
Webber puts in the fastest lap - 1:49.883.
Schumacher passes Sutil for sixth place. With his special gold helmet, it's hard to tell Schumacher from Rosberg this afternoon.
Vettel has a seven second lead over Alonso, with Webber a further two seconds back.
Ten (pretty long) laps remaining.
Webber is bearing down on Alonso, and following him through the chicane, Alonso locks up a little.
|Fernando Alonso||vs.||Mark Webber|
Tweet from @clubforce: Good job at the stops to get Paul ahead of Barrichello. Now up to P10. Racing Maldonado and catching him. 11 laps to go.
Up through Eau Rouge and over the top of the hill and Webber takes second position. A Red Bull 1-2 now.
Jérôme D'Ambrosio pits from 17th place. A very quiet afternoon for the Belgian at his home race.
Michael Schumacher is closing up behind Nico Rosberg, who gets a radio message to confirm both cars are free to race as long as it's clean.
Felipe Massa passes Maldonado for ninth place. On the pitwall, Rob nods his approval.
Five laps to go.
Comment from Mark: Schumi HAS to use his magic paddle to pass Rosberg.
Tweet from @Fysio1: Go Heikki, @h_kovalainen, you are faster than your team mate. Go for 15th!!!
Tweet from @clubforce: Paul just three seconds behind Maldonado. A point just in sight...5 laps remaining.
Rubens Barrichello pits from 14th place, after a collision with the rear of Kobayashi.
Nico Rosberg was told over the radio to save fuel. A tough ask when Michael Schumacher is bearing down on him. Either that, or they are not quite so free to race as previously thought.
Three laps to go and Kobayashi is still going. That Sauber must be built like a tank, the number of collisions he's been involved with.
Jenson Button easily gets past Fernando Alonso, making his way to third place and a podium position.
Alonso didn't fight too hard to keep the position.
Meanwhile, Michael Schumacher gets past teammate Nico Rosberg for fifth place. From last on the grid!
Two laps remain.
Alonso appears to be struggling for grip now, he wobbles around the final corner and on to the last lap.
Sebastian Vettel wins the Belgian Grand Prix!
Webber follows him across the line, with Jenson Button set to join the pair on the podium.
Felipe Massa passes Vitaly Petrov on the last lap to cross the line 8th, with Petrov 9th and Maldonado picking up the final point.
Petrov just crossed the line and pulled to a halt beside the pit wall.
They take to the podium, Sebastian leaps into the air as the National Anthems play out.
The sun is shining onto the faces of Vettel, Webber and Button. No rain at all during today's action, unusual for Spa.
Vettel looks very satisfied with this win, his first for four races.
Race winner, Sebastian Vettel.
Tweet from @Pirelli_Media: Congratulations to Sebastian Vettel for another great win! Awesome drives from Jenson Button and Michael Schumacher too.
Tweet from @tomcaryf1: Oh dear. Championship effectively over before we leave Europe. It was now or never for the chasing pack.. Red Bull 1-2 not ideal
Interview with Martin Whitmarsh: "Firstly, we should focus on Jensons, it was the drive of the day. Poor qualifying, if we could have had him closer to the front... then he would have been a contender today... People say he can't do it in the dry, he did it in the dry today.
There's plenty of racing left in this season. Got to congratulate Adrian, Christian and Red Bull. They've got a 1-2 and that makes the championship that much harder.
At least with Jenson we're able to demonstrate the pace. Lewis was incredibly unlucky today."
Press Conference Quotes - Sebastian Vettel: "We had a lot of concerns going into the race after the damage we had on the tyres after qualifying. We had reason to be confident it should be fine but you never really know. There's no one walking up and down the paddock with a guarantee. Both of us stopped fairly early right at the beginning of the race. The main target was to see how the tyres feel after a couple of laps and go from there really. Surprisingly the pace was very good in the race, I was feeling comfortable in the car. Without too much effort in the beginning I was keeping up with the guys and able to get back into the lead.
As I said, it was more management than usual, but I have to say the car worked brilliantly and I think compared to previous years we were very competitive. I'm very happy with the result, and with the race. How we managed the tyres in particular."
Press Conference Quotes - Mark Webber: "The start was shocking, dropped the lever and the anti-still came in immediately. That was a disappointing way to start the Grand Prix. On the back foot from there. Our tyres were quite badly damaged from qualifying, so I needed to get rid of that set quite early. We made the first stop, had a bit of a fight with Fernando... then I could stay with him for a very, very long stint on the prime tyre. The tyre was completely finished by the end, but that gave us track position back.
I was asking three times do you want me to stop, do you want me to stop, but I heard nothing. A little bit of confusion but overall I think the way the team handled the problems overnight... there was not an easy Grand Prix for the guys on the pitwall today. It was reasonably sensitive for them so in the end we got a good result."
Press Conference Quotes - Jenson Button: "I think if I'd stayed in thirteenth after the start, it would have been easier to challenge these guys. After turn one, Di Resta hit my rear wing. Half the rear wing endplate was gone, and then driving after turn one, somebody's rear wing flew off and went through my front wing and took the wing mirror off.
We came in, changed the front wing, put option tyres on and did the rest of the race on options. A fun race, lots of overtaking, really enjoyed it today. You're always going to say what could have been but all in all a good race. Good to get on the podium today."
