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Brundle: Title rivals can't keep missing an open goal

Jenson Button's Formula One championship rivals cannot afford to go on eschewing opportunities such as that handed to them on a plate at the Belgian Grand Prix.

That is the view of Button's fellow Brit, ex-F1 driver and current BBC television pundit Martin Brundle, who believes that the points leader again got off lightly after crashing out on the opening lap at Spa-Francorchamps.

While the accident was not Button's fault - he was tagged by Renault rookie Romain Grosjean after making a better than expected start from 14th on the grid - it opened the door to rivals Rubens Barrichello, Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel, although only the German really made the most of it. From Button's perspective, however, that was the perfect result, as the man from Heppenheim had slipped to fourth overall after two non-finishes and could only close the gap by six points after trailing in third behind Kimi Raikkonen and Giancarlo Fisichella.

That was not the outcome many were predicting for either Red Bull entry, both before the weekend and even after Friday practice, but Vettel's podium was the height of the team's achievement after Mark Webber again failed to trouble the scorers, this time courtesy of a drive-thru' penalty for an unsafe pit release that almost took BMW Sauber's Nick Heidfeld into the wall.

“I had a good first lap and laid the right foundations to get some good points today," Webber sighed, "but, after [the penalty], it was a case of damage limitation. I tried to get back into the points and, when we had free air - which was not often - we had good pace, but it wasn't enough. It's very frustrating not to take any points away, especially as I thought I deserved them from that drive, but the drive-thru' wrecked that. No one's interested in excuses though - that's how it is."

Brundle, meanwhile, confirmed Webber's dejection, and reported that the entire Red Bull team had been perplexed by the sudden loss of pace compared to others on the grid.

"When I spoke to Mark on Saturday morning, his mind was already on the race and working out how to outfox the KERS runners up the hill - as far as he was concerned, he was already at or near the front of the grid," the Briton wrote in his regular BBC column, "However, even an hour before the race, the team was still wondering where the relative pace they had shown on Friday had disappeared to. And they were not alone in that; similar discussions were going on at Brawn and McLaren."

With both Webber and Vettel now having suffered back-to-back non-scores in the past three races, Button appears to have got off extremely lightly, especially as Valencia winner - and Brawn team-mate - Barrichello, had his Spa race ruined at the very start.

"Red Bull don't have one driver consistently collecting the big points and that compounds their problems," Brundle continued, "If [Webber] hadn't served a drive-through penalty, he would have had a solid result, [while] Vettel finished third having had some early dramas and a very poor first lap. In the end, he was just 3.8secs away from winner Raikkonen and that just shows how well the Red Bulls should have done.




Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Martin Brundle (GBR), Malaysian F1 Grand Prix, Sepang, Kuala Lumpar, 21st-23rd, March 2008
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Pirelli 2017 tyre test [Credit: Pirelli]
27.11.2016 - Race, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and 3rd place Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner and 3rd place Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and 3rd place Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and 3rd place Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, 3rd place Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and 3rd place Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, Start of the race, Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB12 and Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H and Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, Max Verstappen (NED) Red Bull Racing RB12
27.11.2016 - Race, Jenson Button (GBR)  McLaren Honda MP4-31
27.11.2016 - Race, Jenson Button (GBR)  McLaren Honda MP4-31
27.11.2016 - Race, Max Verstappen (NED) Red Bull Racing RB12 leads Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid
27.11.2016 - Race, Jolyon Palmer (GBR) Renault Sport F1 Team RS16 and Jenson Button (GBR)  McLaren Honda MP4-31
27.11.2016 - Race,Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H  leads Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB12
27.11.2016 - Race, Felipe Nasr (BRA) Sauber C34 and Max Verstappen (NED) Red Bull Racing RB12

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Blue Bobbo - Unregistered

September 02, 2009 9:55 AM

Classic Martin, great reasoning explained wonderfully for a layman audience. His grid 'interrogations' and precise, thoughtful event explanations help enhance my weekends. With a bit of luck, Jenson will come on strong in Italy.



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