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Live Event Coverage

Grand Prix from Belgium - Formula 1 World Championship 2012

Published by Christine

With an unusual grid headed up by Jenson Button, there's potential today for an exciting race - no matter what the weather does. The forecasts suggest sunshine, but there's no betting on what the microsystems above Spa will deliver. What we can look at is the action on track, with Mercedes giving themselves a lot of work to do, and both Red Bull drivers somewhat out of position. Hamilton wants to catch his teammate out front, while Button will be desperate for a win. It's all to play for in the Belgian Grand Prix!

As it happened: 2012 Belgium - The Race

  • 12:30

    Hi race fans, it's Spa day!

  • 12:31

    The sun is shining over Spa-Francorchamps, which in itself is unusual. It's also set to remain dry throughout, leaving the F1 action unimpeded.

  • 12:32

    Jenson Button starts from pole position, his first since 2009 with a Sauber alongside him on the grid.

  • 12:32

    An up to date starting grid is available here: whilst a quick roundup of quali action here:

  • 12:34

    TweetTweet from @Charles_Pic1: Just a quick minute to say I hope you all enjoy the race. Let's hope it will be good for us and we see more of our good progress

  • 12:36
    Circuit Data
    Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps
    Local timezone+02:00 GMT
    First race1950
    Number of laps44
    Circuit length7.004km
    Race distance308.052km
    Start offset0.124km
  • 12:36

    Interview with Michael Schumacher, ahead of his 300th GP: "It's a beautiful day, a little bit unfortunate honestly. In our situation, we would love to have mixed conditions but we'll take it as it comes. It's the nature of corners, the layout, the flow, the high-speed content, the history. There's such a mixture of speciality and a good reason to love the track. I'm enjoying F1, absolutely."

  • 12:37

    TweetTweet from @InsideFerrari: Everything is ready for the Belgian Grand Prix. Felipe and Fernando are doing some practice starts before going to the grid, as usual.

  • 12:39

    Just a reminder of the crazy season we've seen so far.

    2012 Race Wins
    1F Alonso3
    2M Webber2
    3J Button1
    4N Rosberg1
    5S Vettel1
    6P Maldonado1
    7L Hamilton1
  • 12:41

    Interview with Button, who is celebrating 50 races with McLaren. Celebrations ahoy this weekend! "It's never the perfect balance on the way to the grid, just come out of the pits. But it feels alright, no issues, just head down now to turn one."

  • 12:41

    There's a line of what we assume is rubber leading away from Button's grid slot at the front, he jokes he hopes it is rubber and not oil!

  • 12:42

    Interview with Kamui Kobayashi: "Good to start from second, I have nobody in front for the first time in F1. We'll try to get as much as we can, if we do a good job we can get a podium or the win, we don't know. It's most important that we get the best. [The win] would be amazing but I will get excited after the race, not now."

  • 12:44
    Historical Session Times
    Year: 2011
    Free Practice 1MSC1:54.355
    Free Practice 2WEB1:50.321
    Free Practice 3WEB2:08.988
    The RaceVET1:26:44.893
  • 12:47

    Interview with Christian Horner: "We had good pace yesterday afternoon, we struggled in the afternoon and we don't know why. We think we have a good race car and it's important for us to make some progress in the early laps."

  • 12:49

    Fernando Alonso has a forty point lead in the driver standings, and starting from fifth on the grid with his main rivals behind him, he has plenty of opportunity to make up more ground today.

  • 12:51
    Lap Data
    (data from Williams F1)
    Fuel consumption3.3kg
    Fuel lap time penalty0.4s/10kg
    Full throttle70%
    Top speed324kph
    Average speed230kph
    Longest straight2015m
    Pit lane loss18s
    Pit lane length386m
  • 12:53

    Interview with Pastor Maldonado - a man of few words: "Bit disappointed for the penalty, but it's not the end, still a race to do. 44 laps, so looking forward."

  • 12:56

    So, the race is moments away. I hope you are in the Sidepodcast comments: and watching live timing which has just reset:

  • 12:57

    The mechanics are making their last minute checks and tweaks to the cars before they have to clear the grid.

