Button crushes opposition with dominant Spa victory

Jenson Button has taken a dominative victory at the Belgian Grand Prix, leading every single lap. The McLaren driver utilised a 1-stop strategy and excellent pace to win by 15 seconds from Sebastian Vettel, who made several well-judged passes during the race. A huge crash at the first corner shook up the grid, allowing Nico Hulkenberg to take a brilliant fourth.

Kimi Raikkonen disappointed with 3rd place, while three of the frontrunners failed to finish the first lap. This is what happened…

At the start, it appeared as if Pastor Maldonado had massively jumped the start, leaping up to second place from 6th. A huge pile-up occurred at La Source, as Romain Grosjean clashed with Lewis Hamilton. The McLaren and Lotus cars careered into the first corner, taking out both Saubers, and smashing into Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari.

With debris everywhere, the safety car was an absolute must, as the marshals cleared up the carnage. Kamui Kobayashi pitted for a new front wing, while Sergio Perez, Alonso, Hamilton and Grosjean were all eliminated.

The safety car pitted at the end of Lap 4, allowing Button to defend his lead against Raikkonen. Further back, Felipe Massa and Sebastian Vettel made progress, slicing past Heikki Kovalainen for 10th and 11th places.

Amazingly, the Force Indias were on fine form, Nico Hulkenberg putting a surprise pass on Kimi Raikkonen for 2nd. Michael Schumacher passed the other Force India for 4th position, having gained 9 positions in the opening laps.

Vettel soon out-braked Massa for 10th place, while teammate Mark Webber put pressure on Bruno Senna for 8th. However, the Red Bull’s short gearing system meant that he was unable to utilise DRS. Sebastian became impatient on the radio, and decided to make a move on the sister Red Bull.

Daniel Ricciardo furthered the glee of the Toro Rosso crew, passing Paul di Resta for 5th. After falling away drastically from his teammate, the Scot opted to pit on Lap 11, taking on the harder compound tyre. Suffering from the same issue, Webber did the same. He followed Kimi Raikkonen into the pits, who was easily passed by Michael Schumacher.

As Hulkenberg pitted from 2nd, Vettel made further progress, cleverly out-braking Bruno Senna at the Bus Stop chicane. As the order settled down, it became clear that Raikkonen had undercutted Hulkenberg. Soon after, the Lotus put a move on Nico Rosberg, at the same time as Vettel getting past Ricciardo up ahead.

There was more activity, as Ricciardo and Webber got past Nico Rosberg, before the Red Bull made a move on Daniel for 7th.

Vettel was on fire, and quickly was pressurising Michael Schumacher for 2nd. The two went side-by-side through the Bus Stop, but Schumacher caught Vettel unawares as the Mercedes entered the pits. Button pitted on Lap 20, taking on the hard tyres, indicating a 1-stop strategy.

As the order became more clear, Button pulled further and further away at the front, while Raikkonen, Vettel and Hulkenberg all scrabbled to keep up with the McLaren. Felipe Massa’s decent race pace began to deteriorate, being easily passed for 9th by Bruno Senna.

On Lap 28, the 2-stopping drivers began to pit. Hulkenberg, Webber, Massa and Raikkonen all took on fresh tyres, allowing Vettel into clear air in second place.

Having not pitted for a second time, Schumacher began to hold up Raikkonen. The ensuing battle allowed both Hulkenberg and Webber to catch up to the action. By Lap 32, Raikkonen was confident enough to out-brake the Mercedes into La Source. Swiftly after, Hulkenberg was all over the 6-time Spa winner. However, Michael surprised Kimi by being able to deploy DRS to retake his 3rd position.

Raikkonen was having none of it though, putting a brave move on Schumacher through Eau Rouge, in a similar fashion to Mark Webber’s famous pass last year. Hulkenberg tried to take advantage of the slowing Mercedes, going around the outside of La Source, but DRS meant that the Force India stayed in 5th. With 8 laps to go, the team opted to change strategy, putting Schumacher on new medium tyres.

Nico Rosberg suffered from the same issue, and pitted for the third time, dropping out of a points position. Jean-Eric Vergne eased past Bruno Senna for 8th place, and teammate Daniel Ricciardo soon put pressure on the Williams driver. Following the move of Mercedes, Senna decided to take on fresh tyres with 5 laps to go.

At the back, Heikki Kovalainen spun at Pouhon, allowing Pedro de la Rosa in the HRT to move out of last place.

There was nothing left to stop Button, who cruised to the chequered flag to take his second win of the season. Vettel finished 2nd, and Raikkonen struggled to 3rd, complaining to his team of a slow engine mode near the end.

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