Jenson Button enjoyed a ‘special’ pole to flag win in the Belgian Grand Prix as Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso crashed out in a dramatic start to the race.
The victory came in Button’s fiftieth race for McLaren and when interviewed afterwards, the 2009 world champion admitted it was a special win in what has been a frustrating year so far.
‘I still can’t get used to this – talking on the podium it’s quite strange,’ said Button.
‘This circuit is so special to most drivers, the way it flows and the history, so to get a victory here is very special in what has not been an easy year for me.
‘We can enjoy this for a little while before we head to Monza where we can hopefully do the same.’
Button led from start to finish in an impressive performance at Spa and escaped a nasty first corner collision which forced Hamilton, Alonso, Sergio Perez and Romain Grosjean out of the race.
Grosjean veered towards Hamilton right at the start, forcing the McLaren driver off the track as they fought for position going into the first corner, causing an almighty crash.
Luckily everyone escaped injury but Hamilton immediately remonstrated with Grosjean about his role in the incident.
Reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel, who had started tenth on the grid, finished second and afterward he admitted the first corner chaos had been a big distraction.
‘The start was not so good, and after the first corner where a lot of cars went off it was pretty crazy,’ said Vettel.
‘We made the right call to stay out (rather than pit a second time), and we picked up pace.
‘So after a poor start to the weekend it was good to come back and I had a lot of fun racing a lot of people.’
Following behind Button and Vettel was 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen, who did well to fend off Nico Hulkenberg, Felipe Massa and Mark Webber after experiencing some issues with his Lotus car.
‘It was not the easiest day for me and the team, the car was not exactly as to our liking but we got some good points for myself and the team,’ said Raikkonen.
The stewards are in for a busy debriefing as they have to investigate a number of incidents, not just the crash, on an eventful afternoon in Belgium.
Among other possible penalty sanctions include Pastor Maldonado’s jump start and a sharp manoeuvre by Michael Schumacher in front of Vettel as he entered the pits and two unsafe releases involving Caterham’s Heikki Kovalainen and Webber.