Live Commentary: Belgian Grand Prix - Jenson Button wins from Sebastian Vettel, Kimi Raikkonen - as it happened

Jenson Button
© PA Photos
Live text coverage of the 11th F1 race of 2012 at the famous Spa-Francorchamps racetrack, courtesy of Sports Mole.

Good afternoon and welcome to Sports Mole's live text coverage of the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps.

Jenson Button stormed to pole yesterday for his first qualifying victory since joining McLaren.

The Englishman is joined on the front row by Kamui Kobayashi, with Kimi Raikkonen completing the top three.

The big guns of Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel are further back in the field meaning today's race should be a good'un.

Follow every spin, smack and stop with us below.


2.40pmA great win for Button then, who stands proudly atop the podium as 'God Save the Queen' is played out over the Spa-Francorchamps circuit. Thanks for joining Sports Mole for coverage, we'll see you next weekend in Monza!

2.37pmGood days for both Force India and Toro Rosso, who have two men inside the points-scoring top 10. A particularly bad day for Sauber, who qualified in second and fourth but failed to get a man up there.

2.36pmHere's the final top 10: 1. Button 2. Vettel 3. Raikkonen 4. Hulkenburg 5. Massa 6. Webber 7. Schumacher 8. Vergne 9. Ricciardo 10. Di Resta

2.33pmButton spins his wheels in delight and Vettel finishes second, with Raikkonen completing the podium.

CHEQUERED FLAGJENSON BUTTON WINS THE BELGIAN GRAND PRIX!

Lap 44The McLaren man's girlfriend, Jessica Michibata, climbs onto the pit wall and she'll cheer her man across the line.

Lap 44Button crosses the line for a 43rd time and we're into the final lap

Lap 43Button's now cruising home with one and a half left. Raikkonen could come under pressure from Hulkenburg but he seems safe enough in third.

Lap 42TOP 10 UPDATE: 1 Button 2 Vettel 3 Raikkonen 4 Hulkenburg 5 Massa 6 Webber 7 Schumacher 8 Vergne 9 Ricciardo 10 Di Resta

Lap 42It seems that the one-stop strategy was the right move this afternoon as the front two, Button and Vettel, both employed this tactic, with no one else in the top 10 following suit.

Lap 41Four laps remaining and it's looking extremely good for Button, who leads by 14 seconds.

Lap 40Schumacher has reported back to his team that he's lost sixth gear! That'll really hurt the Mercedes man around such a high-speed circuit.

Lap 38In case you missed it earlier, Hamilton, Alonso, Perez and Grosjean all crashed out on the opening corner. Replays indicate that it was the latter's fault as he seemed to cut up Hamilton, who then ploughed into Championship leader Alonso.

Lap 38Seven laps to go and it looks like it'll be a Button-Vettel-Raikkonen podium.

Lap 37Massa, who has been there or thereabouts all day, passes Webber out of nowhere to get himself in the mix for a podium.

Lap 37Button's lead is 14.3s back to Vettel. Can Raikkonen catch the German in these remaining eight laps?

Lap 36Yep, the German veteran pits from fifth.

Lap 35Schumacher is told that they might have to switch to Plan B with 10 laps remaining. I'm guessing that's switching to a two-stopper and that'll seriously hurt his race.

Lap 35The quartet are fighting for the 3-6 places.

Lap 34Raikkonen is ahead of Schumi, with Hulkenburg and Webber scrapping it out behind.

Lap 34Is bubbling up beautifully between Schumacher, Raikkonen, Hulkenburg and Webber! The quartet are all within a second!

Lap 32Schumacher surrenders his place to Raikkonen at the Bus Stop chicane but then retakes the place midway round the next lap. It's believed that Raikkonen is struggling with a slight KERS problem so is losing time on the straights.

Lap 31Crash! Karthikeyan is out as he spins out and into the gravel trap.

Lap 31The three drivers at the front who are believed to be one stopping are Button, Vettel and Schumi.

Lap 30TOP 10 UPDATE: 1 Button 2 Vettel 3 Schumacher 4 Raikkonen 5 Hulkenburg 6 Webber 7 Massa 8 Senna 9 Rosberg 10 Ricciardo

Lap 30The stewards are investigating a possible unsafe release from Red Bull for Mark Webber.

Lap 29And now Raikkonen also makes his second stop. Looks like a straight fight between Vettel, Raikkonen, Hulkenburg, Webber and Schumacher for the other places on the podium.

Lap 28Webber and Hulkenburg both pit for a second time.

Lap 26Webber is however told that things are looking up as Raikkonen and Hulkenburg ahead of him are still to stop. Webber's engineer does however concede that Button is "a long way ahead".

Lap 26Vettel, on a one-stopper, is catching teammate Webber and the Aussie may be asked to scoot over quite soon.

Lap 25Button is pulling away from Raikkonen, the gap is now above the 10-second mark.

Lap 25The stewards have just announced that the Vettel-Schumacher incident from earlier will be investigated after the race.

Lap 24Despite a poor qualifying performance, the Red Bulls of Webber and Vettel have performed extremely well this afternoon and sit fourth and fifth respectively.

