Button Brilliant in Belgium

Britain’s Jenson Button has won the Belgian Grand Prix in spectacular fashion. Starting from his first ever McLaren pole position, he had a great start and lead the race from start to finish, not even losing the race during pit stops. But that is not why people will remember the race.

While lining up on the grid, Kamui Kobayashi’s brakes started smoking heavily. If that wasn’t bad enough for Kamui, it took longer than usual for the grid to fill up. Button had a great start but behind him all hell broke loose. Romain Grosjean careered across the grid into Lewis Hamilton’s front wing, sending Lewis into a spin who then mounted Grosjean’s rear wing. Grosjean was sent flying sideways into Alonso’s car, missing Fernando’s head by millimetres before ending up in the wall. Hamilton, Alonso and Grosjean were all out immediately and Perez had to pull up a few seconds later, minus a rear wing. It was a worrying minute or two for everybody as Alonso sat motionless in his car with medics running to him before he moved his head, and was slowly helped out of the car, obviously very shaken up.

Pastor Maldonado who had a fantastic start, lost his front wing and had to pull off the track on turn 5 to retire the car. The safety car came out with Button first, Raikkonen 2nd and Hulkenberg 3rd. At the restart, Button bolted away from Raikkonen while Hulkenberg passed Raikkonen into Turn 4. Schumacher was the big winner from the start, jumping from 14th to 6th.

Jenson continued to pull out his lead as Schumacher chased Raikkonen for 3rd, pulling a fantastic move into turn 4 to pass Raikkonen. Webber and Raikkonen pitted on Lap 8, Raikkonen re-joining 8th, Webber 13th. In the other end of the pits, Kovalainen and Karthikeyan has a collision in the pits. The Caterham was released into the path of the Hispania. It was nothing major, but it did leave the Stewards investigating the incident. Another unsafe release was Webber being released almost directly into the path of Massa, leaving some quick thinking McLaren engineers diving out of the way. This time, there was no actual collision but it was still a close one.

On Lap 20, Schumacher and Vettel had a very close shave. Vettel darted up the inside to take Schumacher into the last chicane while Schumacher locked up all four tyres. Schumacher turned into the corner and had to pit leaving him darting across Vettel. Sebastian had to act quickly to prevent a spin. The stewards certainly weren’t short of work! Also into the pits was race leader Button who set a blistering pit time of 2.6 seconds, keeping his lead when he exited the pits.

Halfway during the race and Sauber discover a problem. Kobayashi has been carrying damage since the start of the race, including a hole in the sidepod that kept getting bigger. Despite everything he continued on, much credit to his character.

Lap 32 and Schumacher, Raikkonen, Webber and Hulkenberg, in that order, were very close together and really fighting. Schumacher and Raikkonen were on the form of their lives passing each other several times. Who said the old drivers weren’t good? In the midst of it all, Narain Karthikeyan spun into the gravel on turn 14, sending him into a barrier at very high-speed. A front left wheel went skywards and landed beside the car. The yellow flags around turn 14 failed to dampen the racing and Raikkonen and Schumacher continued to attack each other, culminating in a fantastic pass by Raikkonen just before Eau Rouge. Schumacher had lost his pace and was left open to an attack by Hulkenberg straight after Eau Rouge. With 10 laps left in the race, Schumacher was forced to pit. His hopes of a podium for his 300th Grand Prix were ruined.

The last 10 laps was just show-boating for Jenson as he cruised to his 14th career win. Despite some brilliant fighting between the two Marussia’s, there was no change up front and a delighted Jenson crossed the line.

Final Standings:

1. Jenson Button
2. Sebastian Vettel
3. Kimi Raikkonen
4. Nico Hulkenberg
5. Felipe Massa
6. Mark Webber
7. Michael Schumacher
8. Jean-Eric Vergne
9. Daniel Ricciardo
10. Paul Di Resta
11. Nico Rosberg
12. Bruno Senna
13. Kamui Kobayashi
14. Vitaly Petrov
15. Timo Glock
16. Charles Pic
17. Heikki Kovalainen
18. Pedro De La Rosa

Retired:

Narain Karthikeyan – Spun off
Pastor Maldonado – Collision
Sergio Perez – Collision
Fernando Alonso – Collision
Lewis Hamilton – Collision
Romain Grosjean – Collision

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