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Monday, September 17, 2007

Formula One: Belgium Grand Prix Review

Kim Räikkönen became a three-time winner at Spa leading Ferrari to a one-two victory as McLaren were thrashed into a distant third and fourth on Sunday.
The 18 championship points also secured Ferrari the Constructors’ Championship following McLaren’s disqualification in the manufacturers title race.
It was a dominant performance by Ferrari, who had the measure of the beleaguered McLaren team for the entire race and never once looked to be under any threat.
Räikkönen confessed Spa was definitely his favourite circuits on the F1 calendar.
“For sure it’s my favourite circuit, it was even before I came into Formula One, so it’s nothing to do with if I win or lose here. I just like it here, but I think that’s the reason that I have won here. It’s just a good circuit,” he told reporters in the post race press briefing.
Runner-up Felipe Massa, who set the fastest lap, said he was delighted for Ferrari. "It was a good race. I am very happy for the team as we really wanted this one-two! Now, the situation in the championship is a bit better and we will continue to fight to the end, believe it!"
Jean Todt was impressed with the team’s performance and with the numbers. "Seventh win, the fourth with Kimi and the third one-two of the year. These are the numbers after a fantastic weekend and they come courtesy of all the work of a great team, which is working as one, united and motivated, while the drivers also did a great job,” he stressed.
“There are three races to go and we will tackle them in the same spirit with the same approach as always, which means to say, with determination, passion and team spirit."
Third placed Fernando Alonso conceded Ferrari were simply too quick for them this time.
“I think they were too quick for us. I tried quite hard in the first stint to keep pace with Felipe, just hoping around the pit stop time to make up a position but slowly they were disappearing and after the first stop, for sure, we didn’t see them anymore,” he said.
“We lack a little bit of pace in the race. We were quite OK in qualifying but for sure in the race we were off the pace by a couple of tenths.”
Ferrari were so dominant in a two-horse race that uncharacteristically the Belgium Grand Prix proved to be a rather staid affair with the only true drama coming in the opening lap when Alonso and Lewis Hamilton, who finished fourth, ran side-by-side through turns three and four, eventually Hamilton was forced wide and conceded the place to his team-mate.
The championship leader was incensed by Alonso’s tactics saying: "For someone that's always complaining about people doing unfair manoeuvres, and wanting to be fair, and someone I look up to...he has gone and swiped me and pushed me as wide as he could. I was just really lucky there was a run-off area so I could take that."
BMW-Sauber’s Nick Heidfeld consolidated his position as the best of the rest with another fifth place finish whilst Williams’ Nico Rosberg secured his second consecutive sixth place.
Mark Webber grabbed his first points since the European Grand Prix with seventh whilst Heikki Kovalainen took the last of the points in eighth for Renault.
Further down the finishing table the only driver to stand out by some margin was a vastly improved Adrian Sutil and the B-spec Spyker car, who, for much of the race was running in 12th place until his second stop.
Team principal Colin Kolles was delighted with his team’s performance saying:
”I am very pleased to see that we are now making real progress and are able to compete with the cars around us. Adrian had an excellent race to 14th position. I think we can now look forward to the last three races of the year.”
Not so happy were Fisichella, who ran wide damaging his suspension on the opening lap, Sebastian Vettel who had a steering problem, David Coulthard and Jenson Button who both retired with a hydraulics failure and finally Alex Wurz, who once again had a miserable weekend spinning in the opening few laps before eventually suffering a fuel pressure failure.
Kimi Räikkönen’s victory closes the gap to Hamilton to 13 points, whilst Alonso has taken yet another point of his team-mate to lag just two points with three races remaining.

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