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Belgian GP: Jenson Button dominates for McLaren after Spa start chaos

Jenson Button leads Spa startJenson Button dominated a Belgian Grand Prix that began with a huge startline crash in which title contenders Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton were eliminated.

With Sebastian Vettel coming through to finish second, the incident meant Alonso saw his championship lead slashed to 24 points.

The accident started when Lotus driver Romain Grosjean moved across the track on the approach to La Source and squeezed Hamilton's McLaren.

The two made contact and ploughed into the cars ahead in dramatic fashion. Alonso and Sergio Perez were also eliminated, while slow-starting front-row man Kamui Kobayashi and Pastor Maldonado (who jumped the start) both picked up damage.

The latter pair rejoined, but Maldonado was soon out following a restart clash with Timo Glock's Marussia.

The accident totally reshuffled the race order, with Button leading Kimi Raikkonen's Lotus, Force India duo Nico Hulkenberg and Paul di Resta, Michael Schumacher's Mercedes and Toro Rosso pair Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne.

The Red Bulls were delayed in the chaos, leaving Mark Webber in eighth and Vettel 12th.

Button charged away from the outset, making a one-stop race work to perfection as he followed up his maiden McLaren pole with his first win since the season-opener in Australia.

Raikkonen lacked pace early on and was overtaken by Hulkenberg and Schumacher.

An early first stop helped the Lotus regain ground, but the best strategy appeared to be to pit once. A combination of that tactic and several early passing moves helped Vettel emerge in a clear second place.

Schumacher also tried to pit once, but found himself under big presser from two-stoppers Raikkonen and Hulkenberg.

This led to some spectacular racing, including Raikkonen overtaking Schumacher around the outside into Eau Rouge, as the seven-time champion twice managed to fight back past his rivals using DRS. Eventually he had to admit defeat and pit again.

By then Raikkonen was long gone and heading for the final podium spot, ahead of Hulkenberg, Ferrari's Felipe Massa, and Webber.

Schumacher salvaged seventh, as the Toro Rossos and di Resta fell back to the tail of the top 10.

Nico Rosberg and Bruno Senna also had to make late tyre stops, leaving them outside the points.

Caterham briefly looked like it might achieve an upset as Heikki Kovalainen emerged in 10th on lap one. But he soon fell back and would later have two spins and a pitlane clash with Narain Karthikeyan.

PROVISIONAL RACE RESULTS

The Belgian Grand Prix
Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium;
44 laps; 308.052km;
Weather: Sunny.

Classified:

Pos  Driver        Team                       Time
 1.  Button        McLaren-Mercedes           1h29:08.530
 2.  Vettel        Red Bull-Renault           +    13.624
 3.  Raikkonen     Lotus-Renault              +    25.334
 4.  Hulkenberg    Force India-Mercedes       +    27.843
 5.  Massa         Ferrari                    +    29.845
 6.  Webber        Red Bull-Renault           +    31.244
 7.  Schumacher    Mercedes                   +    53.374
 8.  Vergne        Toro Rosso-Ferrari         +    58.865
 9.  Ricciardo     Toro Rosso-Ferrari         +  1:02.982
10.  Di Resta      Force India-Mercedes       +  1:03.783
11.  Rosberg       Mercedes                   +  1:05.111
12.  Senna         Williams-Renault           +  1:11.529
13.  Kobayashi     Sauber-Ferrari             +  1:56.119
14.  Petrov        Caterham-Renault           +     1 lap
15.  Glock         Marussia-Cosworth          +     1 lap
16.  Pic           Marussia-Cosworth          +     1 lap
17.  Kovalainen    Caterham-Renault           +     1 lap
18.  De la Rosa    HRT-Cosworth               +     1 lap

Fastest lap: Senna, 1:52.822

Not classified/retirements:

Driver        Team                         On lap
Karthikeyan   HRT-Cosworth                 30
Maldonado     Williams-Renault             5
Perez         Sauber-Ferrari               1
Alonso        Ferrari                      1
Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes             1
Grosjean      Lotus-Renault                1

World Championship standings, round 12:

Drivers:                    Constructors:             
 1.  Alonso       164        1.  Red Bull-Renault          272
 2.  Vettel       140        2.  McLaren-Mercedes          218
 3.  Webber       132        3.  Lotus-Renault             207
 4.  Raikkonen    131        4.  Ferrari                   199
 5.  Hamilton     117        5.  Mercedes                  112
 6.  Button       101        6.  Sauber-Ferrari             80
 7.  Rosberg       77        7.  Force India-Mercedes       59
 8.  Grosjean      76        8.  Williams-Renault           53
 9.  Perez         47        9.  Toro Rosso-Ferrari         12
10.  Schumacher    35
11.  Massa         35
12.  Kobayashi     33
13.  Hulkenberg    31
14.  Maldonado     29
15.  Di Resta      28
16.  Senna         24
17.  Vergne         8
18.  Ricciardo      4

All timing unofficial
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