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Race - Button wins after first-corner carnage at Spa 02 Sep 2012

Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren MP4-27 leads as Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus E20, Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari F2012 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4-27 crash out at the start of the race.
Formula One World Championship, Rd12, Belgian Grand Prix, Preparations, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Sunday, 2 September 2012 Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Force India F1 VJM05.
Formula One World Championship, Rd12, Belgian Grand Prix, Preparations, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Sunday, 2 September 2012 A huge lock-up from Michael Schumacher on Lap 20. He cuts across the nose of Sebastian Vettel's Red Bull to make a very late entry into the pits from second place Drama in the pits as Heikki Kovalainen is released into the path of Narain Karthikeyan's HRT Red Bull are to be investigated by the stewards for a possible unsafe release as Webber has a near miss with Massa in the pits Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren MP4-27.
Formula One World Championship, Rd12, Belgian Grand Prix, Preparations, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Sunday, 2 September 2012 Race winner Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren celebrates on the podium.
Formula One World Championship, Rd12, Belgian Grand Prix, Preparations, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Sunday, 2 September 2012

Jenson Button salvaged McLaren’s day after an explosive start to the Belgian race saw team mate Lewis Hamilton eliminated along with championship points leader Fernando Alonso, Sauber’s Sergio Perez and Lotus’s Romain Grosjean.

After debris from their collision was cleared away, and the safety car went back in, Button owned the race and sped home to a 13.6s victory - his first at Spa - over Sebastian Vettel who drove with great commitment and a clever strategy to take a supremely valuable second for Red Bull.

Behind them, car problems kept Lotus’s Kimi Raikkkonen from launching his expected challenge, but the Finn also took home valuable points on a day when Alonso’s lead suddenly began to look vulnerable. His team mate Grosjean was subsequently handed a one-race ban and a 50,000 Euro fine for triggering the first-corner mayhem.

Nico Hulkenberg drove a beautiful race for Force India and was always in the hunt for good points. He battled and beat Raikkonen and Mercedes’ Michael Schumacher in the early stages to run second, but ultimately had to settle for an honourable fourth.

Felipe Massa salvaged a little for Ferrari (after Alonso’s exit) with a hard-fought fifth ahead of Red Bull’s Mark Webber, while Schumacher faded to seventh after a late tyre stop and the loss of sixth gear on his Mercedes.

Jean-Eric Vergne came through from a fantastic race-long battle with Toro Rosso team mate Daniel Ricciardo, Paul di Resta in the second Force India, and Bruno Senna, who also had to make a late tyre stop after looking a likely points contender for a long time.

Sauber’s promising race fell apart at the start when Kamui Kobayashi’s car showed signs of overheating on the grid and was then hit by the flying Hamilton and Alonso; he recovered, but could not better a hugely disappointing 13th. Vitaly Petrov was Caterham’s leader in 14th after Heikki Kovalainen, who was initially 10th after the first-corner melee, spun once and later spun again to finish 17th.

Between the green cars, the Marussia drivers staged a hard battle in the team’s 50th race. Eventually Timo Glock hunted down team mate Charles Pic, to finish 15.5s ahead. Pedro de la Rosa was the final finisher after HRT team mate Narain Karthikeyan’s span off backwards into the tyre wall late in the race.

Besides Grosjean, Hamilton, Alonso and Perez, the other non-finisher was Pastor Maldonado who damaged his Williams in a brush with Glock on the restart on Lap five. The Venezuelan was handed a five-place grid penalty by the stewards for the next race in Monza for that incident, and received another five-place grid penalty for Italy for jumping the start.

The FIA also investigated two pit-lane incidents. The first came when Caterham unsafely released Kovalainen and he struck an incoming Karthikeyan, and the second when Webber just managed to avoid an incoming Massa after Red Bull appeared to let him go prematurely. They took no further action against Red Bull but fined Caterham 10,000 Euros for their misdemeanor.

The stewards also investigated an incident on the 19th lap when Schumacher, on the left-hand side of the road as Vettel dived inside him at the Bus Stop chicane, then cut across the Red Bull’s bows as the older German headed for the pits. They decided to take no further action.

In the championship stakes, Alonso still leads with 164 points, but Vettel is now second on 140 from Webber on 132 and Raikkonen on 131. Hamilton is fifth with 117, while Button’s first victory at Spa leaves him sixth on 101.

For the teams, Red Bull continues to lead with 272 to McLaren’s 218, Lotus’s 207 and Ferrari’s 199.

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