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Page last updated at 13:52 GMT, Sunday, 30 August 2009 14:52 UK

Belgian Grand Prix as it happened



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By Caroline Cheese

1450: Coverage, my friends, continues with the forum on the Red Button and streamed live on the website. I, however, stop here as Kimi Raikkonen celebrates being back on the top step for Ferrari. Wonder if Luca Badoer will join in the celebrations - if indeed he has finished the race in time. Monza next up on 13 September, when today's one-two may well be driving for the same team. Sweet.

1445: For those of you texting in asking whether Kimi Raikkonen's manoeuvre at the start of the race, when he ran wide, was illegal. He didn't actually pass anyone while he was off the track, so no.

Giancarlo Fisichella: "I was quicker than Kimi and I'm a little bit sad for that. We had exactly the same strategy. It's great because I finished second, just one second behind leader - but actually, we could have won the race."

Kimi Raikkonen after his fourth win at Spa: "It hasn't been an easy year for us. We made a big step in Barcelona but it wasn't enough. Getting the win now - it's quite a long time since I last won. My aim has been to win at least one race and for us to stay third in the championship. We weren't the fastest in the lap times, but overall we managed to keep everybody behind. Hopefully we can get some good results after this race."

1439: Despite crashing out on lap one and failing to score points for the first time this season, it's not been a complete disaster for Jenson Button. His lead from Rubens Barrichello is only cut by two to 16, while Seb Vettel leapfrogs Mark Webber into third. The German is 19 points off the lead.

Force India commercial director Ian Phillips "It was fantastic. It was the quickest car on the track. Fisi drove brilliantly. Everybody did a great job. The points are worth squillions to the team. It gives us at least one place in the championship."

1435: Some celebrations too at Force India. Incredible stuff from them today as they win their first points in F1.

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From Flash via tezt on 81111: "First time since 1982 there have been six different winners in consecutive races in the same season. Crazy year!"

1433: I think I saw a smile flicker across Kimi Raikkonen as he listens to the anthems. Wild celebrations in the Ferrari team, who taste victory for the first time in 2009.

Martin Brundle on BBC1: "Had it not been for the safety car, I don't think Kimi Raikkonen would have won this race. I think Giancarlo Fisichella had the pace to drive away."

1430: Luca Badoer is last... just the 47 odd seconds behind Kazuki Nakajima in front of him.

1428: Raikkonen wins for the first time since Spain in 2008. The other points go to: Fisichella, Seb Vettel, Robert Kubica, Nick Heidfeld, Heikki Kovalainen, Rubens Barrichello - who now has flames coming from the back of his Brawn - and Nico Rosberg.

Chequered flag

Lap 44: "Just an oil leak, so you just need to eke it out for one more lap," Brawn tell Rubinho. Kimi Raikkonen on the verge of victory, Giancarlo Fisichella on the verge of Force India's first points in F1.

Lap 43: Smoke coming from the back of Rubens Barrichello's Brawn - and that will be a sweet smell for Nico Rosberg behind him in the Williams.

Lap 42: Rubens Barrichello is all over the back of Heikki Kovalainen, but can't get past the Kers-powered McLaren... but what's this? Barrichello has backed right off. "Engine, engine, be careful, back off," comes a desperate message from Brawn. Uh-oh.

Lap 40: Mark Webber is 0.8 seconds behind eighth-placed Nico Rosberg. Rubens Barrichello is half a second back from sixth-placed Heikki Kovalainen. Kimi Raikkonen's lead over Giancarlo Fisichella is still 0.8 seconds. Stunning performance from the Force India today.

Lap 39: Forgot to say: Luca Badoer is last.

Lap 38: Six laps remaining and Sebastian Vettel has just set the fastest lap of the race from third. Can he catch the leaders? Robert Kubica is fourth ahead of Nick Heidfeld, Heikki Kovalainen, Rubens Barrichello and Nico Rosberg. Mark Webber just outside the points at the moment.

Martin Brundle on BBC1: "Giancarlo Fisichella is not going to take a 50-50 risk is he? And with the Kers on the Ferrari, where can he overtake anyway?"

