Button celebrates dominant victory in Belgium
2 September 2012 – Jenson Button has won at Spa for the first time, confirming that McLaren is the first team to celebrate four victories in 2012. Sebastian Vettel collected a crucial second place, with Kimi Räikkönen on the podium for the third consecutive event. Both championship leader Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton were taken out in a frightening incident at the first corner, triggered by Romain Grosjean.
Nobody could have predicted the drama of the start. As Pastor Maldonado moved set off before the lights went out, the Williams shot towards the front. Romain Grosjean then moved over on Hamilton, forcing the McLaren onto the grass and out of control; the resultant accident saw both cars, and the Ferrari of Alonso, thrown high into the air. Both Saubers, which had qualified in excellent second and fourth places, plus Maldonado were also affected as debris was strewn all over the circuit. Fortunately, nobody involved was injured despite the Lotus of Grosjean missing Alonso’s head by millimetres.
The carnage of the day allowed several underdogs to pick up the pieces. Force India finished fourth and tenth with Nico Hülkenberg and Paul di Resta, unbelievably out-scoring Sauber by 13 points on a day when the Swiss team had threatened to take victory. Felipe Massa beat Webber to a top five result as Toro Rosso celebrated a double points finish, with Jean-Éric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo – often running in tandem – coming home eighth and ninth.
Jenson Button’s 14th career victory confirms that McLaren is the first team to win four races and two consecutive Grands Prix in 2012. With Vettel jumping to second in the title race and eating into Alonso’s lead by a mammoth 18 points, Räikkönen - who pulled a stunning Eau Rouge overtake on Schumacher - is now fourth overall and ahead of Hamilton. Today’s result marks the 75th victory for the McLaren-Mercedes partnership, which celebrated its first with David Coulthard in Australia 15 years ago.
The 2012 Formula 1 season now moves to another historic venue, Monza in Italy, for Round 13 of 20 next weekend