2009 Belgian GP: Reality Check

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2009 Belgian GP: Reality Check
(Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Spa rocks my socks off. Has there ever been a boring race at this circuit? I can't get enough of the curves and the undulating terrain of this track.

Yet in another what-the-feck moment brought to you courtesy of Bernie Ecclestone, he thinks Spa should alternate hosting duties with the Nurburgring. And this just after the wonderful news from Valencia that we will have races there for the next five years! Thanks Bernie, after all the only reason why we watch F1 is so that we can line your pockets further. We should race at Daytona soon you know, so to help everyone reduce costs. Or maybe the Top Gear track, if they would lend it to us.

Anyway, moving on. Many great moments from Belgium this past weekend:


  • Badoer sticks it in the gravel in Q1. Minus 1. Rob Smedley must be pulling his hair out.
  • Both Force Indias in Q2. Plus 2. Not the first, but never with one driver topping Q1.
  • Shock: Button, Hamilton, Alonso & Kovalainen out in Q2. Minus 5. Woohoo. This is getting interesting. Only 0.5s separates the top ten.
  • Both BMWs and Toyotas in Q3. Plus 5. Looking good.
  • Fisichella on pole! Plus 5. Wow. It's ridiculous how tight the times are.
  • Kimi qualifies in P6. Plus 1. Not great, but will do.
  • Sunny race day. Plus 1.
  • Barrichello stalls at the race start. Minus 3. Umm, deja vu.
  • Kimi tries to out-drag the BMWs to La Source, runs wide, thanks to a Trulli-Heidfeld squabble joins back in third, then KERS his way past Kubica to second at Raidillon, nearly losing it at Les Combes. Plus 2. Whoa... very very aggressive stuff.
  • Grosjean and Alguersuari take out Button and Hamilton at Les Combes. Minus 1. Would deducted even more points, but the shot of Jenson and Lewis standing around looking non-plussed was highly amusing.
  • Race restart after safety car: KERS at Eau Rouge, Ferrari leads the race! Plus 2. Props to the magic button. It would be absolutely no fun if all cars had it.
  • Webber is released into the path of Nick Heidfeld. Drive-through penalty. Minus 2. I can't decide if this is pure bad luck that the same thing keeps happening, or if the RBR lollipop man needs to wake up a bit.
  • Alonso retires, left front wheel problems. Minus 2. Another deja vu moment, without the bouncing tyre.
  • Kimi takes the chequered flag! Plus 20. Yeah baby! King of Spa! 
  • Fisichella scores Force India's first-ever points and podium! Plus 20. Super super super job.
  • Seb Vettel in P3. Plus 2. The RBR-05 was blistering during the race, but pity not when it counted during qualifying.
  • BMWs in P4 and P5. Plus 2. Finally a positive weekend for the team.
  • Luca Badoer finishes in P14! That's not l... oh wait, that's still last. Minus 2. Sigh.
  • Post-race side track: FIA to investigate Piquet's crash at Singapore '08. Minus 5. Wtf? FIA should form a performing theatre troupe, cos they are really getting the hang of this drama thing. And if it turns out that Piquet himself started the rumour of race-fixing, I would be seriously disappointed.

Congrats again to Ferrari and Force India for a great job well done. I was positive that FI would score their first points before the end of 2009, but I always imagined it would be Sutil rather than Fisichella. A podium finish blew everyone away! The old boy's still got it in him eh? I'm very interested to see if the team can keep the momentum going for the rest of the season.
As for Kimi, I'm still completely ecstatic over his win. To quote Jenson, "Chuffed to bits." The BBC team was bemused that Kimi appeared passionless even though it was his first win in twenty-five races. Actually he did break quite a few smiles after the race --- that's bursting with joy for Kimi's standards. Also kudos to the team for two faultless pitstops, I was half afraid Ferrari would give us another "memorable" pitlane moment here.
Round 13 at Monza in two weeks! Cheers ;)


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