Formula One

JENSON BUTTON DOMINATES THE BELGIAN GRAND PRIX

ROMAIN GROSJEAN PENALIZED WITH A ONE RACE BAN.

GREAT PODIUM FINISH FOR VETTEL AND KIMI.

FERNANDO ALONSO CONTINUES TO LEAD THE DRIVERS CHAMPIONSHIP WITH 24 POINTS.

“This is a great weekend for the team, and for me as well.

It is a good 25 points, and if we can keep fighting for victories like this there is still a small chance I can fight for that championship.

“But going to Monza, I don’t think about the championship. We go there to do best job we can and bring back home most points we can.

As I said before the race, it is a massive long shot to win the title, but today proves you can claw back 25 points very, very quickly

We were not sure what to do with strategy, whether it would be one or two, or if some thought it was three stops.

When Nico got into second it did help a little bit. I could feel the car and not push too hard, but at that point I still didn’t think it would be one stop.

And then on lap 12 the tyres started working. The car was really consistent and I could drive and I could control degradation of tyres. [It’s a] great feeling to go so much further than everyone except for Sebastian.”

SEBASTIAN VETTEL, Finish Position: 2nd, Start Position: 10th

“I’m happy with that today. Qualifying wasn’t as we planned it to be yesterday, but today the car seemed to be back to as we know it. The start was poor; I think I was the only one not to gain positions through the first corners, so we had to fight our way back, which wasn’t easy, but I enjoyed it a lot. The strategy worked perfectly for us and we had the pace, which was the best thing about today. The car worked well and we didn’t struggle. Congratulations to Jenson and Mclaren on the win. We’ve got a lot of back to backs this season and I’m looking forward to Monza later this week. We had a great race there last year – it’s always a great atmosphere and we’ll be pushing hard.”

Kimi Räikkönen, P3, E20-05
“I made a pretty okay start, similar to Jenson [Button]’s and I overtook the Sauber. I saw a lot of action in the mirrors but luckily it missed me. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the pace today. My car wasn’t great all weekend and we couldn’t find a competitive setup. On new tyres it was okay, but we had to use a lot of downforce to prevent sliding. That meant we were very slow on the straight. You could see this in my battle with Michael [Schumacher]. Each time I passed him he just went straight back past down the Kemmel straight. My only chance was to go for a gap at Eau Rouge. Luckily it paid off and I managed to stay ahead of him that time. We didn’t have the pace today and it wasn’t an easy race, so P3 was not too bad.”

Romain Grosjean, DNF, E20-04
“When your life is all about racing, not being allowed to attend an event is probably one of the worst experiences you can go through. That said, I do respect the verdict of the Stewards. I got a good start – despite being disturbed by Pastor’s early launch, which I think was the case for everybody at the front – and was heading into the first corner when the rear of my car made contact with the front of Lewis [Hamilton]’s. I honestly thought I was ahead of him and there was enough room for both cars ; I didn’t deliberately try to squeeze him or anything like that. This first corner situation obviously isn’t what anyone would want to happen and thankfully no-one was hurt in the incident. I wish to apologise to the drivers who were involved and to their fans. I can only say that today is part of a process that will make me a better driver.”

Eric Boullier, Team Principal
“It’s been a tough day for the team but we fully respect the Stewards’ decision. Romain won’t be driving at Monza but he still has our full support. We’ll announce the name of his replacement a bit later in the week. As far as the race is concerned, unfortunately we didn’t have the pace for Kimi to challenge Jenson [Button] or Sebastian [Vettel]. We had to look closely at the strategy during the race to see if we should switch to one stop, but in the end a podium finish still brings us some good points. Of course, everyone talks about ‘the win’, and this is something we all want. We were not fast enough for it today, so we all need to keep working hard for this goal.”

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
19.  Karthikeyan   HRT-Cosworth               +        30
20.  Maldonado     Williams-Renault           +         5
21.  Perez         Sauber-Ferrari             +         1
22.  Alonso        Ferrari                    +         1
23.  Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes           +         1
24.  Grosjean      Lotus-Renault              +         1