  • 12:59
    Grid Position
    9Di RestaForce India
    10VettelRed Bull
  • 13:00

    The mechanics clear the grid, the engines are fired up and the formation lap is about to begin.

  • 13:00

    Jenson Button leads the field away, heading up the hill to the first turn.

  • 13:01

    It looks as though every driver is starting on the medium tyres, except for Nico Hülkenberg in 11th and Nico Rosberg in 23rd. Those Nicos like to be different, eh?

  • 13:02



    Wind speed0.6mps
  • 13:03

    Kobayashi's brakes are steaming!

  • 13:03

    Green flagRace started.

  • 13:04 Lap 1

    CrashAccident between loads of drivers at the start! Alonso and Hamilton are both off and out of the race! Grosjean also, and one of the Saubers.

  • 13:04 Lap 1

    Yellow flagYellow flag! It's Pérez who is also out. Kobayashi was run off track in the collision, but managed to keep going.

  • 13:05 Lap 1

    It looks as though Grosjean cut in front of Hamilton, who had nowhere to go. The Lotus was launched into the air, spinning round and round. Alonso was collected on the way, with all three off and out.

  • 13:05 Lap 1

    Alonso took his time getting out of the car. Two doctors approached to make sure he was okay and they helped him out carefully. He looks okay though.

  • 13:06 Lap 2

    SC BoardSafety car deployed and waiting for the cars to come round.

  • 13:07 Lap 2

    Pedro de la Rosa, Kamui Kobayashi and Pastor Maldonado all pit - terrible for the Sauber team, Sergio Pérez has retired, Kobayashi at the back.

  • 13:08 Lap 2

    Replays look like Maldonado went very early, he may have jumped the start. All eyes were on him as the accident occurred behind.

  • 13:08 Lap 2

    It was a massive incident, all caused by Grosjean crossing in front of Hamilton. The rest were almost innocent bystanders.

  • 13:10 Lap 3

    There are bits of car and carbon fibre all over the first corner, the marshalls guiding the cars away from it as the Safety Car leads them round another lap.

  • 13:13 Lap 4

    Pérez disappointed looks on in the garage, before walking out the back.

  • 13:13 Lap 4

    RadioTeam radio to Kimi: "Tyre temperatures are starting to drop again, need to put more work in front and rear, please."

  • 13:17 Lap 5

    Green flagTrack is clear, the safety car is gone.

  • 13:17 Lap 5

    Somehow, Pastor Maldonado has managed to lose a front wing. He's also under investigation for jumping the start, but out of the race anyway!

  • 13:18 Lap 6

    Replays show Charlie Whiting shaking his head in disbelief at Pastor's jump start!

  • 13:18 Lap 6

    Michael Schumacher has managed to get up into fourth. At this point, it's worth pointing out that Button is still leading, Hülk now second with Kimi in third.

  • 13:19 Lap 6

    Race Control: DRS enabled.

  • 13:20 Lap 7

    It also looks like the first lap accident will also be investigated after the race - presumably only to affect Grosjean, as all else were passengers!

  • 13:21 Lap 7

    Kovalainen spun, the Caterham sitting on track but facing the wrong way. He managed to right it, narrowly avoiding an HRT.

  • 13:22 Lap 8

    Sebastian Vettel sneaks past Felipe Massa at the last corner, moving up to 10th place.

  • 13:22 Lap 8

    Kamui Kobayashi has returned to the pitlane once more, tyres being changed, and he rejoins the race.

  • 13:23 Lap 9
    Gap Analysis
  • 13:23 Lap 9

    Mark Webber is desperately trying to pass Bruno Senna, hustling the Williams for 8th place.

  • 13:24 Lap 9

    TweetTweet from @OfficialSF1Team: slow puncture for #Kamui. new set of tyres. we go for the hard tyres. #F1

  • 13:26 Lap 9

    Vettel squeezes past Webber, great driving from both teammates, Webber pushed a little bit wide, but Vettel takes the position. 9th and 10th for Red Bull still.

