Spa-Francorchamps – 16-09-07

Kimi

Formula 1 made a welcome return to Spa this year after it’s absence in 2006, requiring upgrades to the track and facilities. After testing earlier in the year, the teams and drivers seemed generally please, although there was some concern over the new pit entrance, which is rather tight and definitely does not have room for 2 cars, the possibility of someone going in hot and overcooking it loomed.

After recent events off track, it would of been nice to have an explosive race, but I suppose only something truly spectacular would of outshone the off track antics. For the predictable front 4, the main excitement came on the first lap. As Raikonnen roared off, and Massa tucked in behind, Alonso shot straight across the track towards Hamilton, and as they approached the first corner this manoeuvre was magnified as Alonso forced Hamilton wide, with the 2 almost touching until Hamilton had to resort to the run off, he maintained momentum so that he rejoined the track alongside Alonso and they drove side by side through Eau Rouge (Probably the best section on any track on the entire calendar for me). Alonso finally edged past as they climbed through Raidillon, and that settled the positions of the first 4 for the remainder of race.

Behind them Kovalainen had an excellent start, jumping from 9th to 6th, but with a heavy car was slow on the track, and soon fell into the clutches of those behind. With Webber climbing over his gearbox, it wasn’t long before he made a clean pass into Les Combes. Kubica showed amazing speed on the track, and it wasn’t long before he too had slipped past Kovy. Unfortunately in the middle stint of the race Kubica was slowed by heavier cars again, and missed out on what should of been a good result, suffering from his engine change penalty that had demoted him to 14th.

Amazingly after the first lap, Fisichella retired, yet again the poor cousin in the team as Kovy ultimately went on to finish 8th gaining another point. Meanwhile Sutil, in the Spyker, impressed with a cracking start that saw him passing, and ultimately hitting 12th and challenging Coulthard a number of times for 11th place, before finally finishing 14th. Admittedly he later started to make errors again, taking to the service roads, but is showing enough promise that a bigger team must take some interest in him soon.

With 15 laps to go, Coulthard suffered hydraulic failure and retired from the race, fortunately on a straight part of the track where he was able to recover and manoeuvre out of danger quickly. It was a real shame as DC had been going relatively well, although Webber still had the better drive and ultimately bought his car home in the points with a 7th place. Wurz retired 5 laps later, and then 2 laps later Button suffered hydraulic failure as well, and was out of the race.

Heidfeld took his now traditional ‘best of the rest’ position in 5th, and Rosberg rounded out the points finishers in 6th.

So 3 times in a row, Raikonnen took the win, showing some rare exuberance with a donut as he finished.

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