Hamilton Wins as Tyre Choices Take Priority in Variable Weather
The impact of the correct tyre choices at the Belgian Grand Prix was underlined by the discrepant fortunes of old team-mates/enemies Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso, with the former winning the race and the latter falling victim to poorly timed dry and wet weather tyre fitments. Hamilton used a soft – hard – intermediate tyre strategy throughout an afternoon in which team bosses’ eyes remained on the rain radar. Alonso gambled in qualifying, using up too many fresh soft compound Bridgestone Potenzas. Red Bull’s Mark Webber, an increasingly likely title-challenger, finished second after surviving a terrible start from pole, while Renault’s Robert Kubica finished third, once again underlining his class in a car many believe to be inferior to those of his closest championship rivals, Felipe Massa and Nico Rosberg.
Hiroshi Yasukawa, director of Bridgestone Motorsport, said: “Once more Spa Francorchamps has provided us with typically difficult weather conditions which gave us a very exciting race. We saw many spectators brave the wet conditions all weekend and they were rewarded with fantastic action. Bridgestone’s brand awareness in Europe has been expanded enormously by our participation in Formula 1 over the past 14 years. This was the home Grand Prix for Bridgestone Europe, who are based in Brussels, so we thank them for hosting Bridgestone Motorsport for a final time here in Spa.”
Hirohide Hamashima, the company’s director of Motorsport Tyre Development, said: “The Spa weather gave us a very difficult situation, even for our last visit here. This was a very tough day for those on track and those on the pit wall. Spa has such a long lap that you cannot be on the correct tyre for an entire lap as the conditions can vary from very wet to damp to dry over the undulating 7km of this fabulous track.
“Judging the level of grip, even when you are not on the correct tyre, is a very important aspect of the art of driving a racing car, so it was a pleasure to watch this art in practice. Even the very best drivers in the world can make mistakes in conditions like we had today, and those who were able to minimise their mistakes were able to achieve good results.
“Congratulations to Lewis for his win, accomplished despite a run through a gravel trap using dry tyres on a wet section of the track. Making a perfect tyre is a very difficult challenge, however the four tyres we had here today covered the range of conditions we experienced admirably and we thank our technicians in Tokyo for their fine efforts to develop such good tyres.”
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