Jenson claims Belgian success
Jenson Button has won the Belgian Grand Prix
Jenson Button thrust himself back into Formula One world title contention with a faultless pole-to-flag Belgian Grand Prix victory after avoiding the first-corner chaos that accounted for four drivers.
The McLaren driver finished ahead of Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen in his Lotus as championship leader Fernando Alonso was the biggest casualty of the early crash, ending his run of 23 consecutive races in the points, along with McLaren's Lewis Hamilton.
The accident was instigated by Lotus' Romain Grosjean, and not for the first time this year on lap one, whilst Sauber's Sergio Perez was also forced into retirement.
Button's 14th career triumph means he is still 63 points adrift of Alonso, but the 32-year-old McLaren star cannot be discounted after finally finding some form of late.
Reigning champion Vettel, who had started 10th after a poor qualifying by his and the team's standards, closed the gap to Alonso to within a race win at 24 points. Raikkonen's sixth podium finish this year means he is 33 points down in the standings in fourth, one point behind Mark Webber, who was fifth in the race.
Hamilton remains static at 47 points behind Alonso, but with one less race remaining at eight, and heading to Italy next weekend on the back of a week to forget at Spa-Francorchamps. From seventh on the grid Hamilton was clipped by Grosjean attempting to cut across the Briton.
As the rear-right tyre of Grosjean's car hit the front-left of Hamilton's McLaren, it sparked a chain reaction which resulted in the exit of four cars at the first corner La Source hairpin. As the mayhem unfolded Grosjean and Hamilton collected Alonso and Perez, the latter duo having started from fifth and fourth.
On-board replays showed Grosjean's Lotus flying over the front of the Ferrari, missing the head of the Spaniard by inches. Unsurprisingly the safety car was immediately deployed, staying out for the opening four laps, with Button leading a procession of cars, followed by Force India duo Nico Hulkenberg and Paul di Resta.
On lap five the field was reduced to 19 as Pastor Maldonado, who would have been investigated for a clear jump start that led to a shake of the head from race director Charlie Whiting, lost his front wing, pulling off track at Les Combes.
Up ahead, though, Button did not put a wheel wrong throughout the remainder of the race, while others behind scrapped over the minor placings.
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A statement from governing body the FIA said: "The stewards regard this incident as an extremely serious breach of the regulations, which had the potential to cause injury to others.
"It eliminated leading championship contenders from the race.
"The stewards note [that] the team conceded the action was an extremely serious mistake and an error of judgement. Neither the team nor the driver made any submission in mitigation of penalty."
Grosjean, who is the first driver to be banned from a race since Michael Schumacher in 1994, said: "I misjudged the gap to Lewis. I thought I was in front of him. It was a small mistake, but a big incident.
"I'm very sorry, and I'm just glad nobody is hurt. That's the main thing. It's a very hard decision to hear. When you love racing it's hard."
Lotus team boss Eric Boullier added: "This is a severe penalty, but it's part of his learning curve.
So middle finger up to all you Hamilton haters and to those who know nothing about F1
These upcoming drivers if u can all them that are causing problems all the time. Maldanado who is a lunatic in his own right, now Grosjean.. They could not only kill themselves but others as well. Congrats to Jenson, well deserved.
Well Done Jensen, but would have been nice if the top drivers i.e Alonso and Hamilton, had been able to have raced the whole F1 Belgium today.
What are the likes of Maldanado, and Grosjean, doing to Formula 1, They will not be satisfied until they have killed somebody!!!!
THEY SHOULD BE HAULED OVER THE COALS FOR THE WAY THEY DRIVE!!!!! SACK THEM BEFORE ANY FURTHER DAMAGE IS DONE!!!!
Well done Jenson, unlucky again Hamilton. There seem to be a few drivers determined to take Hamilton out every race it is becoming ridiculous. The biggest surprise for me was that is wasn't mad- o -nado ramming Hamilton off the track!
Shockingly dangerous move by Grosjean. Definitely worth a ban.
Great victory for Jenson but very unfortunate for Lewis. What was Romain Grosjean up to? Whatever it was, has earn'd him a one race ban and quite rightly so. Although I don't have a ounce of support for Fernando, I'm glad he escaped without injury.
Although Maldonado's race ended shortly after his jump start, I do think this erratic Venezualian should be issued with a penalty too. He seems to be responsible for too many crashes and although a race winner this year, he's starting to get a bad reputation in F1.
Roll on Monza next week - Let's hope McLaren will be wearing the rocket red shirts there too. Don't mind if it's for Lewis or Jenson.
The best way to win a race has always been, "be fast enough", "be steady" and "keep out of trouble". Well done Jenson. A pity that the shunt removed some potential playmates. Good to see the Lotus name showing up there again with the revitalised Kimi, regardless of Grosjean's wildness. Thankfully, even the superb Alonso has not yet closed a stranglehold on this year's Driver's Championship, so some genuine interest remains.
You would be the same people saying "he isn't a racer" if he lifted.
would you want to watch F1 if there was no hint of danger or the unexpected?
Good job Button...a well deserved win after all the trouble's he's had this season... His race
win was as impressive as his qualifying pole time!!! as for the pile up at La Source corner,
Grosjean has a lot to answer for...not sure if he saw Hamilton, but he was lucky not to
take Alonso head of... i still think a race ban is a bit harsh.. for me, it's a racing collision that common place on the track..unfortunatly for Grosjean it triggered of a chain reaction!!!!