Team Lotus Extend Lead At Belgium
Belgian Grand Prix
Despite three weeks which tempted the teams to change their drivers, no one decided to alter their driver line up. Belgian Jerome D’Ambrosio would race in his home race. Former New Teams driver for HRT, Bruno Senna, replaced Nick Heidfeld at Renault.
A wet track at Spa tends to throw up a few surprises, and it was no different this year. Michael Schumacher’s crash allowed all of the six to move up one place, and this meant that Trulli would start 19th, followed by Glock. Home driver D’Ambrosio, Vitantonio Liuzzi and Daniel Ricciardo all finished behind the 107% mark, but were allowed to race based on the conditions.
However for the second Belgian Grand Prix in a row, Heikki Kovalainen made it into Q2. Taking full advantage from a bad call from Force India, he set the 16th fastest time of the session, pipping Paul di Resta into 18th, as well as also beating Kamui Kobayashi.
Kovalainen couldn’t do anything similar in Q2, but the pace of his car held back several other drivers, notably Lewis Hamilton and Pastor Maldonado. Maldonado’s subsequent penalty promoted Kovalainen, Trulli, Glock and D’Ambrosio up one position.
Usually a rare thing for Spa, but it was a sunny day and remained that way for the whole race. The start saw chaos, Timo Glock rammed into the side of one of the Force India’s at La Source, causing him to get a drive through penalty. At the same corner, the two Team Lotus drivers came together, so by the end of the first lap, Ricciardo was leading Liuzzi, D’Ambrosio and Trulli. Both Kovalainen and Glock were forced to make a stop.
It remained this way until the Safety Car period, where Daniel Ricciardo unfortunately pulled over because of unusual vibrations. It was a shame for the young Australian, as the race was very much in his hands.
The Safety Car period bunched the remaining five together, and the lot of them all remained relatively close to each other for the rest of the race. Trulli and Kovalainen were able to jump Liuzzi, as was D’Ambrosio and Glock, in the pits.
Towards the end, the Belgian was forced to save fuel, although it was enough for him to finish in front of his team mate.
Jarno Trulli would win, ahead of Heikki Kovalainen. Their performance would be good enough to finish above Rubens Barrichello, however the Brazilian had been involved in a collision and had lost a significant amount of time.
|1||Jarno Trulli||Team Lotus||14th||10|
|2||Heikki Kovalainen||Team Lotus||15th||6|
|3||Jerome D’Ambrosio||Marussia Virgin||17th||4|
|4||Timo Glock||Marussia Virgin||18th||3|
Jarno Trulli (14th) – “I had a great start, passing a few other cars away from the line but then the accident in T1 meant both Heikki and I suffered damage – him to his nosecone, me to the floor and I had to run the whole race with that damage, so to finish 14th after that is just fantastic.”
Jerome D’Ambrosio (17th) – “I’m very pleased how things went in my first home Grand Prix. There were quite a few incidents today so I focused on keep it nice and clean and in the end the team has another good two-car result. It’s been a great way to start part two of the season.”
Colin Kolles (Hispania Team Principle) – “This was a weekend where we needed thick skin to cope with all the problems that we encountered. We knew that Spa would be difficult. We were aiming at a two car finish, but it was not the case. It is a pity that Daniel was forced in to the first retirement of his F1 career and we must now work very hard to solve the issues.”
Just when things started to look exciting… Team Lotus go and spoil it again. Jarno Trulli extends his lead to seven points over his team mate. Both Virgin drivers move out of my newly created ‘win zone’, meaning they need more than a win to take the lead in the Championship. With D’Ambrosio finishing ahead of Glock, he is now only three points behind in that inter-team battle. Liuzzi finds himself in no-mans land, while Ricciardo remains level with Karthikeyan.
|1||Jarno Trulli||Team Lotus||65|
|2||Heikki Kovalainen||Team Lotus||58|
|3||Timo Glock||Marussia Virgin||52|
|4||Jerome D’Ambrosio||Marussia Virgin||49|
|8||Karun Chandhok||Team Lotus||2|
Hmm… boring again.
The final European race is once again at Monza, before the fly-away races in Asia and Brazil. This time last year, Timo Glock took the spoils ahead of Heikki Kovalainen. It is a race the Finn has previously done well at, scoring a podium at the track in 2008.
The track will feature two DRS zones, so passing will feature if they can stay close enough, and manage to stay in the race.