Lap 36: Sebastian Vettel pits at the end of the previous lap and comes out in third, overtaking both BMWs thanks to that stop. But this isn't too shabby for Jenson Button. Mark Webber is ninth, Rubens Barrichello seventh.

Lap 35: Mark Webber pits from sixth, and emerges ahead of Timo Glock in ninth. Fernando Alonso says he thinks his front left wheel was damaged in an incident, hence the struggles to change the tyre and his subsequent retirement.

Lap 34: Nico Rosberg has pitted now. The gap between Kimi Raikkonen and Giancarlo Fisichella is 0.7 seconds, as leader Sebastian Vettel puts the hammer down at the front. Heikki Kovalainen is only one-stopping, apparently.

Lap 33: Sebastian Vettel leads the race for Red Bull - but he still has to stop again. Nick Heidfeld has pitted from second in the BMW.

Jarno Trulli: "At the first corner, Heidfeld was pulling away and at one stage he hesitated suddenly so I touched him with my front wing and damaged it. I had to pit to change it. But eventually, the engineer saw there was something wrong and I had to come in."

Lap 31: Crucial moment. Kimi Raikkonen and Giancarlo Fisichella in fact come into the pits at the same time... Ferrari get Raikkonen out first and the Finn maintains the lead from the Italian.

Lap 30: Ted Kravitz reports that Force India owner Vijay Mallya can't bring himself to watch from the pit wall. They expect Raikkonen to come in one lap after Fisichella. "They seem quite happy with second - and why wouldn't they be?" adds TK. Robert Kubica pits from third.

Lap 29: Martin Brundle reckons Heikki Kovalainen will have to stop again as he hasn't used both tyre compounds yet - which you have to when it's dry. The lead for Kimi Raikkonen is still only a second. Only 13.8 seconds separate the first five.

BBC Radio 5 Live
Anthony Davidson on BBC 5 Live "If Kimi Raikkonen pits before Giancarlo Fisichella then Fisichella is going to win this race."

Lap 27: Heikki Kovalainen has made his one and only stop. Rubens Barrichello comes in for stop number two. Kov now 10th.

Lap 26: Fernando Alonso is coasting now, and the gloomy message comes over the radio that he's to return to the pits for good. Neither Renault will finish the race. At the front, Kimi Raikkonen leads by 1 measly second from Giancarlo Fisichella.

Lap 25: And is this the reason for Renault's problem? We get a replay of the start and Alonso's collision with Adrian Sutil at the first corner which may have damaged that front left.

Lap 24: Fernando Alonso comes in for his only stop of the race from third. BUT IT'S A DISASTER FOR RENAULT. They can't get the left front tyre on and Alonso's race is ruined. He's 14th - although obviously Luca Badoer is still last.

Lap 23: Jarno Trulli's retirement means the inevitable has happened: Luca Badoer is rock bottom. Force India respond to Ferrari's message to Kimi Raikkonen by telling Giancarlo Fisichella he needs a "tenth per lap". He couldn't... could he?

Lap 22: And Jarno Trulli becomes the fifth retirement of the race. Ferrari tell Kimi Raikkonen he needs to pull out a gap because they suspect Giancarlo Fisichella could be stopping on the same lap, or even going longer.

Lap 21: Surely some mistake... Luca Badoer does the fastest first section of the race. Jarno Trulli comes in for his second stop from last place, and one of the Toyota tyre men isn't ready and the fuel rig gets stuck. Disastrous race for Trulli, who had been hopeful of a first race win for his team.

Lap 20: Renault tell Fernando Alonso: "If you can, save some fuel behind Fisi, don't lose any time." Alonso is third but yet to stop. Kimi Raikkonen stretches his lead over Giancarlo Fisichella to a second.

Lap 19: Kimi Raikkonen leads again, with Giancarlo Fisichella 0.9 seconds behind. Stewards are investigating new boys Romain Grosjean and Jaime Alguersuari after their first-lap collisions with Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton.

Lap 18: Giancarlo Fisichella is catching Kimi Raikkonen. Fernando Alonso in fourth in the only Renault left in the race - but hasn't stopped yet. Red Bull have only just told Mark Webber about his drive-through. Nico Rosberg into the pits now...

