In our post-qualifying press release on Saturday, our technical director Giorgio Ascanelli, who worked in the past with Ayrton Senna, commented that it was emotional to see the yellow helmet in a black car again at Spa, in reference to Bruno Senna’s appearance in the Renault team. After the opening moments of today’s Belgian Grand Prix, as the Brazilian smashed into Jaime Alguersuari’s Toro Rosso at the very first corner, putting the Spaniard out of the race, Ascanelli was no doubt not feeling quite so warm towards him.
Who knows, maybe Sergio Perez felt left out at not being mentioned in Saturday’s communiqué, but the Sauber man certainly did got his name in lights on Sunday’s, after the Mexican drove into the back of Sébastien Buemi putting him out of the race in the very early stages. The biggest frustrations come with the greatest expectations and after Jaime had secured his best-ever grid position, sixth, before moving up to fifth off the grid, the groan of disappointment from the garage could be heard above the roar of the engines. Sébastien had got a great start, moving up five places from eleventh on the grid to sixth at the first corner, but six laps later, he was pulling his helmet and balaclava off in disgust, having had Perez’s Sauber run into the back of him, damaging the rear wing irreparably.
Even if this afternoon leaves a bad taste in the mouth, it will soon be washed away by thoughts of preparing for the next round in Monza in two weeks time: it goes without saying that the Italian Grand Prix is an important fixture for us and we have reason to be optimistic that we can perform well on the historic high-speed track, the fastest of the season. As for today’s race, it was another exciting afternoon of motor sport, even if the result sounds predictable enough with Sebastian Vettel taking his seventh win of the season ahead of Red Bull Racing team-mate Mark Webber. They were joined on the podium by Jenson Button in the McLaren. Once again, it was the Pirelli tyres that created much of the excitement: blistering had been a problem in qualifying and despite approaches made by some teams to the FIA, the top ten on the grid had to stick to the rule of starting the race on the exact set of tyres with which they completed qualifying. This naturally meant they were all on the Soft tyre, which resulted in some very early stops, with concerns over the state of the tyres. If the Red Bull dominance is what we have come to expect, Button’s drive was surprising, given he came from 13th on the grid. Another pleasant surprise came as a Mercedes crossed the line to take fifth: this was the twentieth anniversary of Michael Schumacher’s F1 debut and after a qualifying problem saw him start from the back of the grid, making up 19 places was an achievement worthy of a seven times world champion.