After a brief summer break, the second half of the F1 2012 season opened with a BANG. Literally.
The race started like all other race, cars lined up in their grid positions, anxiously waiting for the light changes to signal start of the race. Before the lights signaled "GO", Maldonado jump started the race from his 6th position, racing down towards the front. Shortly after that, the rest of the cars officially start, and that's when mad chaos happened. Grosjean weaved towards Hamilton, their wheels made contact, and before you can say "Oh no!", Hamilton and Grosjean collided which ended with the Lotus tumbling across the front part of Alonso's Ferrari, taking Alonso and Perez out of the race. For a moment after the massive opening crash, all eyes were on Alonso as there was no movement in the Ferrari. To everyone's relief, Alonso was fine and climbed out of the car looking unharmed.
This is a jaw-dropping opener, showcasing again the danger factor and the unpredictability of this sport.
As chaos calm down with the arrival of the safety car, the person that was not affected at all by any of the opening incidents is the one on pole. Button beat out the rest in Qualifying, and looked unstoppable pre-race. I imagine Button privately doing a happy dance after Saturday Qualifying in beating out Hamilton and taking Pole.
For the rest of the race, Button led, drove flawlessly and turned the Pole position into a win. That's not to say there were no overtaking actions. On contrary, we saw Vettel starting out on 10th position to take home 2nd spot, and Raikkonen battling with a slightly handicapped Lotus to keep 3rd position. In fact, Raikkonen had some great back and forth battle with Schumacher around Lap 32 to 34. I was hoping for a top of the podium finish for Raikkonen, but alas, will have to wait for another race to see that happen.
With this 44-lap race, the teams and drivers are definitely starting to better guess the tire performances, as many teams tried 1-stop strategy and succeeded. As many may have predicted, the hard tyres worked much better on this high speed track than the medium tyres. With the sun shining throughout the race, the intermediates did not make any appearance.
Just to hit home that they have fixed the issues that caused sloppy pit-stops, McLaren pulled a 2.6 second pit stop for Button at Lap 20. Well done, McLaren team!
Winning the Belgian Grand Prix makes Button a repeat winner for the season. He's nowhere near Alonso on the points, but this win with Alonso and Hamilton out of the race is good news for Button in staying competitive. It's also the first race that Alonso did not finish in this season. The standing of the championship is now Alonso, Vettel, then Webber. If it's not clear by now, consistency is key in winning the championship title.
I did, for a brief moment, got confused while watching the race. I saw the grid girls outfits! The ladies dressed like they were going for a classy game of tennis in the country club. I'm quite intrigued by the grid girl and their outfits - why do the girls exists? what is the appropriate outfits for them? Does anyone else notice them and their outfits other than me? If grid girls became grid boys, would anyone notice? These are the questions I'm hoping to find out and I'll be posting about them soon.
Until then, we are a mere few days away from Monza! Catch you then!