Lap 17: Vettel does stop now, leaving Nico Rosberg in the lead. The Williams is yet to stop. Kimi Raikkonen is second, ahead of Giancarlo Fisichella, who have both made their first stop.

Lap 16: Stewards confirm they're looking at that near-miss between Webber and Heidfeld - and the Aussie does receive a drive-through penalty for an "unsafe release". Sebastian Vettel leads the Belgian Grand Prix, but he hasn't stopped yet.

Lap 15: Martin Brundle is pretty sure Mark Webber will get a drive-through for that - but the Aussie has now let Nick Heidfeld back past him.

Lap 14: Busy pit lane as Kimi Raikkonen, Giancarlo Fisichella, Mark Webber and Nick Heidfeld come in. Webber pulls out in front of Heidfeld - and he might be in trouble there.

Lap 12: Nick Heidfeld sets the quickest lap of the race in the BMW. Toyota had a problem with their fuel rig and Timo Glock emerges in 13th after his first stop.

Lap 10: Not great viewing for Brawn this. Button out, Barrichello 12th. The Red Bulls are fifth and seventh. McLaren tell Heikki Kovalainen that if he keeps up the current pace, he's "on target for sixth". Kubica and Glock into the pits from third and sixth.

Jenson Button: "I got a very good start. I got past Lewis, and obviously Rubens had his problem. I made up like four places. As we were going down the straight through turn five, Grosjean out-braked himself. Frustrating to be taken out like that. Mark is up in fifth and that's the biggest problem [for my title chances]."

Lewis Hamilton: "It's just one of those days. I got off to a really bad start, the anti-stall kicked in. I tried to recover but I got hit at the first corner and lost a bit of my front wing. Then I saw Jenson and backed off to avoid it all, but got hit from behind."

Lap eight: Jarno Trulli, Adrian Sutil and Rubens Barrichello have all made their first stops. Trulli is running last, presumably having been caught up in some of that first-lap mayhem. "Attack Badoer!" comes the cry from the Toyota garage. "You're joking!" is the reply. "It's too quick on the straight."

Lap seven: What of Rubens Barrichello? The Brawn driver didn't get away off the start, almost stalling, and he is back in 13th - although he has overtaken Luca Badoer. Badoer's still not last though and has been told by Ferrari engineer Rob Smedley he should have a tyre advantage over those around him. Can he profit? Unlikely.

Lap six: Sebastian Vettel has overtaken Nico Rosberg for seventh place. Not sure if that was by order or not. Kimi Raikkonen lighting up the leaderboard with the best lap of the race so far.

Lap five: Safety car coming in. Can Giancarlo Fisichella hold off the Kers-powered Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen? No. The Finn takes first place through Eau Rouge and into Les Combes. Meanwhile, Italian television channel Rai are reporting that Fisichella will definitely race for Ferrari at the next race in Monza.

Lap four: Seb Vettel is eighth, but Red Bull believe he was overtaken by Nico Rosberg while the yellows were out so they're asking race control for permission for Vettel to re-take his fellow German.

Lap three: So Jenson Button will not score any points for the first time this season. Kimi Raikkonen made a sensational start, deliberately running wide at the start and using his Kers after coming back on to move up to second. The Finn is still going despite that collision with Robert Kubica. Safety car still out. AND LUCA BADOER ISN'T LAST!

Lap one: Right, trying to work out what happened there. Kimi Raikkonen ran wide and was hit by Robert's Kubica's BMW - but the pile-up was caused further back when Jenson Button spun after being hit by Romain Grosjean, and Hamilton, Grosjean, and Jaime Alguersuari are all out.

Safety car
Lap one: MASSIVE PILE-UP! And the safety car is out. Kimi Raikkonen off at Les Combes... but further back Jenson Button spins after being hit by Romain Grosjean and Lewis Hamilton is taken out by Jaime Alguersuari...

1304: GO GO GO!

1303: According to Jonathan Legard, most are on the harder tyres, except Fisi, Barrichello, Kubica and Raikkonen.

