The old saying claims that race cannot be won on the first lap but it can certainly be lost. For Kimi Raikkonen
that rule does not apply, while for four drivers in the midfield the adage is completely appropriate. Kimi Raikkonen
started the 44-lap Belgian Grand Prix from sixth
position on the grid and used his KERS advantage to perfection to vault second on the run up to Les Combes on the first lap behind pole sitter Giancarlo Fisichella
. Behind Romain Grosjean triggered a four car accident at the same turn bringing out the safety car.
Leaning heavily on KERS once again at the restart, the 2007 world champion blasted by Fisichella to take the lead and despite the best efforts of the Force India driver, Raikkonen was able to maintain a slender advantage all the way to the chequered flag and record his fourth victory at the Spa Francorchamps circuit.
While Raikkonen recorded the first Ferrari victory of the season, the driver of the day was undoubtedly Fisichella who pushed all race long, keeping the gap below a second for most of the race before taking the chequered flag just 0.9 seconds adrift.
While Ferrari celebrates its first win of the season and Force India Mercedes revel in their first points position of the season and its first podium position, it was a so-so day for the championship leaders with Sebastian Vettel making best of a long first stint to move third by the chequered flag following the final pit stop. Jenson Button
started the race in 14th position and was tipped into a spin by rookie Romain Grosjean at Les Combes with Lewis Hamilton and Jaime Alguersuari also being eliminated in the incident. While Button may be struggling on track, his off track luck is holding up well as his main rival Rubens Barrichello
made a terrible getaway from fourth position on the grid and dropped to tail of the field while Mark Webber earned himself a drive through penalty to take him out of the points.
Robert Kubica got the jump on BMW Sauber team-mate Nick Heidfeld
at La Source on the first lap when the German racer lost momentum exiting the corner and the duo battled throughout the race to finish in fourth and fifth position ahead of Heikki Kovalainen who made best use of a one stop strategy to finish in sixth position from 15th on the grid.
Following his slow start with the anti-stall working overtime, Barrichello made an early stop behind the safety car and this put him back into points contention.
The Brazilian veteran raced hard and with three laps to go it seemed that his race could be over as smoke started to billow from the right hand bank of the Mercedes V8. Fortunately for Barrichello, the engine lasted the distance and he finished in seventh position to take two points, closing the gap to 16 to team-mate Button.
Nico Rosberg took the final points in his Williams Toyota to extend his scoring streak to eight straight races. Team-mate Kazuki Nakajima was 13th.
Mark Webber could have finished in third or fourth position as he fought with Heidfeld in the early laps of the race. However his first stop saw the Red Bull team release him into the path of the BMW Sauber driver and a drive through penalty soon followed. The Australian fought back but was out of the points in ninth.
Toyota could have secured a great points haul in Belgium, but the first lap saw second placed Trulli run into the back of the slow Heidfeld at the first turn and break the front wing. The Italian would run at the back before a fuel rig problem further hampered his race before an eventual retirement. Timo Glock also suffered a long first pit stop with a refuelling problem and this dropped Glock out of the points and tenth at the chequered flag.
Adrian Sutil started and finished in 11th position but had a strong race, making up positions after a pitstop on lap one after contact with Fernando Alonso
. The Force India racer took a new front wing and lapped close to the pace of the race leaders throughout the race.
Luca Badoer finished 14th and last in the second Ferrari after another forgettable race while Alonso was forced to retire after running as high as third ahead of his one and only stop. However, his lap one contact with Sutil had damaged the front left corner of the R29 leading the team to call him into retire.
The Raikkonen victory can be put down to the KERS advantage but behind the Belgian Grand Prix proved as entertaining as ever with battles throughout the field. Luckily for the championship leader, his rivals continue to make mistakes and he heads to Monza with his championship lead pretty much intact.