  • 13:26 Lap 10

    Replay shows Daniel Ricciardo overtaking Paul di Resta, and that is for a surprising fifth position. Toro Rosso making the most of the opportunity for now. Vergne sits seventh.

  • 13:28 Lap 11

    Paul di Resta pits, keen for a change of tyres there. This is the first scheduled stop and only 11 laps in. Harder tyre on the Force India.

  • 13:28 Lap 11

    Vettel is now trying to make the move on Senna, but he can't do it either. The Red Bull car struggling for pace on the straight.

  • 13:28 Lap 11

    Schumacher made an easy pass on Räikkönen, using the DRS zone to full effect for 3rd place.

  • 13:29 Lap 12

    Räikkönen pits now, and Red Bull mechanics bundle out into the pitlane too - it's Webber that follows Kimi in.

  • 13:30 Lap 12

    Glock also pits, he is currently in last place. Kobayashi has moved up a few places, but sits 16th behind a Caterham and HRT.

  • 13:31 Lap 13
    Pit Stop Analysis
    DriverK Räikkönen
    Pit lane20.383s
  • 13:31 Lap 13

    QuoteComment from Mark: Kimi purple S2. Watch them all dive in now.

  • 13:31 Lap 13

    Ricciardo and Massa both pit for new tyres, both take on the harder compound. Petrov also comes in for Caterham.

  • 13:32 Lap 13

    Senna is still managing to hold off Vettel - the Red Bull driver has the gap down to almost nothing, but the varying strengths of the car make it hard to pass.

  • 13:33 Lap 14

    Replays show Petrov had an issue on his pitstop, the lollipop raised but the car wouldn't go - it looked like it wouldn't get in gear.

  • 13:34 Lap 14

    Hülkenberg pits, taking on the medium tyre, after starting on the hard compound.

  • 13:34 Lap 14

    Vettel has finally made it past Senna, he's up to fifth now.

  • 13:35 Lap 14

    Interview with Romain Grosjean: "I haven't seen the incident back, but the main thing is that we're all okay."

  • 13:36 Lap 15

    Räikkönen has just passed Rosberg for sixth, Nico the last of the runners not to have pitted yet.

  • 13:36 Lap 15

    Hülkenberg is sitting behind Kimi, so has lost out in that round of pitstops.

  • 13:37 Lap 15

    TweetTweet from @Marussia_F1Team: Charles now working hard to displace the HRTs again

  • 13:38 Lap 16

    Into turn one, Hülk passes Rosberg to move back behind Kimi.

  • 13:38 Lap 16

    Replays in the pitlane show Caterham releasing Kovalainen right into the path of an HRT - the two colliding, Heikki losing his front wing.

  • 13:39 Lap 17

    Senna comes into the pit lane for his first stop of the day. Button, Schumacher and Vettel lead the way, having not yet stopped.

  • 13:40 Lap 17

    Webber easily moves past Ricciardo, moving up to sixth place.

  • 13:41 Lap 17

    First lap crashThe first lap crash, via @TelegraphSport.

  • 13:41 Lap 18

    Senna is reportedly going to the end of the race on his new set of tyres.

  • 13:42 Lap 18

    Felipe Massa moves up past Rosberg as well - the tyres on that Mercedes dropping him rapidly down the order.

  • 13:42 Lap 18

    RadioTeam radio to Hülkenberg: "We need around another eight laps on this set of tyres, and the pace looks good."

  • 13:44 Lap 19
    Driver Positions
    10-1Di Resta1
  • 13:45 Lap 20
    Gap Analysis
  • 13:45 Lap 20

    Schumacher locks up into the corner, Vettel tried to go on the inside to make a move but Schumi was heading into the pits - catching Seb totally off guard.

  • 13:47 Lap 21

    Jenson Button comes in for his first stop of the day, in from the lead of the race - almost halfway through.

  • 13:47 Lap 21

    Grosjean in the airMore from that first lap incident, Grosjean in the air, via @SkySportsPete.

  • 13:48 Lap 21

    Button returned to the track and managed to remain ahead of Vettel.

