Button Beats Chaos To Win Belgian GP

A big accident at the start of Sunday’s race effected a few drivers in some way, but not Jenson Button as he took a win which was never out of his hands. His lead from the start-lights to the chequered flag ensured that a race was won with the winning driver in front throughout for the first time this season.

A thrilled Button was delighted after the race, ending a week in which he stated he was still able to fight for the championship. Following the race, he played down such talk, only saying there was a small chance but that he would keep trying his best.

“This is a great weekend for the team, and for me as well,” Button said.

“It is a good 25 points, and if we can keep fighting for victories like this there is still a small chance I can fight for that championship.

“But going to Monza, I don’t think about the championship. We go there to do best job we can and bring back home most points we can.

“As I said before the race, it is a massive long shot to win the title, but today proves you can claw back 25 points very, very quickly.”

Vettel pleased with his silverware for 2nd place

It was a strong drive from Sebastian Vettel who at one point had been down in 12th after the commotion at the start. Like Button, Vettel said that the start crash which took championship leader Fernando Alonso out of the race was proof that anything could happen.

“It’s better than before!” said Vettel. “I had a look when I went on holiday, and right now I don’t care about scoring and points, but I care about the championship.

“I don’t know what happened in the first corner but [Alonso] didn’t finish the race.

“I am not bothered by gaps and points. You saw the first corner and you see how quickly things can change – that is racing.

“Next week we go to Monza, and it would be nice to qualify on pole and be first into the chicane. Behind there it can be a bit more of a risk.”

Vettel was heard on the team radio urging for “something different” from the strategy side of the team and his switch to a one-stop strategy helped his cause as he came home to finish in a second place which looked unlikely early in the race.

“A lot of cars crashed in front of us. I had a poor initial launch and lost positions.

“I started around the Force Indias and they were with Jenson at the first corner, and I was with Caterham.

“The pace was there but it was not easy up the straight when everyone has DRS available.

“You’re still on the limiter and it’s difficult to benefit from that.

“But we made reasonable progress through the field and then were able to have a couple of good laps in clean air.

“That allowed us to come back through strategy, which enabled us to finish second.

“We didn’t expect the tyres to last that well. Most people were thinking of two or three stops and one stop seemed out of reach, but after a couple of laps it was clear the tyres were lasting pretty well and the pace was not too bad.

“Saturday morning went quite well, qualifying was shit and Sunday was OK. I’m happy with second.”

 

Raikkonen was characteristically expressionless after finishing third

Lotus were among the favourites for victory and Kimi Raikkonen was touted as the main favourite by some, but it never truly looked to be possible and the Finn settled for third in a car which he said had been difficult to drive.

“We did not have much speed. Considering how difficult the handling was and how tricky the car was to drive I am very happy to finish third,” Raikkonen said.

“I wasn’t expecting a very easy race and it turned out to be very difficult.

“The first few laps on new tyres were good and then I started sliding. We had a bit more high downforce to get more grip which meant we struggled in a straight line.”

He fought out a tough battle with the Mercedes of Michael Schumacher which ended in Raikkonen finally claiming the place through a daring move in the run up to Eau Rouge. It is not the first time he has come close but ultimately failed to win, but he appeared to be content with third place.

“Michael passed me once and then he got me back,” said Raikkonen.

“Even with DRS I could not pass him, so I had to take a chance to overtake him with KERS into Eau Rouge and he still almost got me back.”

“It is better to finish third than not to finish,” Raikkonen said.

“We didn’t win but we didn’t have the speed to win so we didn’t deserve to win.

“The last two races we had the speed but in races that you could not overtake. Here we did not have the speed.”

Hulkenberg picked up 12 points after a storming drive for Force India

One of the drives of the day was by Nico Hulkenberg as the Force India finished in an impressive fourth place. It is the German’s highest race finish of his career to date and he admitted he had thoughts of a podium as he ran as high as second early in the race.

“I’ve got a big smile on my face today because it’s just the result we needed for our fight for the championship,” Hulkenberg said.

“I was as high as second and for a while I was even thinking we could finish on the podium.

“But the race was tough. I had some great fights with Kimi and Michael, I was always on the limit.

“The start was eventful, but fortunately I was able to avoid the debris and take advantage of the situation.”

Alonso, Hamilton, Perez and Grosjean were instantly eliminated in the violent crash

The biggest headline of the day was the crash which took out Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton as duo were hit by the Lotus of Romain Grosjean. Grosjean’s car flew over the top of Alonso and the Spaniard was lucky to avoid serious injury as the Lotus missed his head by mere centimetres. Alonso was thankful to be free of injury when the result could have been different.

“I’m disappointed because of the points lost,” said Alonso, whose championship lead is now down to 24 points over Sebastian Vettel.

“But I’m also lucky that I can be in the car in five days at Monza because looking at the image, we were turning in so you could have a problem with your hands or even your head because [Grosjean’s] car was so close.

“I think we broke everything on top of the car. It was lucky in that aspect.”

“I didn’t know what happened until I saw on TV because it was difficult to imagine how the hit could be so big or how a car could be on you so quickly,” he said.

“After seeing it on TV, I saw Grosjean and Lewis touch each other. They lost control and then it was in front of us.”

Lewis Hamilton was quiet in his response to questions, instead choosing to congratulate his team-mate.

“I don’t want to talk about the start crash,” he said.

“Just congratulations to Jenson, he did a fantastic race. It looked like a walk in the park for him.”

 

Romain Grosjean initially did not accept blame for the incident, but later apologised for his part in the accident

“[I had] a very good start and then boom – it was the end of the race. I haven’t seen the images and I need to see them to have any point of view.

“But the main thing is that everybody is OK. That is the most important for me.”
I did a mistake and I misjudged the gap with Lewis. I was sure I was in front of him. So a small mistake made a big incident.

“I didn’t change my line, I went from left to right. I was not really wanting to put anyone in the wall – I’m not here to stop the race in the first corner. I’m very, very sorry and I’m glad that nobody is hurt.”

After the race, the race stewards judged that Grosjean was to blame and punished the Frenchman with a one-race ban, effective immediately.
Belgian GP Result

Classified:

Pos  Driver        Team                       Time
 1.  Button        McLaren-Mercedes           1h29:08.530
 2.  Vettel        Red Bull-Renault           +    13.624
 3.  Raikkonen     Lotus-Renault              +    25.334
 4.  Hulkenberg    Force India-Mercedes       +    27.843
 5.  Massa         Ferrari                    +    29.845
 6.  Webber        Red Bull-Renault           +    31.244
 7.  Schumacher    Mercedes                   +    53.374
 8.  Vergne        Toro Rosso-Ferrari         +    58.865
 9.  Ricciardo     Toro Rosso-Ferrari         +  1:02.982
10.  Di Resta      Force India-Mercedes       +  1:03.783
11.  Rosberg       Mercedes                   +  1:05.111
12.  Senna         Williams-Renault           +  1:11.529
13.  Kobayashi     Sauber-Ferrari             +  1:56.119
14.  Petrov        Caterham-Renault           +     1 lap
15.  Glock         Marussia-Cosworth          +     1 lap
16.  Pic           Marussia-Cosworth          +     1 lap
17.  Kovalainen    Caterham-Renault           +     1 lap
18.  De la Rosa    HRT-Cosworth               +     1 lap

Not classified/retirements:

Driver        Team                         On lap
Karthikeyan   HRT-Cosworth                 30
Maldonado     Williams-Renault             5
Perez         Sauber-Ferrari               1
Alonso        Ferrari                      1
Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes             1
Grosjean      Lotus-Renault                1
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