HAMILTON DOMINANT IN BELGIUM
Britain's Lewis Hamilton has regained the lead in the Formula One driver's title race after dominating the Belgian Grand Prix around the historic Spa Francorchamps circuit.
The McLaren driver made a great start and was never seriously threatened as he won from start to finish - despite one excursion into the gravel when caught out by slippery conditions.
"At the start, I was able to pace myself and maintain the gap - every time the cars behind increased their pace, I was able to answer," Hamilton said.
"Then, when the conditions changed, I had a wide moment at Turn Eight - and I was on the edge of my seat! Fortunately, I got out of it, took a step back, regained my focus, and took control again. I was so relieved to cross the line at the end of the race - it was an overwhelming feeling!"
After taking pole position, Australia's Mark Webber was leapfrogged at the start and could only watch as Hamilton and McLaren teammate Jenson Button lead the field.
However, the Australian was able to salvage second place in the race after his Red Bull teammate Sebastian Vettel rammed Button, putting the British driver out of the race. Vettel was hit with a drive-through penalty and failed to score a point.
Changeable weather conditions meant that all of Bridgestone's available tyre compounds - the wet, intermediate, soft and hard Potenza tyres - were called into play at various times during the race.
Many drivers were caught out by the conditions, including Ferrari's Fernando Alonso who spun and hit the barrier.
"The Spa weather gave us a very difficult situation. Spa has such a long lap that you cannot be on the correct tyre for an entire lap as the conditions can vary from very wet to damp to dry over the undulating seven kilometres of this fabulous track," said Hirohide Hamashima, Bridgestone's Director of Motorsport Tyre Development.
"Judging the level of grip, even when you are not on the correct tyre, is a very important aspect of the art of driving a racing car, so it was a pleasure to watch this art in practice. Even the very best drivers in the world can make mistakes in conditions like we had today, and those who were able to minimise their mistakes were able to achieve good results."
The result means Hamilton and Webber have now put some distance between themselves and the pack in the drivers' World Championship as the teams head to the Italian Grand Prix at Monza in a fortnight's time.
|1. ||Lewis Hamilton ||McLaren Mercedes ||182 points |
|2. ||Mark Webber ||Red Bull Renault ||179 |
|3. ||Sebastian Vettel ||Red Bull Renault ||151 |
|4. ||Jenson Button ||McLaren Mercedes ||147 |
|5. ||Fernando Alonso ||Ferrari ||141 |
PEDROSA CLAIMS INDIANAPOLIS VICTORY
Dani Pedrosa claimed his third win of the season with an impressive victory in the Indianapolis MotoGP.
Pedrosa, who fell while leading at the same event 12 months ago, started fifth but had moved up to second by lap four.
He then got ahead of pole-sitter and home favourite Ben Spies on lap eight before gradually extending his lead.
He finished 3.575 seconds clear of Spies with championship leader Jorge Lorenzo back in third. It was the worst result of the season for Lorenzo but he still leads the standings by 68 points from Pedrosa.
"The race conditions were very tough and the track didn't provide the level of grip we expected because the temperature was so high. In fact the track was 20 degrees Celsius hotter in the race than it was during last year's race here," said Tohru Ubukata, Manager of Bridgestone's Motorcycle Tyre Development Department.
"The race provided a direct comparison between the performance of both rear tyre compound options as tyre choice was mixed based on bike characteristics and rider preference. The consistency of both rear tyre options was impressive though and overall I am happy with our tyre performance."