  • 13:48 Lap 21
    Pit Stop Analysis
    DriverJ Button
    Pit lane19.668s
  • 13:49 Lap 22

    Vettel comes in for his stop, presumably his only one. He comes in from second, and returns to the track in eighth place. A 3.7 second stop for the Red Bull.

  • 13:50 Lap 22

    TweetTweet from @alo_oficial: Hola!! Gracias por todos los mensajes de apoyo..! Estoy bien y al 100% pensando ya en Monza! Forza @Felipe1Massa y @InsideFerrari !!

  • 13:51 Lap 23

    So, halfway through and Button is leading comfortably for now. Kimi is sitting second, with Hülk back in third.

  • 13:51 Lap 23

    RadioTeam radio to Button: "Jenson, we have looked at the tyres and Plan A is good."

  • 13:52 Lap 23

    Rosberg sets the fastest lap of the race so far, a 1:54.660.

  • 13:53 Lap 23

    Race Control: Pit entry incident involving Vettel and Schumacher will be investigated after the race.

  • 13:54 Lap 24
    Gap Analysis
  • 13:55 Lap 24

    RadioTeam radio to Massa: "There's still a long way to go, your lap times are still competitive." He's currently in sixth place.

  • 13:55 Lap 25
    Fastest Pit Times
    J ButtonMcLaren2.6
    F MassaFerrari2.8
    D RicciardoSTR2.8
  • 13:56 Lap 25

    Kamui Kobayashi into the pits for the third time today. It's a reasonable, if not quick stop from the Sauber team. The disappointment is showing.

  • 13:57 Lap 25

    QuoteComment from Lukeh: "Awww, apparently HRT have told karthikleyan to stop lifting in eau rouge to go faster"

  • 13:57 Lap 26

    TweetTweet from @WilliamsF1Team: Pastor is back in the motorhome feeling frustrated and disappointed - not the end to the race he wanted #Spa #BelgianGP

  • 13:58 Lap 27

    Interview with Sergio Pérez: "I think we paid for mistakes from other drivers. It's a big shame for myself and the team. Looking forward to the next one."

  • 13:59 Lap 27

    Timo Glock has pitted from 15th place.

  • 13:59 Lap 27

    RadioTeam radio to Räikkönen: "Okay, Kimi. Save 10% KERS each lap."

  • 13:59 Lap 27

    Paul di Resta also comes in for another pit stop - his second of the day.

  • 14:01 Lap 28

    It's pit stop madness, as Petrov also comes in, and next time round it is Mark Webber and Nico Hülkenberg, followed by Massa.

  • 14:02 Lap 28

    De la Rosa, Kovalainen pit, but at the front it is Kimi Räikkönen diving in for his stop.

  • 14:04 Lap 29

    Felipe Massa and Bruno Senna have been hustling for position, the Williams getting past, and the Ferrari taking the place back.

  • 14:04 Lap 29

    TweetTweet from @InsideFerrari: Some traffic in the pit lane for Felipe as Webber's release forced him to brake before reaching his pit stop position

  • 14:05 Lap 30
    One to Watch
  • 14:05 Lap 30

    Race Control: Unsafe release incident involving Webber under investigation.

  • 14:06 Lap 31

    Apparently, Red Bull's regular lollipop guy has meningitis and it's a replacement, which may explain the incident.

  • 14:07 Lap 31

    Vettel has been on the radio to his mechanics complaining about how the race is unfolding, he is told repeatedly not to worry by his calming engineer.

  • 14:07 Lap 31

    Felipe Massa sets the fastest lap of the race so far: 1:53.464.

  • 14:08 Lap 32

    Yellow flagKarthikeyan spins off backwards over the gravel trap and into the barriers.

  • 14:09 Lap 32

    Räikkönen takes Schumacher for third place, now sitting behind Button and Vettel.

  • 14:09 Lap 32

    Schumacher has managed to get back in front again, but for how long?

  • 14:09 Lap 32

    HRT spinning backwardsThe HRT hits the kerb, spins backwards, into the barrier and out of the race.

  • 14:10 Lap 33

    RadioTeam radio from Button: "I can hear you much better now, Dave." The only drama Jenson is having so far is with the radio.