From Estesark on 606: "Belgian chips are the best in the world, ESPECIALLY when they're served with mayonnaise."

1300: And they're off! (On the parade lap)

1256: Images of chips - or fries, probably - being scooped into a cone. They look very tasty until they are joined by a large dollop of mayonnaise. Someone show Belgium where the Tommy K is...

1254: Eddie Jordan refuses to make a prediction for the race - "I want an ex-Jordan driver to win, I don't mind which" - while DC plumps for Kimi Raikkonen, winner of three of the last four races at Spa.

1250: This has undoubtedly been my favourite build-up to a race yet. MC Hammer provides the music for the fuel-adjusted grid. Why? I have no idea...

1247: Brundle collared Jenson Button on his way to the toilet, and the Englishman explained he was late on the grid because his radio wasn't working. It never rains...

1246: Anthem time - and it's a JAZZ version of the Belgian tune! Cool...

1244: Rubens Barrichello is the coolest man on the grid, sitting leaning up against the advertising boards at the side. Is he just looking to make up points on Jenson Button. "It's in the back of my mind. But you've got to go out there and try to win the race. If you're too cautious, I don't think it works."

1242: Nick Heidfeld sporting sunglasses almost as big as his face. He says: "We have usually better start than the Toyotas. We're on the clean side of the grid. I hope to get to Jarno Trulli before turn one."

1238: Grid-walk time, and if I start to describe what Martin Brundle is wearing, I may never stop. I shall summarise with one word: leather. Jarno Trulli is his first victim. Can he win the race? "Yes, absolutely yes."

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt tweeting from Spa: "Tyre update: The mediums give more stable performance on the corners which means those starting on softs on heavy fuel may struggle."

1236: On BBC1, an Open University-style piece from David Coulthard on tyres, which is interrupted by occasional images of a load of tyres bouncing slowly along a track. Or I may have just nodded off and had a surreal dream.

1235: Current weather conditions, as tweeted by Sarah Holt: "It's sunny with patches of cloud. 15C outside but 32C on the track. The word is no rain is expected. But that may change..."

1231: Jarno Trulli admitted Toyota's sudden turn of pace is a "mystery" - but if he can somehow turn it into a first race win for the team, it could help Toyota make up their mind about their F1 future. The Japanese carmaker are rumoured to be considering pulling out of F1. There are also concerns about Force India, who are reported to be struggling financially.

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Spa: "Zut alors, I'm late for the live today Caroline. Sorry, I've just driven back from the paddock to BBC HQ - it's so far away that I have to be chauffeured to and fro all day by some friendly Belgians. Luca Badoer was up to some hi-jinks in the paddock, jumping into shot on a TV interview, but whether he will still be in the Ferrari at the next GP in Monza remains a hot topic. Italian Giancarlo Fisichella and most recently Toro Rosso's Swiss star Sebastien Buemi have been tipped to replace him… we await with interest. Seems like plenty of fans in Spa were expecting Michael Schumacher to back in the red car judging by the "Welcome back Schumacher… Woohoo!" sign on the way up to the circuit and the 'Schumacher Comeback' baseball hats on sale. Oh dear."

1223: If you're watching BBC1, I feel it's only right to warn you you're about to see Eddie Jordan as you've hopefully never seen him before - in his swimming trunks at Rubens Barrichello's house.

Giancarlo Fisichella, speaking to David Coulthard on BBC1: "When you do pole position with a good car, it's great, but when you do it like [Saturday], with not a winning car, with a small team, it's just like something very amazing, very unusual."

Text in your views on 81111
From Bee, London, via text on 81111: "Would it be possible/likely that Ferrari box Badoer early in the race on the basis of a 'mechanical failure'? This would avoid any more embarrassment, costs and danger to the other drivers."

1217: The all-important fashion update: shades of grey for Coulthard and Humphrey. Maroon cords (I think) and maroon-striped shirt for Jordan. No real surprises there. Where do you go to buy maroon cords I wonder...

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt on Twitter: "How low can Luca Badoer go? He's dropped five grid places for changing a gearbox but as he's at the back how far can he go? Someone said Brussels."