Lap 23Button sets the fastest lap of the race with a 1:54.917 and he's told by the team that "Plan A" is going, well er, going to plan.

Lap 23Maldonado tells Sky Sports F1 that the clutch slipped out of his hands and that's why he false started.

Lap 22Vettel is just ahead of Ricciardo, with Schumacher trailing the Toro Rosso.

Lap 22Vettel now pits from second and he comes out just ahead of Schumacher.

Lap 21Button is six seconds ahead of Kimi and it's believed that the McLaren won't have to stop again, while Raikkonen will need to. Race over?

Lap 21What a stop from the McLaren boys! 2.6s and he's ahead of both Vettel and Raikkonen.

Lap 20Here comes Button! Will he come out ahead of Raikkonen?

Lap 20Wonderful viewing as Vettel pressures his hero Schumacher on the final corner and the older man cuts across into the pit lane!

Lap 19Button's lead back to Schumacher is 15 seconds, while the Englishman's main rival Raikkonen is 22 adrift.

Lap 18TOP 10 UPDATE: 1 Button 2 Schumacher 3 Vettel 4 Raikkonen (1 stop) 5 Hulkenburg (1 stop) 6 Webber (1 stop) 7 Ricciardo (1 stop) 8 Massa (1 stop) 9 Rosberg 10 Di Resta (1 stop)

Lap 17And now Webber, who's the fastest man on track, passes Ricciardo for sixth place.

Lap 17Button again stays out as Rosberg continues to drop down the field as Ricciardo and Webber both get past.

Lap 16Incident in the pit lane as Kovalainen is unsafely released into the incoming Karthikeyan. Caterham should get a penalty for that.

Lap 15Vettel continues his charge by passing Vettel as Raikkonen gets it done on the lagging Rosberg.

Lap 14Raikkonen now sets the fastest lap and surely Button will come in?

Lap 14Raikkonen pitting earlier seems to have paid dividends as the Finn is ahead of the emerging Hulkenburg. He's back into 'virtual' second place.

Lap 14Vettel finally makes it stick on Senna as Hulkenburg pits from second.

Lap 14Button will need to pit soon as he's now losing time to the likes of Raikkonen, who've already pitted.

Lap 13Button now leads Hulkenburg by 7.6s as Massa pits.

1.30pmFootball fans out there, they've just kicked off at Anfield for Liverpool vs. Arsenal. Follow our commentary right here.

Lap 12Raikkonen and Webber both pit and the latter comes out behind Di Resta.

Lap 11Schumacher does Raikkonen on the outside of Les Combes. Great stuff from the veteran.

Lap 10Vettel is now threatening Senna but the Red Bull hasn't got the top speed to get past the Williams.

Lap 10Di Resta hasn't been matching the performance of teammate Hulkenburg and he comes into the pit for a set of harder tyres.

Lap 9Passes everywhere as Vettel passes Webber on the final Bus Stop chicane and Ricciardo gets the better of Di Resta for fifth place.

Lap 9Hamilton, Alonso, Perez and Maldonado have all crashed out.

Lap 9TOP 10 UPDATE: 1 Button 2 Hulkenburg 3 Raikkonen 4 Schumacher 5 Di Resta 6 Ricciardo 7 Vergne 8 Senna 9 Webber 10 Vettel

Lap 9Webber's now trying to pass Senna and this means that Vettel is closing right up on his teammate.

Lap 8Button's lead to Hulkenburg is now five seconds.

Lap 8Vettel passes Massa for 10th as Raikkonen reports back to the pit that he has "no grip".

Lap 7Massa is the meat between a Red Bull sandwich as Webber and Vettel look to move up the field. The trio are ninth, 10th and 11th at the moment.

Lap 7Alonso's in the garage and he looks OK after some initial medical worries.

Lap 6Schumacher squeezes past Di Resta for fourth place as Button continues to pull away. Raikkonen, who was expected to challenge, has no answer as he's behind Hulkenburg's Force India.

Lap 6Button's lead is around three seconds after the first lap without the safety car.

Lap 5Button's absolutely streaked away from the rest in this one lap!

Lap 5Raikkonen is back in third as Hulkenburg passes the Finn at the top of the hill. Maldonado is out after losing his front wing!

Lap 4This race is now likely to be a two-horse race Button and Raikkonen as we get back underway!

Lap 4We've just seen a replay of Hamilton nearly squaring up to Grosjean following the crash. The Englishman was tapping his helmet as if to say 'Are you mental?'

Lap 4So, the Toro Rosso's also picked their way through the debris and are now sixth and seventh, with Schumacher also moving from 13th to fifth.

Lap 3Grosjean's car came flying right in front of Alonso's face, while Perez also had a scary moment.

Lap 3These pictures of the crash are quite remarkable. Amazing how no one gets hurt in such a pile up.

Lap 3Here's the top 10: 1 Button 2 Raikkonen 3 Hulkenburg 4 Di Resta 5 Schumacher 6 Ricciardo 7 Vergne 8 Webber 9 Senna 10 Kovalainen

Lap 2Away from all the crashing it was a phenomenal start for Force India, who have Hulkenburg and Di Resta in third and fourth.