  • 14:11 Lap 33

    It's an epic battle for those mid-points positions. Schumacher, Räikkönen, Hülkenberg and Webber split by just seven tenths of a second.

  • 14:11 Lap 33

    TweetTweet from @F1Kate: We're thinking KAR's wheel wasn't on right, although we don't know how he got so far around the track.

  • 14:11 Lap 33

    On the radio, Narain reported something broke on the front left corner.

  • 14:12 Lap 34

    This chasing pack of four cars are heading straight into traffic too - De la Rosa moving well off line to let them all past safely.

  • 14:12 Lap 34

    Schumacher locks up at the first corner as Hülk asks his team if the Mercedes is one-stopping.

  • 14:13 Lap 34

    Räikkönen puts his foot down through Eau Rouge to take the position from MSC. Hülk is next as Webber also hustles for a place.

  • 14:13 Lap 34

    Green flagTrack is clear.

  • 14:14 Lap 35

    Replay shows the Lotus and Mercedes aiming for the same bit of track at the bottom of Eau Rouge but Kimi didn't blink and sped away for third place.

  • 14:15 Lap 35

    Hülk is the next to make the move - going round the outside of Schumacher to move up to fourth. In the DRS zone, the Mercedes gets the place back again.

  • 14:15 Lap 35

    Kimi at Eau RougeThe moment where Schumacher realises there's no arguing with Kimi.

  • 14:16 Lap 36

    Hülk makes the pass on Schumacher again, but the Mercedes heads straight into the pitlane for new tyres.

  • 14:17 Lap 36

    Whilst all that battling went on between those four, Massa managed to catch up and he's just overtaken Webber for fifth place.

  • 14:17 Lap 36

    Schumacher rejoined in seventh.

  • 14:17 Lap 36

    The Toro Rosso drivers are following each other round, both passing Rosberg in one corner. 9th and 10th, with Vergne ahead now.

  • 14:18 Lap 37

    Rosberg is the next to dive into the pits, Mercedes one-stop plans not coming to pass this afternoon.

  • 14:19 Lap 37
    Gap Analysis
  • 14:21 Lap 38

    The two Marussia cars are battling for position, with Charles Pic ahead of his teammate by just 0.5 seconds. They're on differing strategies too.

  • 14:23 Lap 39

    Back and forth, back and forth, the two Marussia cars swap positions, but it is Glock who ends up in front. For now!

  • 14:23 Lap 39

    Vergne makes it past Senna, and Ricciardo can't do it! Oh no! They were following each other so neatly!

  • 14:24 Lap 40

    RadioTeam radio from Schumacher: "I'll try and see what I can do without sixth gear."

  • 14:24 Lap 40

    Senna has come in for the pits, which frees up Ricciardo to follow his teammate again. Yay!

  • 14:25 Lap 40

    TweetTweet from @Marussia_F1Team: NOW we're on the telly eh?

  • 14:25 Lap 41

    Button's radio confirms he is no longer in the window for a stop - it's one-stopping or bust.

  • 14:26 Lap 41

    Replays show Kovalainen losing some time as he hit the kerb and spun, but managed to control the car and keep going.

  • 14:29 Lap 43

    Just two and a bit more laps remaining. Button leading the way from Vettel and Räikkönen. The drama seems to have ceased now.

  • 14:30 Lap 43
    Most Pitstops
    17De la Rosa3
  • 14:30 Lap 43

    Kimi's radio suggests he wants full power to go any faster, whilst it also emerges that Paul di Resta is having KERS issues.

  • 14:31 Lap 44

    Final lap.

  • 14:33

    Chequered flagJenson Button wins the Belgian Grand Prix!

  • 14:33

    We saw nothing but JB for that final lap, almost as if everyone else stopped existing. Senna did take the fastest lap of the race, though - 1:52.822.

  • 14:33

    Here come the rest of them, thirteen seconds down the road.

  • 14:34

    There's no cool down lap, as it's such a lengthy track, and the drivers head straight into the pitlane - driving it the wrong way to park the cars.

  • 14:34
    Driver Positions
    10-1Di Resta2
  • 14:35

    A double points finish for Toro Rosso!

