Belgian GP: Race notes - McLaren


Vodafone McLaren Mercedes drivers Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton finished the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps in third and fourth positions respectively. After 44 laps, 308.176 km and a total race time of 1hr20min39.066, Fernando came home 14.3 seconds behind winner Kimi Raikkonen. Lewis ended up fourth, 9.2 seconds behind his team mate. Both drivers were on two-stop strategies. Fernando came in on laps 15 (9.5 seconds) and 33 (5.8 seconds) whilst Lewis came in on laps 16 (9.6 seconds) and 37 (6.3 seconds). After 14 out of 17 races, Lewis maintained his lead in the Drivers' Championship with 97 points followed by Fernando in second position with 95 points.

Fernando Alonso: It was nice to be back at Spa. At the start I was sticking to the inside line as long as possible. Unfortunately Lewis ran wide, as there was no space left and I knew there was plenty of run off area. I knew that my car in the first stint would be a bit faster as I was stopping one lap earlier than Lewis, so it was very important to be in front. Unfortunately Ferrari was just too quick for us today. I tried quite hard to keep the pace with Felipe in the first stint hoping that I could make up a position in the pitstops, but they were slowly moving ahead - after the first stop it was impossible to catch them. We just seemed to lack a bit of pace in the first and last sectors. It will be a close fight until the end of the Championship which the fans will hopefully enjoy.

Lewis Hamilton: The car didn't feel too bad, it just hasn't worked for me as well as it has at other tracks. I just couldn't seem to improve on my times at all. I got a good start and thought I had a chance to get past at the first corner, but I had to run wide as Fernando kept to the inside line. Initially I thought ‘oh thanks' but I guess these things happen when you fight for the World Championship. During the race I did the best that I could and was pushing all the way to the end, hence the small mistake in the final laps. I got the points, which is the main thing. The gap between Fernando and myself is now down to two points which is close, but I am just going to go all out in the last three races to try and win the Drivers' Championship.

Ron Dennis: When you have two great drivers like Fernando and Lewis fighting for the World Championship, you have to expect manoeuvres like we saw today at the start, which are a result of both being extremely competitive. We have a great World Championship with both at the top of the table, and I am looking forward to the next three races. The team gave them every opportunity to fight up until the final lap. We have worked hard and have shown 100% reliability in the races with our cars so far this year and the entire team look forward to the rest of the season.

Norbert Haug: Today we had not the best performance of the season so far. After five races Lewis was five points ahead of our best placed competitor, after ten he was 11 and now with three races to go 13 and Fernando 11 respectively. We cannot expect dominant results like we achieved last weekend in Monza on every racetrack. Nevertheless Lewis and Fernando continue to cover the top two spots in the Drivers' World Championship as they have done for the last ten Grands Prix. Everybody in our team will work hard to maintain these positions until after the final race in Sao Paulo in five weeks time.

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Published: 16/09/2007
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