2012 Belgian Grand Prix – Sunday Race – Button cruises to win after first corner carnage

That headline sounds so clichéd but that was exactly how the race panned out at the Belgian Grand Prix. Jenson Button took victory from pole position as he was rarely troubled at the front by anyone else and finished a good 14 seconds ahead of Sebastian Vettel in second place. Kimi Raikkonen finished in third place as he continued his & Lotus’ consistent season.

Belgian Grand Prix Winners

Nico Hulkenberg finished in fourth place in what has been a good hunting ground for Force India in the past with Felipe Massa fifth, Mark Webber sixth and Michael Schumacher finishing seventh in his 300th Grand Prix start. The two Toro Rossos of Jean Eric Vergne & Daniel Ricciardo finished eighth and ninth ahead the second Force India of Paul Di Resta in tenth.

Yet, the talking point of the race would be the first lap action at the first corner which saw not one, not two but four cars come together in a horrific-looking pileup – the Lotus of Romain Grosjean, the McLaren of Lewis Hamilton, the Sauber of Sergio Perez and most importantly, the Ferrari of championship leader Fernando Alonso! Grosjean swiped into Hamilton and sent them both careening into the back of Alonso’s Ferrari, with the Lotus launching into the air and flying inches away from Alonso’s head in the cockpit. Perez was on the outside of it all but was hit by the out of control McLaren, thereby ending all four drivers’ race prematurely.

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2012 Belgian Grand Prix – Saturday Qualifying – Button breaks McLaren pole duck

The Formula One season is back after its summer break and the second half of the season started off in earnest at the much loved Spa Francorchamps circuit for the Belgian Grand Prix. And it was Jenson Button who scored his first pole position for McLaren and his first since 2009 as he clocked the fastest qualifying time in Q3. Starting from P2 on the grid would be the Sauber of Kamui Kobayashi with the Williams of Pastor Maldonado in P3.

Belgian Grand Prix Qualifying

Race favourite and four-time winner Kimi Raikkonen was fourth fastest ahead of Sergio Perez in fifth and Fernando Alonso on sixth. Red Bull’s Mark Webber was seventh fastest but will drop down five places due to a gearbox change. Lewis Hamilton was eighth, Romain Grosjean ninth and Paul Di Resta tenth.

With Friday’s practice sessions affected by rain, most teams did not have enough mileage on the cars to get the perfect setup and Lotus, who were expected to run their upgraded DRS system opted not to do so. McLaren had to choose whether to run a new rear wing or not and in the end Jenson rode with it & Hamilton without. Other teams had tyre choice concerns as well as gearbox issues – Rosberg & Webber specifically.

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2010 Belgian Grand Prix – Sunday Race – Hamilton takes win at Spa

Lewis Hamilton took victory for McLaren at the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa Francorchamps in what turned out to be a real topsy-turvy and incident-filled race, where the changeable conditions came into play but not enough to dictate the race outcome. Mark Webber was on pole position in his Red Bull but he finished a fortuitous 2nd, ahead of the much improved Renault of Robert Kubica.

Belgian Grand Prix Podium

Ferrari salvaged a 4th place finish for Felipe Massa, who incidentally was on the dry-weather setup compared to Alonso’s wet-weather setup. Adrian Sutil finished 5th for Force India ahead of Nico Rosberg in 6th and Michael Schumacher in 7th. Kamui Kobayashi took the 8h place for BMW Sauber, with Vitaly Petrov and Jaime Algersuari rounding off the top ten.

Red Bull’s failure to convert pole positions into race wins continued here as pole-sitter Mark Webber had a dreadful start and dropped down to sixth by the end of the first lap. Lewis Hamilton took full advantage and sped into the lead, with teammate Jenson Button slotting into second place, after passing the fast-starting Renault of Robert Kubica. As a few spots of rain began to fall, almost all of the lead drivers slid wide at the bus stop chicane and Rubens Barrichello got his braking wrong and ploughed into the back of Fernando Alonso, bringing to an end his 300th Grand Prix. Ferrari took a huge gamble by putting out Alonso on the intermediate tires but it didn’t pay off as the rain eased off and he had to make another stop to get back onto the slicks, effectively ruining his afternoon.

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2010 Belgian Grand Prix – Saturday Qualifying – Mark Webber takes Pole at a wet Spa

Mark Webber and Red Bull took pole position for the 2010 Belgian Grand Prix in a Qualifying session played out in changing weather conditions as his fastest lap with around five minutes to go in the 3rd qualifying session held good as a bit of rain returned to prevent the others from upping it. McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton will start on P2 with Renault’s Robert Kubica in P3.

Sebastian Vettel starts from P4 with Jenson Button on P5 and Felipe Massa P6, ahead of Rubens Barrichello P7, Adrian Sutil P8, Nico Hulkenberg P9 and Fernando Alonso rounding off the top ten. It was cruel on Ferrari as they got their cars round on track in the second-half of Q3 just as the rain started falling, which put paid to their hopes of overtaking the McLarens and at least be close to the Red Bulls.

Mercedes GP had a session to forget with neither driver making it into Q3 and their misery is compounded as Michael Schumacher has to serve a 10-place drop as a result of his brash move on Rubens Barrichello in Hungary. Nico Rosberg has had a gearbox change and he cops a 5-place penalty on the grid.

‘09 Belgian Grand Prix – Sunday Race – Kimi Raikkonen wins race, Force India finishes 2nd

Kimi Raikkonen won the Belgian Grand Prix for a fourth time as he scored his and Ferrari’s first victory of the season at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit – one he rates as his favourite. Force India had a memorable outing as well as Giancarlo Fisichella lost the lead of the race to a KERS-equipped Ferrari but nevertheless hounded him throughout the 44 laps and eventually finished 2nd – his and Force India’s first-ever podium finish and first-ever points – all 8 of them! Well done Fisico!

