Belgian and Italian Grand Prix
Two great wins for Vettel on circuits where Red Bull has always struggled in the past and where McLaren were thought to be favourites. Despite tyre problems which emerged during qualifying Red Bull scored a one two in Spa with Button just 9 seconds behind. A misunderstanding with his pit crew cost Button valuable time in Q3 and resulted in him starting the race from well down the grid. As usual Button’s race pace was faultless and a second row start position may have given him a chance of the top spot on the podium. Once again Hamilton made a bad misjudgement when lapping a slow car which resulted in him ending his race in the guardrail. Alonso and the Ferrari never quite had the pace of the Red Bulls and the Mclaren and the most spectacular overtaking move of the race occurred when Weber went around the outside of Alonso into Eau Rouge. A heart-stopping manoeuvre, which earned Weber a hard fought second place.
Red Bull were certainly not favourite for pole position at Monza but once again Vettel pulled out all the stops and won pole with a margin of almost half a second over Hamilton and Button. In fact 2nd to 5th place were separated by 10ths only with Alonso and Webber 4ht and 5th. Alonso made a terrific start from position four to lead into the first chicane with Vettel in hot pursuit. Vettel was looking for a way past and swept around the outside of Alonso in the Curve Grande putting two wheels on the grass at over 200mph. Vettel was anxious to get into the lead as fast as possible as he had opted for a slightly lower gearing which would give him an advantage out of the corners but would leave him vulnerable on the straights if anyone could get close enough to him to use the drag reduction system (DRS) and overtake him. No one did. He cruised to a 9 sec. victory over Button, who once again suffered from a bad start and had to fight his was through. Hamilton became stuck behind Schumacher for a large part of the race and could not threaten Alonso in 3rd. Schumacher was using all his old tactics and was thought to overstep the mark on occasions but was not penalized.
So Vettel posted hid 8th win of the season and only has to finish 3rd in Singapore to win the Championship. Second, third and fourth positions are very close between Alonso, Button, Webber and Hamilton so we should see some good racing in the last six events.
Although I was very critical of the tyre situation during the first half of the season, the Teams and Pirelli seem to have gotten to grips with things and we are seeing some very exciting racing now, even though Vettel can be said to be dominating.