  • 14:35
    Race Winner
    DriverJenson Button
    Race time1:29:08.530
    Race distance308.052km
    Average speed207.344km/h
  • 14:36

    Button exits the car, cheers, hugs and a pat on the back for Herbie Blash. He heads straight inside to get weighed and get to the podium.

  • 14:37

    Lots of things being investigated after the race, so hold your horses before calculating any standings just yet.

  • 14:38
    MaldonadoAccident damage5
    KarthikeyanUnexpected meeting with tyre barrier
  • 14:38

    Kimi, Seb and JB having a good ol' chat in the pre-podium green warm. Vettel asks Kimi about the fight with Michael through Eau Rouge.

  • 14:40

    The drivers take to the podium as the national anthem of Great Britain plays out. Button gives a thumbs up.

  • 14:40

    The trophies are handed out, a round plate with Shell sponsorship logo firmly in the centre. They glint in the sunshine.

  • 14:41

    Podium threeThe podium three.

  • 14:41

    And the champagne is sprayed, Button aiming his directly at the McLaren representative - Vettel opting to spray the nearby girls.

  • 14:42

    All three take a quick swig from the bottles too, and JB ensures to clink bottles with his two podium mates.

  • 14:44

    Podium interview - Jenson Button: "What can I say? This circuit is such a special circuit to most drivers. The way it flows and the history here, so to get a victory here from lights to flag is very special. It's not been the easiest year for me, so very special. I'd like to thank the whole team and all of you guys for being so supportive. We're going to enjoy this a little while longer before we head to Monza and hopefully do the same."

  • 14:46

    Podium interview - Sebastian Vettel: "It was a crazy race from where I started. After the first corner where a lot of cars went off, it was pretty crazy. Fortunately we came back with a fantastic strategy, it was the right decision to stay out, obviously I was keen to come in... but it was the right call. The car was quick in the race... after a poor start to the weekend, especially for you guys, it was good to come back. I had a lot of fun racing a lot of people, great to come second, great to be here on the podium. Looking forward to come back next year, this circuit is unbelievable."

  • 14:47

    Podium interview - Kimi Räikkönen: "It's nice to be back here, a lot of fans and good racing so we get to see some very nice racing today. Not the easiest day for me and the team, the car was not exactly to our liking but I was fighting to try and get the best out of it. We managed to get some good points for myself and the team. Not the easiest race, but that's how it goes and we'll try next week to do better."

  • 14:49
    Gap Analysis
  • 14:53
    Championship Standings
    1F Alonso164
    2S Vettel140
    3M Webber132
    4K Räikkönen131
    5L Hamilton117
  • 14:54
    Championship Standings
    1Red Bull272
  • 14:55

    The championship is now wide open, with Alonso's first DNF since... forever. With eight races remaining, the title battle is starting to hot up again!

  • 14:56

    Lotus failed to deliver today - questions will need to be asked of Grosjean post-race, and Kimi was lucky to come away with third. His call for more power during the race spoke volumes.

  • 14:57

    McLaren had mixed fortunes, Hamilton congratulated his teammate on the win but is desperate to match that pace for himself.

  • 14:57

    It's fair to say that everyone is looking forward to Monza, as almost all the drivers have something to prove!

  • 14:58

    I am definitely looking forward to it, hope you are too. Stay tuned to Sidepodcast and F1Minute for all the news and views, but it's only a week and F1 will be back on your screens before you know it!

  • 14:59

    Thanks for joining me today, fact fans, have a good Sunday afternoon!

All content in the series Belgium 2012

With an unusual grid headed up by Jenson Button, there's potential today for an exciting race - no matter what the weather does. The forecasts suggest sunshine, but there's no betting on what the microsystems above Spa will deliver. What we can look at is the action on track, with Mercedes giving themselves a lot of work to do, and both Red Bull drivers somewhat out of position. Hamilton wants to catch his teammate out front, while Button will be desperate for a win. It's all to play for in the Belgian Grand Prix!
Sauber Motorsport AG

Event start

13:00GMT +01:00

2 September 2012