Spa – Hmm…

{ Posted on Sep 09 2008 by dScribe }

Should Lewis Hamilton have been penalised at Spa Francorchamps? That’s the question on everyone’s lips…

My first impression was his fight with Kimi Raikkonen was fair. After cutting the chicane, Lewis let Kimi back into the lead. That’s the normal procedure. Nothing wrong there. From the outside, it looks like a good clean fight. I mean, it did look like Kimi didn’t give him any room, so cutting the chicane was the only option right?

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My opinion started to change a bit when I saw the on-board shots from Hamilton’s car (from 3:20 on in the video below):

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From the on-board it looks to me like Lewis could have in fact taken the corner if he slowed a little but instead chose to keep his momentum to ensure he had an opportunity to pass Kimi into the first corner.

Regardless of whether or not Lewis backed off enough to “undo” the advantage he got from cutting the chicane, I think most people would agree that the penalty given was too harsh. Perhaps a 5 spot grid penalty in the next race would have been more appropriate or even just a warning? A 25 second race time penalty could have meant Lewis scored no points if it weren’t for the fact the field got spread out so much in the chaotic conditions – and that would have been a penalty even his harshest critics wouldn’t agree with.

Aside from the whole Lewis penalty, the race had some pretty exciting moments right from the start. So let’s get to the points:

Lewis Hamilton – Drove really well. Used the fact that the McLaren warms the tyres quicker to his advantage as the conditions deteriorated. Unlucky to get such a harsh penalty.

Kimi Raikkonen – You have to feel for Kimi. Spa is a track he owns and to crash out so close to victory must hurt so bad – especially as it almost completely rules him out of the Championship hunt.

Felipe Massa – A bit of poetic justice for the Brazilian. The gains Lewis made from Felipe’s car trouble in the past have somewhat been negated now. So it’s a straight fight to the championship. But in all honesty this wasn’t one of Felipe’s best races.

Fernando Alonso – Starting to impress again, despite his horsepower woes.

Nick Heidfeld – Brilliant decision to change to wet tyres at the end. A nice way to follow up a good qualifying performance. One of the rare few races this year when he’s done better than teammate Robert Kubica.

Sebastian Vettel – Every race this guy’s stock seems to go up :)

Toro Rosso – So nice to see the old Minardi team doing so well. I hope Vettel’s imminent move to Red Bull Racing isn’t a step backwards… I wouldn’t be surprised if Red Bull somehow do a deal to get the Ferrari engines in their lead team in the next few years…

Heikki Kovalainen – Showed just how strong McLaren is by storming back through the field. What he didn’t realise is he has to earn each and every position – it’s not his right to just go flying by everyone 8)

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