Belgium analysis - Spa drama helps tighten title race 03 Sep 2012
McLarens Jenson Button admits he still only has a very long shot at the 2012 drivers crown, but at least he has a shot after his masterful drive at Spa. Romain Grosjeans turn-one misdemeanour, which eliminated championship leader Fernando Alonso, really mixed up the title fight. If Alonso was the biggest loser, Sebastian Vettel was arguably the biggest winner. The lap-one accident helped lift him to second in the race and second in the standings, just 24 points behind his Ferrari rival. We take a team-by-team look back at the 2012 Formula 1 Shell Belgian Grand Prix
Jenson Button, P1
Lewis Hamilton, Retired lap one, accident
Button was in a class of his own in the low-downforce MP4-27, and never looked like being challenged for his first victory at Spa. But McLarens celebrations were tempered by Hamiltons demise at the hands of Grosjean in the first-corner melee. The teams second win in a row, and fourth of the season was great cause for optimism for the rest of the year.
Sebastian Vettel, P2
Mark Webber, P6
Red Bull struggled badly in qualifying and were slow on the straights, but a great drive by Vettel and some superb strategy in emulating McLarens single stop earned the German a crucial second place. Webber wasnt as fast, but was glad to take sixth-place points after starting 12th.
Kimi Raikkonen, P3
Romain Grosjean, Retired lap one, accident
Lotus were the pre-event favourite, but Raikkonens car lacked serious pace and third place always looked his only likely reward as he struggled throughout for grip once fresh tyres had bedded in. Grosjean blotted his copybook by taking out Alonso, Hamilton and Perez at the start, and earned himself a one-race ban and a 50,000 euro fine.
Nico Hulkenberg, P4
Paul di Resta, P10
Hulkenberg drove a great race to take fourth, and Di Restas point for 10th helped the team move ahead of Williams in the constructors stakes. The Scot, however, couldnt get to play at his team mates level thanks to early failure of his cars KERS.
Felipe Massa, P5
Fernando Alonso, Retired lap one, accident
Alonso lost a significant chunk of his points advantage thanks to Grosjean, and the team left Spa convinced they could have taken an easy second place in Buttons wake based on the pace Massa showed on his way to fifth place.
Michael Schumacher, P7
Nico Rosberg, P11
Schumacher looked racy early on, but lost sixth gear and then had to make a Plan B second pit stop after wearing out his rubber trying to keep in the fight for fourth place. Rosberg appeared to have got a good break with the first-corner melee as he was 13th from 23rd at the end of the first lap, but couldnt muster better than 11th by the finish.
Jean-Eric Vergne, P8
Daniel Ricciardo, P9
Both drivers raced each other all the way to the flag, with Vergne getting the nod over Ricciardo as they garnered another six useful points, their first since Malaysia.
Bruno Senna, P12
Pastor Maldonado, Retired lap five, accident damage
Maldonado ruined his race by jumping the start, then crashed into Glock at the restart. He earned himself five-place grid penalties for Monza for both transgressions. Senna drove well, but the pace demanded a second pit stop which dropped him out of points contention on an awful day for a team which had demonstrated serious potential in qualifying.
Kamui Kobayashi, P13
Sergio Perez, Retired lap one, accident
Sauber began their day full of hope with second and fourth places on the grid, but it all went sour before the first corner. Kobayashis brakes smoked alarmingly on the grid, then he got hit by Hamilton just after Grosjean had flown over Perez. It was undoubtedly a race for the Swiss team to forget.
Vitaly Petrov, P14
Heikki Kovalainen, P17
Caterham got a great break when Kovalainen ended the opening lap 10th, but he lacked the pace to stay there and eventually finished 17th after one and a half spins on different occasions. He was also let out of the pits unsafely and collided with the incoming Karthikeyan, earning the team a 10,000 euro fine.
Timo Glock, P15
Charles Pic, P16
Glock and Pic had a great dust-up on Marussias 50th F1 appearance, and ultimately it went the Germans way as his two-stop strategy proved superior to the Frenchmans one-stopper.
Pedro de la Rosa, P18
Narain Karthikeyan, Retired lap 30, lost wheel
Karthikeyan survived the pit-lane attack by Kovalainen, but the Indians race ended after a promising start when the left front wheel fell off, possibly as a result of suspension breakage. De la Rosa came home 18th and last, but was happy to be in the fight with the Marussias and Caterhams.
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