David Coulthard stands at Eau Rouge corner at Spa
DC watches the action at Eau Rouge
David Coulthard on the challenge of Eau Rouge: "It's blind faith. You have no idea what's coming on the top of the hill. If that's not exciting for any driver then I don't know what is. The difficult part of the corner is just as it starts to rise up as the car is experiencing both lateral load [G-Forces] and compression and you have no idea what's coming up over the peak. But the historic track has been modified now; there is more run off on the left and the barriers has been moved out to the right which means the consequences of going full throttle over the hill are less than they were. It still seems unbelievably fast now I'm stood watching the cars instead of racing".

1210: Said coverage under way now. Sickly lot, that telly bunch. Jake Humphrey has been complaining of a throat infection, and now Lee McKenzie has a cold. That's the perils of the international jetset life for you. Grrr. Mercifully, the BBC website's representative in Spa, Sarah Holt, remains healthy. She spent some of yesterday with David Coulthard at Eau Rouge, which doesn't sound like a bad way to pass a couple of hours. Result to follow…

1206: If you are in the UK and reading this on the website, manually refresh your page immediately and you'll be ready for the start of the BBC1 coverage at 1210 BST.

Text in your views on 81111
From James, Kent, via text on 81111: "This is Nick Heidfeld's best chance to win his first race in a long time, I just hope he has luck on his side!"

Get involved on 606
From inthepipe on 606: "I've said it before and I'll say it again. The Brawns are better in the hot weather - the next five races will be hot. Button and Barrichello will be top five for these races. The rest of the field are going to finish all over the place - so none of the challengers are going to be able to make up the points on Button."

1158: Not sure anyone wants to know the physics of what happens to a rabbit hit by an F1 car...

From fettmaster on Twitter: "Does anyone know the physics of what happens to a rabbit hit by an F1 car?"

From BritJamez on Twitter: "Please can we hide Badoer's car now so we don't even have to see, or even think of him all day?!"

1153: The weather people forecast a cloudy but dry day, with a temperature of 17C. I await the real-life situation from BBC Sport's Sarah Holt. Not sure we even need rain today though...

1151: How I'll miss these fuel-adjusted grids when they're gone. Such a genuine thrill when those fuel loads drop in the inbox... Anyway, I summarise thusly: Sebastian Vettel has a full tank and so jumps from eighth to second, Rubens Barrichello has a dribble and drops from fourth to ninth, Jarno Trulli was in fact the quickest man in qualifying, but Kimi Raikkonen looks to be in with a decent shout of victory. Comprende?

Giancarlo Fisichella on his qualifying performance: "I hit a rabbit during morning practice and damaged the front wing. My mechanics said: 'In England, rabbits are good luck.' Maybe they're right."

1142: It's a brave man/woman who predicts the outcome of the race - which gets under way at 1300 BST as if you need reminding - but you can do so and so much more via text on 81111, on 606 or even on Twitter.

1138: No, no, don't panic EJ, the threads remain safely under wraps. Webber, Barrichello and Hamilton were of course reacting to an astonishing qualifying session yesterday, in which Giancarlo Fisichella surprised everyone including himself by snatching a first ever pole for Force India, and Toyota and BMW also finished well up the grid. Indeed, the only predictable thing about yesterday was Luca Badoer ending his session on the back of a motorbike after parking his Ferrari in a tyre wall.

1130: Mark Webber described it as "bizarre", Rubens Barrichello called it the "biggest surprise of the year", while Lewis Hamilton concluded: "I really can't explain this." I can only think they must have had a sneak preview of the outfit Eddie Jordan's planning to wear today.

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see also
Raikkonen wins exciting Spa duel
30 Aug 09 |  Formula 1
Belgian Grand Prix photos
30 Aug 09 |  Formula 1
Belgian Grand Prix race results
27 Aug 09 |  Results
Fisichella on shock Belgium pole
29 Aug 09 |  Formula 1
Belgian GP qualifying as it happened
29 Aug 09 |  Formula 1
Hamilton on top as Button toils
28 Aug 09 |  Formula 1
Belgian GP practice as it happened
28 Aug 09 |  Formula 1

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