F1 Driver of the Day: Belgian Grand Prix


The Belgian Grand Prix promised much, being the first race back from the long August summer break and everyone raring to get back into action. The fact that it's one of the best race circuits on the calendar, and brings with it decades of F1 history around every curve and corner through the Ardennes forest.

Normally rain plays a big role in spicing things up, as we saw in qualifying on Saturday. But on Sunday, the weather pulled its biggest trick of all by staying dry and bright for the entire race, defying the forecasters who had talked of rain from the midpoint of the 44-lap race. And the failure of the race to get wet left things ... Well, a little underwhelming to be honest, as Sebastian Vettel streaked away to his most dominant win of the 2013 season so far.

Does that mean Vettel gets your nod as the driver of the day? It's hard to fault his command of events on Sunday and he really didn't put a foot wrong. It would take a hard-hearted person not to credit him as the best driver at Spa this year - but we know Crash.net readers are very independent minded and not likely to go with the easy option for the sake of it!

So who else is in the frame? There was a pretty fabulous drive from Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, who started from ninth on the grid and was soon surging past Lewis Hamilton to take up second spot. If only he'd done better on qualifying, who knows if he'd been able to make things difficult for Vettel at the front as well?

And let's not overlook Hamilton. Mercedes knew they didn't have the raw power of their rivals at Red Bull and Ferrari - as was clearly demonstrated in the run down the Kemmel straight where Hamilton was at a disadvantage every time. But despite that, Hamilton kept his head down and came away with a podium position at a circuit that really could have been a disaster for him and his team mate, Nico Rosberg

Rosberg similarly deserves credit for holding on to his fourth place for the duration of the race - a far cry from outings like Bahrain where the Merc slaughtered its tyres and didn't have a prayer of staying competitive. Mark Webber also deserves credit for surviving a clutch problem that hit the Red Bull before the start of the race to battle his way to fourth, as does Felipe Massa for overcoming some pretty nasty electrical gremlins to finish seventh place behind Jenson Button, whose bid for a one-stop strategy might have been foiled but who still came away equalling his best finish of the year in sixth.

Looking further back, how about Daniel Ricciardo and that impressive final stint that saw the Toro Rosso slalom around the competition to steal the last points position from Sergio Perez in the final minutes of the race? That might just be impressive enough to seal the deal to put him in the Red Bull seat - or is that a done deal like Webber said?

And a couple of wild cards to round out the ten choices in this week's Driver of the Day poll: you have to feel for Kimi Raikkonen, who was moving up through the field right up to the moment when he was forced to retire because of his brakes overheating due to a discarded visor tear-off getting stuck in a cooling duct. Or how about Paul di Resta, who had a poor start to the race but was almost the star of the weekend at Spa with that mighty qualifying gamble in Q3 on Saturday. He would surely have finished in the points on Sunday if not for that meddling Maldonado, don't you think?

Those are the candidates, but the choice is yours: who do you think was the driver of the day in Spa? Simply pick one of the options below - and while you're at it, please do let us know how you came to that choice by posting in the comments section as we're really interesting to know what you thought of this year's Belgian GP.

Results...

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