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GP Week : Issue 165
26 GPWEEK.com // F1 >>> SPA 26 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: of said Seb Vettel. It was appalling to see – not massively dangerous, as such, but clumsy and ugly and about as poor an example of track etiquette to which any well-meaning Formula Renault driver should ever be exposed. Seb, in protest, manipulated his Red Bull into a semi-donut and drag- stripped it down the finishing straight. His actions said a thousand words. There were some great drives in this mangled race. Jenson continued to do what he did on Saturday for corner after corner, lap after lap. He stopped but once for Pirelli primes without losing the lead. His margin of victory was 13.6 seconds but it could have been much more. He wasn’t sweating when he climbed from the car; and Union Jacks flew in abundance in the packed spectator banks and stands. McLaren had won again at the venue on which it all began with Bruce back in 1968. Seb finished an excellent second for Red Bull Racing; and Kimi, frustrated by a lack of top speed (repeat: “Shame about the device!”) was third for Lotus-Renault. Nico Hulkenberg drove superbly, I thought, to finish fourth for Sahara Force India; and Felipe was fifth in the difficult Ferrari. Both STR drivers looked good – particularly Jean-Eric Vergne on this occasion – but poor Kamui could finish only 13th after suffering bodywork damage at the first corner. No matter: Willem Toet is as confident as experienced racers can ever be confident about the next round of ‘flyaway’ updates for the Sauber C31. At Suzuka, particularly, the car should fly...and it shouldn’t be slow at Monza, either! I should also mention both HRT drivers – Pedro de la Rosa and Narain Karthekayan. Neither were out-classed by other back-of-the-gridders. Pedro hit first corner debris and and Narain’s race ended when the left-front wheel came adrift as he turned-in to Stavelot (lose wheel nut after his second pit stop). And so Fernando has had his first DNF since Canada last year. It had to happen eventually – and it was predictable that it would happen at La Source, where Fernando was always likely to be amongst the traffic. I’ve maintained since January, however, that Fernando’s biggest rival for the World Drivers’ Championship will be Lewis Hamilton – and so, from that perspective, Spa was by no means a disaster for Fernando. Now to Monza where, for the most part, the track is wide, fast and open. There’s just that pesky little first chicane to negotiate on the first lap of this tightest of tight F1 seasons, in the year in which the top runners are separated by paper-thin margins. Again, the pole is where you’ll want to be – where Ferrari and Fernando need to be if they are to insulate their hard-won half-season advantage. The Tifosi , I’m sure, are secreting their way to Monza even as you read this edition of GP Week ... For more of Windsor on F1 watch The Flying Lap live every week on http://smibs.tv