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Belgian Grand Prix - Race 
7th-Sep-2008 08:00 am
f1
The circuit is damp and more rain is expected.
The grid is unchanged from yesterday's qualifying: LH, FM, HK, KR, NH, FA, MW, RK, SB, SV; JT, NP, TG, DC, NR; RB, JB, AS, KN, GF.

My notes are behind this cut as usual...

LH leads everyone away on the formation lap
The track is looking quite damp in places
NP is the only one starting on intermediate tyres - he'll have to change to the standard dry tyres quite quickly unless it rains, and the official forecast is no rain for at least 30 mins
The grid forms up

01/44: Lots of wheel spin off the line
KR runs wide in La Source (turn 1) followed by a couple of others
FM squeezed onto the grass by his teammate
Poor start for HK - he's down to P13!
JT spins - rejoins right in front

02: LH, KR, FM, FA, SB, MW, NP
LH spins in La Source and KR is right on his tail
KR passes LH out of Eau Rouge

03: HK is up to P10
FA f/lap
Replay shows a great start for JT but then gets clouted by a Toro Rosso

04: It's not going to plan for McLaren - LH is probably going to pit sooner than KR, so he has to pass the Ferrari soon

05/44: KR, LH, FM, FA

Looks like the official F1 site is down - the live timing page hasn't worked since the start of this race :(

07: KR, LH, FM, FA, SB, MW, RK, HK

09: HK takes P7 from RK
AS runs wide across the grass, recovers to the track and then straight off the other side into the gravel

10/44: KR, LH, FM, FA, SB, MW, HK, RK
LH f/lap 1:48.892

11: HK makes a mess of passing MW; clouts the Red Bull and spins MW around

12: LH pits from P2 - 6.8s stop - option tyres again - rejoins alongside teammate HK
HK under investigation for the collision with MW
Stewards immediately decide to give HK a drive-through penalty - shame they weren't so quick to penalise FM in the previous race

13: KR pits from P1 - 7.1s stop
LH still stuck behind HK - that's not smart, especially given the penalty - HK needs to let LH pass ASAP

14: FM pits - 7.6s stop -
FA pits too
HK serves his drive-through penalty

15: SB and RK pit together and exit the pits in the same order

16: NP spins across the huge run-off area and into the tyres, ending his race

17: SV pits from P4 - rejoins ahead of TG
NH passes TG in Les Combes

18: LH 5.8s behind KR

20/44: KR, LH, FM, SV, FA, SB, RK, TG - SV yet to pit

22: RB pits ... and retires the Honda

23: ITV-F1 talk to RB: lost 6th gear, and sequential gearbox means he can't get 7th either

24: KR f/lap 1:47.930

25/44: KR, LH, FM, FA, SB, RK, SV, NH; retirements: RB, NP

26: KR pits, followed by LH
KR - 9.1s stop - hard (prime) tyres
LH - 8.7s stop - hard tyres
Slightly quicker stop from McLaren - should help LH close on KR

27: FIA say rain expected in ~20mins
LH has taken 2secs out of KR's lead
ITV-F1 say LH is quicker on the hard tyres than KR, so it could make for a good battle

28: still no official timing info :(

29: HK manages a clean pass on MW this time, taking P10

30/44: AS exits the pits right in front of LH but LH passes him in Eau Rouge

31: LH now under 2secs behind KR

33: KR's lead back up to 1.9s over LH

34: Slow pit stop for RK - 12secs - rejoins behind SV

35/44: Rain looks imminent

36: Official timing page is finally up

37: KR's lead 1.6s

38: LH closing on KR as they lap KN's Williams

39: FA reports to his team that there are spots of rain
Closest battle is TG and MW fighting for P10

40/44: KR, LH, FM, FA, SB, SV, NH, RK (HK=P9); retirements: RB, NP
Spots of rain on the camera lens
LH posts a personal fastest Sector 1 - he's only a couple of car lengths away from KR

41: KR's lead down to 0.9s - will LH catch KR? Can he pass? Will KR's engine survive the push?
MW still sitting on the tail of TG

42: Poor lap for LH - gap back up to 2secs
Clearly raining in the pit lane - unless it's torrential, it's too late to change tyres
LH is right on KR's gearbox again
Side by side through the final corner - KR pushes LH wide - LH cuts the corner but gives the lead back to KR

43: LH takes P1 from KR in Turn 1 - KR hits LH's rear right tyre
The rain's getting heavy
LH runs wide to avoid a spinning car - KR re-takes P1
KR spins - LH back to P1
KR spins off into the wall - he's out!

Final lap: Lots of cars dive for wet tyres but LH can't or FM will take P1
Very slow lap - on-board with LH shows he's having to tip-toe round
Looks like FA passes a couple of cars coming out of the final turn!
HK's stopped on the final lap


Provisional result: LH, FM, NH, FA, SV, RK, SB, TG, MW, HK (+1 lap), DC, NR, AS, KN, JB, GF
DNF: KR, RB, NP

However... TSN report that Ferrari are protesting LH's move on KR - the one after he cut the corner (having been forced off-track by KR) and gave the position back!
Yes, official notification that "incident involving cars 1 and 22 (KR+LH) is under investigation" - I really hope the FIA look at this based on what actually happened and not just their blatant pro-Ferrari bias :(

Next race: Monza, Italy next weekend (Sept 12-14)

FIA fix the result: In a not-exactly-unexpected move, the FIA have handed the race to their favourite team, Ferrari by penalising Hamilton 25 seconds (which pushes him to P3).

It's just unbelievable that the stewards made that decision based on any evidence whatsoever. It's absolutely ridiculous - Hamilton cuts the corner because Raikkonen pushed him wide (which I don't have a problem with - it's a big boys' sport!) and then he falls in behind KR on the straight, uses the slipstream and passes in the next corner. I think that's what used to be called exciting racing - something we see almost nothing of these days.

The FIA are so blatantly corrupt it amazes me that the other teams even bother to show up. :(

Further points change: "Stewards in Belgium have handed Toyota’s Timo Glock a 25-second time penalty for overtaking under yellow flags", which means Webber is now P8.

Final(??) results: FM, NH, LH, FA, SV, RK, SB, MW, TG, HK (+1 lap), DC, NR, AS, KN, JB, GF
DNF: KR, RB, NP

But it's not over yet ... "McLaren announced that they intend to appeal the stewards' decision."
I don't think I've ever heard of the FIA backing down, and they don't like having their authority questioned, so expect an additional penalty soon. I'm thinking a 10 grid spot penalty for LH in Monza, which should ensure another Ferrari "victory".
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