F1 Race Review: Belgian GP 2008

Of all the race tracks this season, the one at Spa with the twisty 7km track through the woods and the mountains is simply the most picturesque! And what to speak of ‘Eau Rouge’ the most challenging of all corners with its elevation and an invisible exit! This Sunday, rain played its part in adding to the thrill, bad luck for resurgent Kimi, a stained win for Lewis that was later handed down to Massa. Sad, if anyone missed the action!

The Saturday battle for pole positions saw a good amount of dominance from the McLarens with Ferrari being a close second. The rest of the field had to fight for what was left from P5 onwards. Kimi, with three victories with two teams at Spa had a chance of beating Jim Clark’s four wins in a row record at the circuit; but the feat seemed difficult from his P4 spot on the grid. Massa again had to make grounds on Lewis for the title.

The wet start was tight with cars bunching up into La Source hairpin. Kimi went on the outside and placed himself close to Felipe; as the latter predicted the entry to Eau Rouge to be more slippery in the wet and lifted, Kimi got better of him on the kemmel straight. On the second lap, Lewis half spun at La Source, losing momentum allowing Kimi to take the race lead after Eau Rouge which would keep for the next 40 laps.

After an un-eventful non-overtaking race at Valencia, slippery conditions and the very nature of the Spa track resulted in intense action for the rest of the field too. Heikki Kovalainen after falling behind in the initial melee worked his way up, later caused Webber to spin, served a drive through penalty, fell behind and eventually managed a tenth. The Toro Rossos with fifth and seventh were exceptional performers of the day!

Those doubting Kimi’s motivation after his title in 2007, this drive seemed to be the answer. Just then, with three laps to go, rain hit the track putting the advantage back to Lewis. The latter nearly overtook Kimi at Blanchimont but the Finn got in first into the final chicane. Lewis unfairly cut corners, got ahead of Kimi briefly letting him pass while keeping the momentum. Eventually, Lewis got ahead by the time he got to La Source.

If this unfair move of Lewis was nothing compared to bad-luck on Kimi’s way. Just then, Lewis went on to the grass at Pouhon handing the lead to Kimi, who later spun and regained after Lewis had passed. Only moments later, Kimi crashed into the wall, game-over! Though Lewis was initially classified first, but had 25 seconds added to his race time for gaining an advantage through cutting the final chicane, handing Massa the win!

With five races to go, the standings are nail-bitingly close. Lewis still leads with a now-truncated 76 points. Massa is within striking distance of Lewis with 74 while Kubica’s three points helped him inch one point ahead of fourth placed Kimi. For the Constructors’, Ferrari now have 131 as against 119 of McLaren. BMW Sauber, in a comfortable third have registered their highest ever total of 107. What a Race!