The British driver celebrated his 50th grand prix for McLaren with the perfect race as his one stop strategy led him to victory on the Spa circuit.
With a dramatic start to the race which saw four leading drivers retire, Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel seized the opportunity to take second place with Lotus’s Kimi Raikkonen completing the podium in third.
“I still can’t get used to this talking on the podium. It’s quite strange, isn’t it?” said Button as he gave his post race interview in front of the fans.
“What can I say? This circuit is such a special circuit to most drivers – the way that it flows and the history here – so to get a victory here from lights to flag is very special especially as it’s not been the easiest year for me. It’s a very, very special weekend.
“I’d like to thank the team and also all of you guys [the fans] for being so supportive. We’re going to enjoy this for a little while longer before we head to Monza and hopefully do the same there”.
The five-week summer break restarted with a bang. When Kamui Kobayashi’s Sauber was smoking on the line, it was clear things were about to get fiery.
The initial drama of Williams’ Pastor Maldonado jumping the lights was obscured when Romain Grosjean collided with McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton, rendering the British driver a passenger in his own car.
Turning the first corner into a very expensive scrap yard, the crash tested the sport’s safety improvements as the Lotus was sent airborne through the cockpit of Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso. Sauber’s Sergio Perez was also a casualty of the collision.
It proved to be an early end to the Belgian Grand Prix for Hamilton, Perez, Grosjean and Alonso but they all walked away from their cars without serious injury.
Among the debris, British driver Hamilton made it clear that he felt Grosjean was at fault as they exchanged some heated words before he stormed back to the pit lane.
Sauber went from one of their best ever qualifying performances to one of their worst ever race starts as Kamui Kobayashi was also caught in the chaos, limping to the pit lane and rejoining the race last. He later finished in 13th.
Williams’ Pastor Maldonado was also a casualty of the debris, pitting in lap one but his race ended four laps later, while under investigation for jumping the start, as he pulled off at Les Combes minus a front wing.
Heikki Kovalainen will also be under investigation after the race for an unsafe release. The Caterham collided with the back end of Narain Karthikeyan as the HRT pitted. Karthikeyan later finished the race on lap 32, spinning through the gravel trap.
Force India snatched the opportunity for points as Nico Hulkenberg finished fourth and British driver Paul Di Resta took the final points position in 10th.
Ferrari’s Felipe Massa ended in fifth, followed by Mark Webber in sixth and Mercedes’ Michael Schumacher, who had a gear box issue, in seventh.
Despite crashing out in the first lap, Alonso still leads the drivers’ championship on 164 points, tailed by Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber. The season will resume next weekend in Italy.
1 Jenson Button (Gbr) McLaren 1:29.08.530
2 Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Red Bull +13.624
3 Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Lotus +25.334
4 Nico Hulkenberg (Ger) Force India +27.843
5 Felipe Massa (Bra) Ferrari +29.845
6 Mark Webber (Aus) Red Bull +31.244
7 Michael Schumacher (Ger) Mercedes +53.374
8 Jean-Eric Vergne (Fra) Scuderia Toro-Rosso +58.865
9 Daniel Ricciardo (Aus) Scuderia Toro-Rosso +1:02.982
10 Paul di Resta (Gbr) Force India +1:03.783
11 Nico Rosberg (Ger) Mercedes +1:05.111
12 Bruno Senna (Bra) Williams +1:11.529
13 Kamui Kobayashi (Jpn) Sauber +1:56.119
14 Vitaly Petrov (Rus) Caterham + 1 Lap
15 Timo Glock (Ger) Marussia +1 lap
16 Charles Pic (Fra) Marussia +1 lap
17 Heikki Kovalainen (Fin) Caterham + 1 lap
18 Pedro de la Rosa (Spa) HRT Cosworth +1 lap
19 Narain Karthikeyan (Ind) HRT Cosworth Out
20 Pastor Maldonado (Ven) Williams Out
21 Fernando Alonso (Spa) Ferrari Out
22 Sergio Perez (Mex) Sauber Out
23 Lewis Hamilton (Gbr) McLaren Out
24 Romain Grosjean (Fra) Lotus Out
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