GP2

Kral cruises to Spa sprint victory-
Czech picks up maiden win with dominant drive…
Josef Kral has claimed his maiden GP2 victory with a storming start and mature drive to claim the win in this morning’s sprint race in Spa Francorchamps, winning by five seconds from Felipe Nasr, who stole second from James Calado at the final corner.
The Czech driver’s victory was set up at the start: front row starters Nasr and Julian Leal were slow to get off the line and had no response to Kral’s flying getaway, with Calado following him inside and through at turn one. They stayed ahead of the mayhem behind when Johnny Cecotto spun Max Chilton into Nathanaël Berthon’s path, while Giedo van der Garde was squeezed by Davide Valsecchi and Leal at the exit.
Up the hill and Calado was lucky to stay on track when he and Luiz Razia came together: the Series leader spun and his title rival Valsecchi had to take to the grass to avoid him, with the pair soon back in the pits for a check up, along with most of the first corner incident drivers.
Further back and Esteban Gutiérrez was determined to make up for yesterday’s bad luck as he worked his way through the field: P8 at the end of the first lap, he soon disposed of Marcus Ericsson, Rio Haryanto and Stéphane Richelmi, but a run up the inside of Leal ended in heartbreak for the pair as they came together and spun, undoing all their good work.
Ericsson and Fabio Leimer were there to pick up the pieces, with Leimer in particular looking very committed as he ran around the outside of Stefano Coletti at Blanchimont in one of the braver moves of the season. As the laps ran down Ericsson put himself right on the back of a late developing squabble between Calado and Nasr, and was clearly hoping for his second podium of the weekend.
When the flag dropped it was Kral who took all the plaudits for a mature drive to victory, but all eyes were looking behind the Addax to see what would happen. Into the bus stop Calado held position, but Nasr got inside him at the exit and outdragged the Lotus driver to the line, with Ericsson following them home in fourth. Leimer finished a lonely fifth ahead of Richelmi and Haryanto, with Coletti mugging Leal on the last lap for the final point.
The result means that it is all even at the top of the title standings, with Razia and Valsecchi both on 204 points, ahead of Calado on 160 and Gutiérrez on 150, with van der Garde on 141 points and Chilton on 124, while Lotus GP tops the team’s title race on 310 points from DAMS on 289 and Arden International with 208 points as they all look towards the Monza event in just one week’s time.

GP3

Laine victorious in thriller at Spa
MW Arden’s Matias Laine secures maiden win in Spa Race 2
We have a new race winner in GP3! Matias Laine becomes the eighth different winner in the 2012 GP3 Series season, taking his debut victory at Round 7, Race 2 at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit. Antonio Felix Da Costa (Carlin) and Conor Daly (Lotus GP) finished second and third in a thrilling encounter.
The legendary Spa circuit did not disappoint with excellent racing throughout the field with cars five abreast whilst they fought for position. Lewis Williamson started from reverse pole with Daly alongside, but it was Laine who made the best getaway from 4th on the grid to grab P1. Daly and the Scotsman were wheel to wheel with the Status GP driver holding off the challenge of the American at the tricky first few corners until Daly got through to go second. This didn’t last long with Williamson reclaiming P2 as the two were stuck like glue to each other in the early part of the race.
There was contact on lap one between Lotus GP teammates Aaro Vainio, Daniel Abt and Tio Ellinas with the Finn being sent into a spin which dropped him back outside of the top 20 and cost him a valuable opportunity to try and close the points margin with Series leader Evans. Ellinas later stopped at turn 9 after contact.
With the slipstreaming at the Spa, positions were changing every lap and it was Felix Da Costa in fifth who was trying to pull a move to pass Evans in P4. At this point Laine led the race by 2.4 seconds whilst the action continued behind him. The Carlin driver passed the New Zealander as five cars were side by side, truly spectacular and the two made brief contact. Williamson and Evans then fell back as the race went on, whilst William Buller, Patric Niederhauser and Abt moved forward. Another man on the move was Alex Fontana who was making sure he was in the mirrors of Felix Da Costa at the midway point of the race.
MW Arden’s David Fumanelli and Marlon Stockinger (Status Grand Prix) made contact at turn 19, the Italian driver pitted a few laps later and retired. Felix Da Costa set his sights on a rostrum finish, firstly picking off Williamson and then Daly with two laps left but there was nothing he could do about race leader Laine who won the race by 2 and half seconds. Williamson was caught by Abt, Niederhauser and Fontana on the final few laps to eventually finish P7 after starting on the reverse pole. It wasn’t Evans’ day, eventually coming home in P15 after dropping back through the field and therefore picking up zero points.
The final eight finished with Laine crossing the chequered flag first, Felix Da Costa in second and pocketing the fastest lap yet again for good measure and earning an extra two points with Daly in P3. Jenzer Motorsport’s Fontana picked up his best result of his GP3 career with fourth position, ahead of Abt who recovered from his earlier spin. Niederhauser was sixth after starting 11th, Williamson P7 and Buller collecting the last point on offer in eighth after starting P13 after carving his way through the pack.
Ocean Racing’s Technology Robert Cregan with withdrawn from the Race after a crash yesterday in Race 1.
The championship is going down to the wire with Felix Da Costa having closed the gap to Series leader Mitch Evans to 21.5 points with two races remaining, with the MW Arden ace now on 147.5. Vainio has now dropped to P3 in the standings, 3 points back off the Portuguese driver with Abt in fourth, all four still have a shot of taking the GP3 Series crown. Lotus GP head the Team Standings on 329.5, MW Arden on 276.5 and Carlin on 164.
The GP3 Series returns in just a few days at Monza, Italy for the final round of the 2012 season on 07-09 September. Make sure you don’t miss it as the Drivers Champion will be decided and crowned in Italy, as well as the Teams Standings, it will be one special finale to celebrate a fantastic racing season.