ANY questions over Sebastian Vettel’s form were firmly answered as he dominated proceedings ahead of Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber at the Belgian Grand Prix.
Without a win in three going into the summer break, the run-away championship leader looked in a slump, but he answered his critics by not only setting a stunning pole position, but by racing flawlessly and overtaking his opponents with relative ease – something he has been criticised for in the past.
Webber, who signed a contract extension on Friday to keep him with the Tilbrook team until December 2012, also looked very impressive around the notorious Spa-Francorchamps circuit, following his team-mate home as he saw off threats Ferarri’s Fernando Alonso and McLaren’s Jenson Button.
But it could have been even better for the Australian if his RB7 had made a clean start off the line. Webber’s car was slugging as the lights went out, dropping him from third on the grid to eighth at the end of the first lap.
“The start was shocking, I dropped the lever and anti-stall came immediately,” said Webber. “So we were on the back foot from then knowing we were going to stop early, as Seb said our tyres were pretty badly damaged after qualifying.
“We made the first stop and had a bit of a fight with Fernando who had very good grip on the Option tyres initially, then I could stay with him on the prime tyre.
“In the end we got a good result, I would love to have had a normal Grand Prix but it was still an enjoyable race and we got a good result.”
But Vettel was in a class of his own, as he extended his championship lead over his team-mate.
He said: “I have to say the car worked brilliantly and compared to previous years we were very competitive, so I’m very, very happy with the result and very happy with the race.
“Surprisingly, the pace was very, very good in the race, I was feeling very comfortable in the car. Without too much effort in the beginning I was able to keep up with the guys and get back into the lead.
“Halfway through the race and after the Safety Car it was crucial to get back in the lead by jumping Fernando and building a gap. This obviously made it more comfortable towards the end of the race.”
With seven races remaining, Vettel is 92 points clear of Webber in second, and the team are firmly in control of the constructors’ championship, leading rivals McLaren by 131 points.