Button evades Turn 1 carnage to dominate Belgian GP at Spa
2 September, 2012
Sep.2 (Apex) Jenson Button dominated the 2012 Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps, to take his second win of the season, after a bullet start enabled him to evade the massive shunt which occurred as the field roared into Turn 1.
By the time the dust had settled, the cars of Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton, Romain Grosjean and Sergio Perez lay wrecked, scattered across the famous hairpin. Full report on accident here>>>
The accident brought out the safety car for the first five laps as a mass of debris was cleared from the track and the order at the front (behind Button) was very different from how they had lined up on the grid. The McLaren driver led from Nico Hulkenberg, Kimi Raikkonen, Paul di Resta, Michael Schumacher, Daniel Ricciardo, Jean Eric Vergne, Bruno Senna, Mark Webber, Felipe Massa and Sebastian Vettel making up the top dozen.
Button simply put his foot down and sped off into the distance to score his 14th grand prix triumph, one of the most comprehensive victories of his career and probably the most dominant win of the season by any driver. he never looked troubled and the McLaren MP4-27 did not miss a beat. On this day, Button was on an altogether different level.
He told interviewer Jacky Ickx on the podium; “What can I say, this circuit is so special to most drivers with the history and the way it flows. To get a victory from lights to flag is very special, especially as it has not been an easy year for me. We are going to enjoy this before we head to Monza and hopefully do the same [again].”
Smiling for a change was Sebastian Vettel who turned 10th on the grid into second place, going wheel to wheel with just about everyone including a heart stopping move on teammate Mark Webber as they made their way up the field and a tense battle with good mate Michael Schumacher. But in the end the world champion showed his class, to nab a healthy haul of points.
Vettel summed up his day, “It was a crazy race from where I started, the start was not so good and after the first corner when a lot of cars went off. It was pretty crazy, fortunately we came back with a fantastic strategy. It was the right call and the car was quite good in the race and we were able to pick up some places in the race. I had a lot of fun racing a lot of people, racing Michael.”
It’s great to come here, great to come second, and I’m looking forward already to coming back here next year. This circuit is unbelievable,” added Vettel who now lies second in the championship, 24 points adrift of Alonso.
Although Kimi Raikkonen finished third he will be wondering when all the elements will align to provide him with that elusive comeback win. He arrived at Spa as a pre-race favourite and with four wins at the legendary venue on his CV, much was expected of him. But again he was dogged with small niggles that compromised his race including a KERS problem and later in the race a loss of power.
The Finn was also involved in a number of dramatic skirmishes, including an intriguing tussle with old foe Schumacher. But in the end his Lotus was only (just) good enough for third.
“It is nice to be back here at Spa, but it was not very nice racing today for us. It was not the easiest day for me as the car was not exactly to our liking. I was fighting to get the best out of it and we managed to get some key points, so that was the main thing. It was a difficult one and next week we will try to be better,” said Raikkonen during the podium interview.
YallaF1′s ‘Man of the match’ goes to Nico Hulkenberg who was in the thick of things, punching well above his weight and again doing his shares no harm. The young German started eleventh, ran second for some laps after the safety car, pitted and was at one stage down in eighth, but wrestled his way back to fourth.
Felipe Massa kept out of trouble and salvaged some handy points fro Ferrari with fifth place after starting 14th on the grid.
Sixth place was the best that Red Bull’s Mark Webber could do despite running as high as fourth. He seemed to lack the pace of his teammate. Nevertheless he remains a contender as his lobbed 8 points off Alonso’s championship lead.
The straight talking Aussie summed up his afternoon in the Ardennes, “The start was pretty wild which can happen here. We settled into the race, and it became very obvious how difficult it was for us to overtake on the track. Me and Sebastian had a fight, that was fine. After Eau Rouge it was not possible to fight in a straight line. That made it tough, then you start to roll the dice. After the start, we did not make the most out of the situation.”
His 300th grand prix will not go down as one of his best, but Michael Schumacher was in the thick of most the action and hair raising incidents on his way to seventh place at the finish after starting 13th.
The seven time world champion spoke at the end of his action packed afternoon, “We tried to gamble and try our luck with our race strategy, it looked reasonable from the start as we did reasonable lap times in my first stint. I needed to push my tyres against Daniel Ricciardo and that meant we had to come in again. I think it was a good decision to come in and fight again in the last laps but that came to an end when I lose sixth gear. I enjoyed my 300th grand prix, it is beautiful to fight for the top end positions [but] it is sad when you cannot take it home.”
Toro Rosso’s rookies doubled their team’s points with their efforts at one of the toughest and most challenging circuits on the calendar. Jean Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo ran nose to tail for most of the race on their way to eighth and ninth respectively, with Vergne getting the better of his teammate late in the race.
The final point went to Paul di Resta who had a KERS issue on the Force India which hampered his progress, but the highly rated Scot was outshone by his teammate who made better use of the package at his disposal.
Di Resta said, “I was a sitting duck during the race as half an hour before the race I had a KERS failure. I had nothing to overtake or defend. I was giving away at least five tenths of a second per lap.”
Pastor Maldonado who was given a three place grid penalty for blocking during qualifying a day earlier, again courted controversy as he blatantly jumped the start, spun on the exit of Turn 1 and came to a halt with a broken wing at Les Combes a lap after the restart.
With one week to go to the next round – the Italian Grand Prix – the championship is now wide open again, with Alonso’s first no points score of the season playing handsomely into the hands of his challengers; both Red Bull drivers, the McLaren duo and Kimi Raikkonen.
Bring on Monza!
Subbed by AJN.
Belgian Grand Prix – Sunday, 2 September 2012
|2||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||44||+13.6 secs||10||18|
|3||9||Kimi Räikkönen||Lotus-Renault||44||+25.3 secs||3||15|
|4||12||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India-Mercedes||44||+27.8 secs||11||12|
|5||6||Felipe Massa||Ferrari||44||+29.8 secs||14||10|
|6||2||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing-Renault||44||+31.2 secs||12||8|
|7||7||Michael Schumacher||Mercedes||44||+53.3 secs||13||6|
|8||17||Jean-Eric Vergne||STR-Ferrari||44||+58.8 secs||15||4|
|9||16||Daniel Ricciardo||STR-Ferrari||44||+62.9 secs||16||2|
|10||11||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||44||+63.7 secs||9||1|
|11||8||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes||44||+65.1 secs||23|
|12||19||Bruno Senna||Williams-Renault||44||+71.5 secs||17|
|13||14||Kamui Kobayashi||Sauber-Ferrari||44||+1 Lap||2|
|14||21||Vitaly Petrov||Caterham-Renault||43||+1 Lap||19|
|15||24||Timo Glock||Marussia-Cosworth||+1 Lap||20|
|16||25||Charles Pic||Marussia-Cosworth||+1 Lap||22|
|17||20||Heikki Kovalainen||Caterham-Renault||+1 Lap||18|
|18||22||Pedro de la Rosa||HRT-Cosworth||+1 Lap||21|
|Ret||23||Narain Karthikeyan||HRT-Cosworth||+15 Lap||24|
|Ret||18||Pastor Maldonado||Williams-Renault||+40 Laps||6|
- Spa Qualifying: Button defies the odds and takes his first pole for McLaren
- Spa Practice 3: Alonso sets the pace as the sun shines at last
- Spa Practice 2: Season re-start a damp affair
- Alonso fends off Vettel and Button to win German GP at Hockenheim
- Shanghai Qualifying: Rosberg takes his maiden pole as Mercedes dominate