Lewis Hamilton proved once again that he may be the best wet weather driver in F1 today. Hamilton put his McLaren Mercedes in the lead of Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix in turn one, and never looked back. Mark Webber, driving for Red Bull Renault, finished second and Robert Kubica, driving for Renault, finished third.
Hamilton’s day contained plenty of drama, including an off-course excursion on slick tires in the rain that nearly ended his race. Others, including Sebastian Vettel, Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso weren’t as lucky, either ending their race with a DNF or finishing out of the points.
Sunday’s demolition derby began when Rubens Barichello (who started his 300th Grand Prix on Sunday) put his Williams into the rear of Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari. The massive impact took Barichello out of the race, but somehow didn’t damage Alonso’s car. Alonso later spun on cold tires, impacting the tire barrier and destroying his front suspension. The DNF meant that Alonso would earn no championship points in Belgium, and he remains fifth overall.
Perhaps the strangest crash of the race came when Sebastian Vettel, driving for Red Bull Renault, attempted to pass Jenson Buton’s McLaren Mercedes for second position. Prior to overtaking Button’s car, Vettel lost control, spun, and then drove his Red Bull Renault into the side pod of Button’s McLaren. Vettel was able to return to the pits for a new front wing, but Button’s day ended on the spot with a split radiator. Button, who is currently fourth in the championship standings, also failed to earn any points in Belgium.
Vettel received a drive through penalty for his actions, but his streak of bad luck wasn’t over yet. Contact with Vitantonio Liuzzi shredded Vettel’s rear tire, and the subsequent drive to the pits dropped him back to fifteenth position and out of the points for the race. Vettel fell from second to third in the overall driver standings.
Lewis Hamilton’s victory in Belgium put him atop the driver’s standings, and Mark Webber’s second place finish moves him just three points behind Hamilton in the championship standings. With six races left in the season, the championship is still up for grabs between Hamilton (182 points), Webber (179), Vettel (151), Button (147) and Alonso (141).