Belgian Grand Prix 2012: Jenson Button cruises to victory at Spa

Belgian Grand Prix 2012: McLaren’s Jenson Button dominates the pack at the Spa circuit to seize victory after leading from pole

By Charli Burden
jenson button
Jenson Button led from pole to flag at Spa Photo: Courtesy of Vodafone McLaren Mercedes

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McLaren’s Jenson Button dominated the race from pole to flag to seize his second victory of the season at the Belgian Grand Prix.

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.

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Cruise control: McLaren’s Jenson Button on course for victory at the Belgian Grand Prix (Photo: Vodafone McLaren Mercedes)

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.

Belgian Grand Prix 2012: Race result

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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