Mon, Sep 03, 2012 - Page 20 News List

Button wins crash-marred Belgian GP from pole

AFP and Reuters, SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS, Belgium

British driver Lewis Hamilton, right, of McLaren Mercedes and Spanish driver Fernando Alonso, left, of Scuderia Ferrari crash at the start of the Belgium Formula 1 Grand Prix yesterday at the Spa-Francorchamps track near Francorchamps, Belgium.

Photo: EPA

Jenson Button in a McLaren led from start to finish to win the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps yesterday.

It was the Englishman’s second race win of the season following his victory in the season opener in Australia in March.

Second place went to Sebastian Vettel of Germany in a Red Bull, with Kimi Raikkonen of Finland in a Lotus completing the podium.

The race got off to a chaotic start with a multi-car pileup at the first bend.

The end result of the accident was that world championship leader Fernando Alonso (Ferrari), former world champion Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) and France’s Roman Grosjean (Lotus) were eliminated as the safety-car came out.

Television replays indicated that Grosjean, whose car flew through the air over the nose of the Ferrari, which also lifted off the ground, had triggered the crash by cutting across into Hamilton, who had nowhere to go.

Debris from the cars littered the track.

Alonso had been set to equal Michael Schumacher’s Formula One record of 24 successive points-scoring finishes and has a 40 points lead over Red Bull’s Mark Webber in the championship with eight races remaining after Spa.

The Spaniard, who could consider himself fortunate not to have been struck on the head by the Lotus, was slow to get out of the car, but seemed unhurt.

Japan’s Kamui Kobayashi, who had started on the front row for Sauber, pitted after the accident and resumed in last place with McLaren’s Jenson Button leading.

Stewards said they would investigate the accident after the race.

They were also investigating what looked like a jumped start by Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado’s Williams from sixth place. Maldonado had already been penalized three places on the grid for impeding in Saturday’s qualifying.

Also out of the race with car damage was Sergio Perez in a Sauber.

The race resumed several minutes later with pole-sitter Button in the lead and he never looked like being caught after that.

The drivers’ championship standings after yesterday’s race are as follows:

1. Fernando Alonso (Spain) Ferrari (164 points);

2. Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Red Bull (140 points);

3. Mark Webber (Australia) Red Bull (132 points);

4. Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Renault (131 points);

5. Lewis Hamilton (Britain) McLaren (117 points).

additional reporting by staff writer

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