Button wins in Spa after escaping first corner melee!

After breaking his 60 race pole position duck in Spa qualifying, McLaren’s Jenson Button continued his domination of the 2012 Belgian Grand Prix with a lights to flag victory; 13 seconds ahead of Red Bull’s current world champion Sebastian Vettel and 25 seconds ahead of Lotus’ Kimi Raikkonen. All three drivers managing to avoid the first corner melee caused by Lotus’ Romain Grosjean squeezing and tagging Lewis Hamilton; the pair of them careering into championship leader Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari and fifth placed starter Sergio Perez’ Sauber, all four drivers instantly out of the race.

With the championship leader out of the equation, it was all to play for, Alonso’s 40 point lead was to dwindle as current champion Vettel climbed from 10th on the grid to finish second making a number of excellent passes allied to good team strategy to get him ahead of Lotus’ Kimi Raikkonen. Sadly, despite the win and breaking the 100 point barrier, Button is still a 63 points behind championship leader Alonso, while Vettel climbed to second; 24 points off the Spaniard.

Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi and Sergio Perez who started from second and fifth respectively had their races ruined by the first corner incident, Perez instantly out of the race and Kobayashi finishing 13th after sustaining significant damage. Williams also no scored with Bruno Senna finishing 12th after running in the points before suffering from tyre degradation issues and Maldonado crashed out while trying to recover from being caught up in the first corner melee.

It was a good day for Force India and Toro Rosso, getting both cars in the points. Nico Hulkenberg scored an excellent fourth place while Paul di Resta grabbed a point for 10th. The STR drivers finished line-astern in eighth and ninth, Jean-Eric Vergne finishing ahead of Daniel Ricciardo.

The sole remaining Ferrari of Felipe Massa finished in a great fifth place from 14th place on the grid, having a number of great battles along the way. Mark Webber who started from 12th after suffering a grid penalty for a gearbox change finished in sixth place and Michael Schumacher who ran as high as second at one point; finished the race in seventh after making a late tyre stop.

Lotus’ Romain Grosjean was handed a one race ban for his part in the incident that took out two of the leading drivers at La Source. I think the punishment is harsh to be honest, especially when you consider that Pastor Maldonado has deliberately taken sideswipes at other drivers twice in the last 12 months and has gotten off very lightly. Yes, the incident at Spa was definitely caused by Grosjean’s lack of spacial awareness but was not deliberate like Maldonado’s ‘red mist’ moments.

Top 10 classified finishers at the Belgian Grand Prix:

1 Jenson Button (McLaren) 1:29:08.530
2 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) +13.600
3 Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus) +25.300
4 Nico Hulkenberg (Force India) +27.800
5 Felipe Massa (Ferrari) +29.800
6 Mark Webber (Red Bull) +31.200
7 Michael Schumacher (Mercedes) +53.300
8 Jean-Eric Vergne (Toro Rosso) +58.800
9 Daniel Ricciardo (Toro Rosso) +62.900
10 Paul di Resta (Force India) +63.700

World drivers title table after Belgium:

1 Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) 164
2 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) 140
3 Mark Webber (Red Bull) 132
4 Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus) 131
5 Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) 117
6 Jenson Button (McLaren) 101
7 Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) 77
8 Romain Grosjean (Lotus) 76
9 Sergio Perez (Sauber) 47
10 Michael Schumacher (Mercedes) 35

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