Press Conference Quotes - Sebastian Vettel: "All in all, I agree with Jenson, it's good to finish the race and not to crash this year. When I came close to him, I was going to target to pass him into the long straight and not the chicane, just to make sure... A good race, lots of overtaking. The car was fantastic, the pace was there, and that's why we're sitting up here now."
Press Conference Quotes - Mark Webber: "It's hard to say if I could have had a fight with Seb through the middle part of the race. I don't know if I would have come out behind him. I don't know how it would have rolled out after the safety car but it probably would have been the better way to finish the race.
I wanted to pit but they didn't, so we had to make it work by staying out long."
Press Conference Quotes - Jenson Button: "All weekend the car has felt great. For me the balance has been phenomenal in wet, dry, intermediate conditions. To just come away with a third is disappointing but then you have to take everything else into account. The misunderstanding yesterday in qualifying, and these guys were really fast. Who knows what would have happened if we'd qualified well. Hopefully, in two weeks we can turn it around."
The damage to Jenson's rear wing.
Tweet from @riadasmat: Omg if there was anymore reason for white hair to grow on my head, that race just did so! Well done to the whole team.
Interview with Bruno Senna: "I didn't do the first corner with high fuel in, ever. Unfortunately I misjudged the braking area. I'm braking at the same point but there was no way to avoid Jaime. I'm really sorry for his race. Fortunately for me there was not too much damage to the suspension and I could continue racing. I've got that under my belt and have a race in Monza to look forward to.
"I think it was just a misjudgement and a lack of doing it for eleven races. It was hard to do it. I should have maybe been a bit more careful but it's racing and I wanted to race. I'm here to race and get positions, so let's see what happens next race."
Interview with Pastor Maldonado: "It was a bit more difficult to start from the very back. Especially after the first corner, it was so close to breaking my front wing. I think I did a consistent race, even the strategy, the Williams guys did a good job so happy for that. It's the first time I've felt the car be really consistent through the race. We're improving, we're getting stronger.
"Yesterday, we both made mistakes and I'm a bit disappointed that only I got a penalty and not him. Anyway, that's racing and we need to look forward, that's past. The only bad thing is he did the same today. I think he needs to be more focused on his racing and not to do that movement."
Interesting words from Pastor there, clearly taking zero responsibility for what happened in qualifying. He did follow it up by saying Hamilton's a great talent and a good friend. Probably not so much after that.
Interview with Michael Schumacher: "At least something worked out this weekend. It was an exciting race. Lots of bits and pieces flying at the first corner right at the start. Luckily I wasn't in the middle of that one and was able to avoid it. From there we had a great strategy, the boys did a fantastic job. Happy about the result.
"It was a nice battle [with Rosberg], I was on the softer tyres compared to him being on the harder tyres which gave me the edge and the ability to overtake. In equal conditions that wouldn't have been possible but we took the risk at the beginning on the harder tyre and that paid out.
"Certainly I'm feeling happy because it is a special day for me, it didn't start too well yesterday with qualifying. Luckily it finished great in the race. I had a good feeling this morning, my wife being here and supporting me. She mentioned it might be a good race and so it turned out to be."
Tweet from @PhilDuncanF1: 'you don't have much time to get the calculator out, mate' says Webber when asked if his stunning move on Alonso was a calculated one #F1
Interview with Fernando Alonso: "It was not possible here in Spa, when someone comes one second quicker than you, with the DRS etc, an overtaking move is quite straightforward. I knew the possibility of the podium was not a real one today. Unfortunately it happened three laps from the end...
"It was a fun race. The start was quite good. We had a lot of battles. At one point leading the race. A fun day, but we want a podium next time.
With Mark it's always good to battle, a lot of respect for everybody. Ea Rouge is fun to battle there. Every race is more and more difficult. One race less, 25 points less available and more distance because they keep winning. At the moment they are doing a fantastic job, 12 consecutive pole positions with a few from last year... When a team, or a car, can do that, you just need to say well done."
Interview with Nico Rosberg: "It was cool. I had a good start, thanks to my engineer who does the start setting. Got Vettel up the hill, it was fantastic. Special to be leading in a Silver Arrow at Spa, nobody in front of me, a great feeling.
"In the middle of the race I had to push all the time to stay ahead of a group behind me, because I was struggling on tyres. So it's normal at the end of the race, I had to save a bit of fuel. It's just a pity that Michael managed to get me. But he was on the soft tyre, I was on the hard tyre, so it was going to be difficult anyway.
"We have to analyse, today was a good result for the team, a step in the right direction, but still some work to be done for sure."
That about wraps it up for the Belgian Grand Prix. Another great victory for Vettel, in which he didn't just lead from the front and have it all go his way.
The rain never came down, but an unexpected Safety Car kept the field together and added another element that may have been missing without.
McLaren's 50/50 results continued, with Button doing well and Hamilton struggling. Alonso managed to get the best out of an 8th place grid slot, whilst Massa just fell backwards. Presumably Ferrari will think this is a brilliant weekend all round.
It will be interesting to see what comes from this Lewis Hamilton/Pastor Maldonado war of words, and also is Alguersuari will have anything to say about being punted off by Senna.
Force India and Sauber are very close in the championship standings, so that midfield battle will be curious to watch as the rest of the season plays out.
We're moving on to Monza in two weeks time for the Italian Grand Prix. I will be back here on the 10th September for qualifying, I hope you'll join me then.
Stay tuned to https://sidepodcast.com and http://f1minute.com for all the news, updates, and analysis you'll need between now and then.
Stay happy, fact fans. See you soon.
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