September 4th, 2012 (F1plus / Ernie Black).- After a long summer break, Formula One shook off the cobwebs and kicked off the second half of the season at one of the best circuits on the F1 Calendar - Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium).
The race was brilliant on some accounts and absolutely horrific in others. The first corner pile up caused by Romain Grosjean tapping Lewis Hamilton's tyre which took out WDC leader Fernando Alonso, as well as themselves and others. Scary moments as fans watched Alonso attempt to take turn one sideways in mid-air after having Romain's Lotus pirouette inches away from his helmet. The on-board footage from Alonso's car, showed how incredibly lucky he was to not have been injured or decapitated.
Everyone involved in the massive shunt walked away without so much as a scratch and perhaps soiled undies. Lewis Hamilton was clearly upset as he had a few choice words for Grosjean and then decided to turn off communications altogether. A wise move perhaps.
A brilliant win for Jenson Button as he is officially in the title hunt again. For the first time the season, the winner of a Grand Prix lead from Pole to Flag. Vettel made up ground to the leader Alonso who bagged nothing more than a headache. Kimi overtook Lewis in the title race and Nico Hulkenberg in his Force India finished ahead of Felipe Massa's Ferrari.
With a few days between races, the F1 circus heads to another epic circuit. Steeped in history, overflowing with character and passionate fans, Monza will be the swan song to the European season. What a great way to say goodbye to Europe which has been home to some absolutely stunning races. Monza is another high speed circuit which will test nerves, engines, brakes and suspension on some of the high curbing. Cars need to be robust, drivers need to be fearless and everyone needs to be fast.
Alonso will be on Ferrari's home turf. He will need to perform as will Massa. One to maintain his lead in the standings, the other to hold on to his seat which slips further out his hands with every poor performance. A bad showing in front of the home town Tifosi might prove critical for the little Brazilian if one believes that his seat is still his to lose.
The title race is tighter than Bernie's Ecclestone's wallet, with the top six drivers all in with a chance to win. As we saw this past weekend in Belgium, anything can happen and when it does, the repercussions can be devastating for anyone's charge to take the crown.
Farewell Europe, thanks for the memories and let's end this in Monza with a thriller!