Belgian Grand Prix Podium Finishers

Third place went to the Red Bull of Sebastian Vettel as he made up a place in the drivers’ championship, with one of his title contender finishing low down in the points, one outside of the points and one did not finish at all! BMW also had a great race as Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld finished 4th and 5th with the McLaren of Heikki Kovalainen in 6th and the Brawn of Rubens Barrichello in 7th. The Williams of Nico Rosberg took the final point in 8th position.

I missed the most exciting part of the race – the start, as I was thinking it was a 6:20 PM start instead of a 5:20 one and hence was busy with other chores! And what do you think happened on the laps I missed? Well, nothing much except that Championship leader Jenson Button alongwith Lewis Hamilton, Jaime Algersuari and Romain Grosjean were all involved in an opening lap melee and crashed out of the race! And the Safety Car was out and on the restart, Kimi Raikkonen used his KERS to good effect and jumped pole sitter Giancarlo Fisichella to wrest the lead of the race.

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‘09 Belgian Grand Prix – Saturday Qualifying – Giancarlo Fisichella scores Force India’s first Pole Position

Giancarlo Fisichella scored Force India’s first-ever Pole position of their F1 career as he drove a superlative lap to take P1 at the Qualifying session for the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps. It sure was a long time in coming and despite the steady improvements the team has been bringing into each of the last few races, no one expected a pole position for the team! Getting into Q2 and score points were their targets and they sure did better on the first one, can tomorrow’s race see them achieve their second target! I sure hope they do…

Toyota’s Jarno Trulli will start second on the grid as the Toyotas finally came good. So did the BMW’s who have Nick Heidfeld starting on P3. Rubens Barrichello will start fourth on the grid with Robert Kubica and Kimi Raikkonen behind him. Timo Glock, Sebastian Vettel, Mark Webber & Nico Rosberg make up the top ten on the grid.

Belgian Grand Prix Qualifying

Q1 was a very good session for Force India as Giancarlo Fisichella and Adrian Sutil were 1-2 atop the timesheets as the chequered flag fell and even though it was just the first session, it bode well for the team. A good way to impress the bosses at Ferrari since Fisichella’s being rumoured to fill-in for Felipe Massa for the last five races of the season! Luca Badoer again propped up the rear of the grid and to add insult to injury, he span out on his last flying lap and that was that! The ones to be relegated were Sebastien Buemi, Jaime Algersuari, Kazuki Nakajima, Romain Grosjean and Luca Badoer. Fernando Alonso escaped relegation by the skin of his teeth as he made a mistake on his flying lap and just scraped through another run just as the flag fell and so did Hamilton, who was teetering on 15th and must be thanking the heavens that no one went any faster!

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McLaren’s Belgian Grand Prix appeal disallowed

Oops! Two ‘rejected appeal’ posts one after another 😐

FIA’s International Court of Appeal has dismissed McLaren’s plea against the 25 seconds penalty accorded to Lewis Hamilton in the Belgian Grand Prix on the grounds that it is “inadmissible”.

The Court rejected McLaren’s right to appeal, citing Paragraph 5 of Article 152 of the International Sporting Code, which states: “Penalties of driving through or stopping in pit lanes together with certain penalties specified in FIA Championship regulations where this is expressly stated, are not susceptible to appeal.” The Court’s decision means Hamilton’s championship lead remains at just a single point over Ferrari’s Felipe Massa, who inherited the victory at Spa.[Formula1.com]

That was what many pundits had foreseen but back then, my immediate thought was that the penalty would be overturned! As it turned out, mine was one of the very few opinions in favour of McLaren/Hamilton 😳 . Most of his racing colleagues were also against him and supported the penalty, albeit somewhat mutedly.

The F1 season is now moving into its home-stretch, with just four more races remaining and Ferrari’s Felipe Massa trails Hamilton by just one point. As ESPN’s Sporstcenter showed earlier tonight, if the remaining four races go the same way as last year, Massa would win the Drivers’ Championship by 4 points! The onus is now upon Lewis to lift himself up for the immediate Singaporean Grand Prix. No doubt, the news would have come as a shot in the arm for Massa and he also would look towards maximising the results from the next races. Kimi Raikkonen and Robert Kubica would be ever eager in the background to snap up the points in case the leaders trip up. Exciting days (and the lone night) ahead for F1.

Hamilton Penalised; Belgian Grand Prix win handed to Massa

In an interesting development, the Belgian Grand Prix victory was handed over to Ferrari’s Felipe Massa as the stewards decided to penalise Lewis Hamilton for his overtaking manoeuvre on Kimi Raikkonen by handing him a 25 second add-on. This drops him to 3rd place and promotes Massa and Heidfeld to 1st and 2nd respectively.

Ferrari’s Felipe Massa has been declared the winner of Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix after McLaren’ Lewis Hamilton was handed a 25-second time penalty following the race. Hamilton drops to third place as a result, with BMW Sauber’s Nick Heidfeld moving up to second. Hamilton was penalised after stewards decided he had gained an advantage by cutting the final chicane in his late-race battle with Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen. McLaren plan to appeal the decision.

The revised result means that rather than extending his championship lead over Massa, Hamilton now sees it cut, with the Briton heading the Brazilian by just two points, 76 to 74, with five races remaining. [Source: Formula1.com]

This surely throws a spanner in Hamilton’s Championship hopes and increases Massa’s chances dramatically. Though if McLaren win their appeal (and I think they will), the advantage is back with Hamilton!