Vettel: Dry race made things easier

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Sebastian Vettel is pleased that the predicted rain showers did not hit Spa-Francorchamps during the Belgian Grand Prix today, allowing the German driver to dominate the race and win by over twelve seconds.

Rain had marred qualifying yesterday, and the FIA predicted before the race that there was a 60% chance of a shower hitting the circuit. However, it turned out to be a bone dry race that Vettel won with relative ease.

Speaking on the podium after the race, Vettel said: “It was a fantastic race for us. From start to finish, very good tactics and it helped on the first lap to have the tow off Lewis [Hamilton].

“I really enjoyed that a lot, I think the guys on the pit wall did as well. Fortunately there was no rain, so no critical calls to make.”

Vettel had qualified P2 for the race, and despite failing to pass pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton into the tight turn one, the German driver managed to get a tow off the back of the Mercedes heading along the Kemmel Straight, making the pass stick through Les Combes. After that, the defending world champion never looked back. The gap quickly widened and even after losing some time in the pits at his first stop, Vettel was always in control, so much so that he could even set the fastest lap of the race on lap forty.

However, Vettel’s blistering pace gave cause for concern at Red Bull, with engineer Guillaume Rocquelin telling him to ease off during the final stages of the race for fear of throwing away an almost-certain victory.

The win sees Vettel extend his lead in the championship to forty-six points over Fernando Alonso, and the pace of the Red Bull car suggests that it will take a remarkable turnaround to prevent the German driver from winning a fourth consecutive drivers’ championship in 2013.

Toro Rosso at crossroads after Kvyat’s point, Hartley’s strong debut

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In a weekend with something to prove at Circuit of The Americas, Daniil Kvyat rose to the occasion with what he called “his best race of the season for sure” at the United States Grand Prix.

But it may not be enough for the Russian to have saved his seat at Scuderia Toro Rosso for the three final races this year.

Meanwhile, New Zealander Brendon Hartley capped off his roller-coaster debut weekend in Formula 1 with a solid 13th place finish after starting from the rear of the grid, learning as the race went on and bringing home his Toro Rosso chassis to the flag.

Toro Rosso faces a dilemma of three drivers available but only two seats to fill for the final three Grands Prix, with the Mexican Grand Prix coming up just next week.

Frenchman Pierre Gasly will be back after missing Austin due to his Super Formula commitments at Suzuka in Japan, but ultimately that went for naught as the races were canceled due to a typhoon.

Kvyat qualified 12th, was promoted to 11th by way of grid penalties and ended 10th, scoring a point for only the third race this year and first time since coming ninth in the Spanish Grand Prix back in May.

It was a weekend where he would have been expected to outdo Hartley, and did so, but not by a massive margin. And he was already coming in with a track time disadvantage, losing out in FP1 as Indonesian Formula 2 driver Sean Gelael ran in his chassis.

As it was, he rated his weekend performance highly and didn’t do his chances of staying in the car any harm.

Speaking to NBCSN after the race, Kvyat said, “Yeah, it was a perfect race. I did everything well. Brought the points home. It was close with (Felipe) Massa.

“We had some energy release issues on the engine. But it was a massive weekend. It was great. I really enjoyed myself. It was a good job by the team to keep it together with very limited running.

Hartley built up confidence throughout the weekend as he learned the car, the Pirelli tires and how an F1 race races versus an endurance race that he’d been used to doing for several years.

Having coming into the weekend with no expectations and just taking the race session-by-session, he felt good at the end of it.

“There’s so many little things to reflect on,” he told NBCSN. “I’ll put the eyes at rest and process it all. I did the standing start and it wasn’t the best… it’s been a long time.

“But yeah, (you’re learning) in terms of following in traffic, what 20 laps on these tires means, how much you can push it. I’m pretty satisfied. The pace was pretty strong. I made the mistake of getting passed by (Lance) Stroll. I couldn’t pass him back. Lots of challenges. I hope I can get another shot at it.

“Up until this moment… I didn’t want to know. I just wanted to do the job. I’m really relaxed. Now there might be some conversations.”

Toro Rosso figures to reveal its Mexican Grand Prix driver lineup early this week.