Rain was the biggest hero/villain at the Belgian Grand Prix after it came down with just 5 laps to go and changed the entire complexion of the race (and probably the World Championship!). Hero, because it shook up the race like anything at the end and gave us few hold-your-breath moments of racing. Villain, because it had a part in scuppering the chances of Kimi Raikkonen, who had drove a corker of a race up until that time! He and Lewis Hamilton were playing out a humdinger of a race at the top of the pack and with just 5 laps to go, the gap between these two was a mere 2 seconds. Then the rain came and some hectic slipping, sliding, passing and re-passing later, it was Hamilton who emerged unscathed as Raikkonen hit the barriers. Thus ended the Finn’s hope of a fourth consecutive win at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit. The Championship battle also seems over for Kimi as with five more races to go, the gap between him and leader Hamilton has increased to 23 points!
Felipe Massa finished the race in 2nd position after Kimi’s shunt and now Ferrari must surely put all their efforts behind him. BMW’s Nick Heidfeld clinched 3rd place after some daring passing moves in the wet on the last lap of the race! Fernando Alonso took fourth place, after pitting and putting on wet-weather tyres on the penultimate lap. Fifth place fell to Sebastian Vettel with Robert Kubica, Sebastian Bourdais and Timo Glock taking up sixth, seventh and eighth places.
The winner maybe Hamilton but the drive of the race was produced by Kimi Raikkonen. What more can be a better way to answer your critics than to get a good start, pull off two overtaking manoeuvres – one over your teammate and another over pole-sitter & Championship leader – & drive a stormer of a race! Of course he took home zero points but it showed that the racing fire is still burning steadily. It was sheer bad luck, coupled with unfavourable conditions and some better level-headed driving from Hamilton that saw Kimi lose out. The Championship race must surely be a two-horse one, with Hamilton and Massa separated by 8 points going into the last 5 races of the season. Robert Kubica jumps into 3rd place with a 1 point advantage over Kimi Raikkonen. It will now be a straight shootout for the title and I feel Kimi will be more helpful to Massa than Kovalainen will be to Hamilton. But again, Hamilton is ahead in points so its pretty much balanced out.
Image Courtesy: BBC Sport