Red Bull Racing Renault secures 1-2 result in Belgium Grand Prix posted on 30 August 2011
Red Bull Racing, powered by the Renault RS27 engine, secured victory in today’s Belgium Grand Prix following a thrilling race. Sebastian Vettel took the win from pole position, marking his 7th victory of the season and his 17th career win. Vettel’s team-mate Mark Webber took second position to give the RS27 its second 1-2 result of the year.
Lotus Renault GP put another RS27 into the points, with Vitaly Petrov taking ninth position overall. Bruno Senna started his first race for the team from an impressive seventh, but finished in 13th following a first lap incident that dropped him back down the field.
Team Lotus achieved a further double finish, with Jarno Trulli 14th and Heikki Kovalainen 15th.
The victory is the first Renault engine win at Spa since 1995 and its 137th win in F1. It also maintains Renault Sport F1’s unbroken record of having at least one engine partner on the podium so far this season.
Key race weekend points:
Red Bull Racing
Red Bull Racing achieved the perfect result, with Sebastian Vettel winning from pole position ahead of Mark Webber. After a good start, Vettel lost the lead later on the first lap to Nico Rosberg, but the reigning world champion was able to retake the lead using DRS on lap three. He then extended his lead until an early pit stop just three laps later. Alonso and Hamilton looked strong, moving into the top spots over Rosberg after Vettel pitted, but the early stop allowed Vettel to stay ahead when the McLaren and Ferrari came in for new tyres. Vettel soon retook the lead from Rosberg with an incredible pass through the fast Blanchimont corner. When the safety car was deployed after Hamilton’s crash Vettel made a further stop, which put him behind Alonso, but the German was able to move back in front when the racing resumed. Mark Webber fell back to eighth after a slow start, but an early pit stop and good strategy put him back into the top three. The Australian’s pace on this final stint allowed him to squeeze past Alonso in a bold move through Eau Rouge. Alonso did retake the position but Webber moved back in front on lap 37 and extended a gap over the Spaniard, who was then passed by Button with two laps to go. Red Bull leads the constructors’ championship by 131 points, and now sits 1-2 in the drivers’ championship. Vettel has 259 points to Webber’s 167, with Alonso now third with 157 points.
Lotus Renault GP
Bruno Senna made his race debut for Lotus Renault GP this weekend alongside Vitaly Petrov. The Brazilian put in an impressive performance in qualifying, not only making the grade for Q3 but securing seventh position; the best qualifying position for the team since the Spanish Grand Prix. Unfortunately an incident with the Toro Rosso of Jaime Alguersuari at the first corner caused damage to the front wing and required a pit stop, with a drive through penalty subsequently given for the offence. He dropped almost to the rear of the field and then concentrated on finishing the race to gain as much mileage as possible. He crossed the line in 13th. Vitaly Petrov made it a double Q3 performance for the team, with a starting position of 10th. He stayed clear of the first lap incidents and employed a two stop strategy to finish in ninth overall. The Russian was looking good for eighth but a brake issue on the final lap allowed the Ferrari of Felipe Massa past. The team remains fifth in the constructors’ championship.
Heikki Kovalainen put Team Lotus through to Q2 for the second time this year, qualifying in 16th position after a strong performance in the drying session. As a result of the incidents further up the grid, he and Jarno Trulli made contact at the first corner and Heikki required a new nose cone. Using a three stop strategy the Finn was able to move back up into 15th at the end of the race. Jarno Trulli had a quick start from just behind Heikki on the grid, but the floor of his car was slightly damaged in the incident shortly after the green light. A canny drive and quick pit stops also enabled him to finish a strong 14th.
Rémi Taffin, head of Renault Sport F1 track operations, gives his views on the race weekend:
Spa is a circuit that puts very high demands on the engines, with the throttle wide open for more than 70% of the 7.004km lap. A good top speed is therefore crucial here, but correct calibration of seventh gear to get a rapid acceleration down the long straights is equally important. Responsiveness out of the hairpin and chicane also add to the difficulty of preparing this race. Given the challenges this track presents it’s a really good feeling to have this 1-2 result as it shows the engine can deliver performance without compromising on the driveability.
Clearly this was a good result for Red Bull Racing, but it was also a promising weekend for Lotus Renault GP and for Team Lotus. Bruno had a very strong debut, with an incredible qualifying performance. Sadly he could not capitalise on this in the race, but it does show that the engine-chassis package still has a good speed and performance. Vitaly also gave the team a solid two points in ninth to extend the gap over Sauber. Likewise Team Lotus has been strong over the weekend, particularly in qualifying, and racing in the midfield.
We’ve got Monza coming up next, another track that’s very hard on the engines, with power and acceleration being key. We’ve shown that the Renault RS27 can perform, but we need to keep this rhythm going, not lose focus and concentrate on delivering the most competitive units we can to our partners.
Renault statistics in F1:
137 wins, 188 poles
* including Supertec, Mecachrome and Playlife statistics²