Lap 2Both Saubers were also caught up in the incident that appears to be Grosjean's fault as the Frenchman cut across Hamilton.

Lap 2Hamilton has trudged back to the pit, was that incident his fault? Replays yet to be shown.

Lap 2Button still leads as the pack is picked up by a safety car.

Lap 1Alonso's exit means that he won't be able to equal Schumacher's record of 24 consecutive points-scoring finishes.

Lap 1Kobayashi's brakes were smoking ahead of the start and he didn't get away well.

Lap 1Alonso finally makes it out of his car and it looks like Grosjean is also out!

Lap 1Maldonado seemed to jump the start and he'll be surely penalised for a false start.

Lap 1Massive crash! Hamilton and Alonso out!

Lap 1GO! GO! GO! THE BELGIAN GRAND PRIX IS UNDERWAY!

1.02pmHamilton is side-by-side with Maldonado on the grid and both men are notoriously bullish when surrounded. I wouldn't be surprised with an early crash somewhere. Button is nearing the end and we're about to begin...

1.01pmWho will be the biggest mover from further down the pack? Hamilton, Vettel, Grosjean, Webber? I can't wait!

1.00pmThe parade lap has begun! Button will lead round the 23 other cars before they line up on the grid and wait for five red lights to go out. Here we go...

12.58pmThis is the longest track on the F1 calendar and we'll circuit the course 44 times.

12.57pmThis fantastic racetrack is home to perhaps the most famous corner in world motorsport - Eau Rouge. Following the opening tight right called La Source, the cars pelt downhill towards a steep incline that can be taken at full throttle. It's mesmeric viewing.

12.56pmThere's usually plenty of overtaking at Spa-Francorchamps, with high-speed sections leading up to heavy braking zones.

12.55pmPrediction time! I'm going for a Button win. As long as the Brit gets a good start he should be able to pull away from what is sure to be an ultra-competitive field behind him. Raikkonen is likely to be the McLaren man's biggest danger, while championship leader Alonso could also pose problems from fifth. Five minutes to go!

12.53pmOne interesting piece of information from this morning is that Lewis Hamilton tweeted a picture of some McLaren telemetry, which has since been deleted. @AndrewBensonF1 tweets this: "McLaren not at all happy about Hamilton tweeting telemetry picture - contained all sorts of sensitive info, which the other teams now have." Ooh.

12.50pmSchumacher tells the lovely Natalie Pinkham that he plans to attack from 13th in his 300th GP.

12.49pmFurther back the are notable faces of Webber (12), Schumacher (13), Massa (14) and Rosberg (23).

12.47pmHere's the top 10 grid positions: 1 Button 2 Kobayashi 3 Raikkonen 4 Perez 5 Alonso 6 Maldonado 7 Hamilton 8 Grosjean 9 Di Resta 10 Vettel

12.42pmReigning two-time world champion Vettel tells Sky Sports F1 that, despite being down in 10th, he expects a competitive race.

12.41pmRosberg's teammate, Michael Schumacher, who is racing in his 300th F1 event, gives a thumbs-up so he seems happy despite starting down in 13th.

12.40pmAnother man to suffer a grid drop is Nico Rosberg, who had a horrible qualifying and now starts 23rd.

12.39pmPastor Maldonado also took a penalty and moves from third to sixth for obstructing Nico Hulkenburg yesterday.

12.38pmMark Webber, who has taken a five-place grid penalty and starts 12th, tells Sky Sports F1 that it's not ideal to start further back. You don't say.

12.35pmButton is on pole today for the first time since joining McLaren, with teammate Lewis Hamilton back in seventh.

12.33pmWe get underway in around half an hour's time at 1pm.

12.32pmAdd to that the fact that we have such a jumbled grid today and it's sure to be a thrilling race.

12.31pmAfternoon all! I, for one, am really looking forward to this as Spa-Francorchamps is probably my favourite racetrack of the 20 on the calendar.


Jenson Button
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TeamPoints
1Mercedes357
2Ferrari318
3Red Bull184
4Force India101
5Williams-Mercedes41
6Toro Rosso39
7Haas29
8Renault26
9McLaren11
10Sauber5
DriversTeamPoints
1Sebastian VettelFerrari202
2Lewis HamiltonMercedes188
3Valtteri BottasMercedes169
4Daniel RicciardoRed Bull117
5Kimi RaikkonenFerrari116
6Max VerstappenRed Bull67
7Sergio PerezForce India56
8Esteban OconForce India45
9Carlos SainzToro Rosso35
10Nico HulkenbergRenault26
11Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes23
12Lance StrollWilliams-Mercedes18
13Romain GrosjeanHaas18
14Kevin MagnussenHaas11
15Fernando AlonsoMcLaren10
16Pascal WehrleinSauber5
17Daniil KvyatToro Rosso4
18Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren1
19Marcus EricssonSauber0
20Jolyon PalmerRenault0
21Antonio GiovinazziSauber0
22Jenson ButtonMcLaren0
23Paul di RestaWilliams-Mercedes0
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