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Page last updated at 13:31 GMT, Sunday, 30 August 2009 14:31 UK

Raikkonen wins exciting Spa duel

Kimi Raikkonen

Highlights - Raikkonen wins in Belgium

By Chris Whyatt

Kimi Raikkonen managed to keep Force India's Giancarlo Fisichella at bay to clinch Ferrari's first win of 2009 at an incident-packed Belgian Grand Prix.

World champion Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button crashed out early on, although the Brawn man's championship lead was cut by only two points to 16.

The incident saw the safety car come out, after which Raikkonen used his power-boost button to take the lead.

Red Bull's title-chasing Sebastian Vettel finished in third at Spa.

The German started in eighth but posted the fastest lap of the race and leapfrogged team-mate Mark Webber in the drivers' championship into third place behind Button's team-mate Rubens Barrichello, who limped over the line in seventh place with a Mercedes engine that was close to blowing up.

BMW Sauber drivers Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld finished fourth and fifth respectively ahead of McLaren's Heikki Kovalainen.

Williams's Nico Rosberg grabbed a point in eighth while Webber's own title bid was undermined by his second successive ninth-place finish, the Australian suffering after taking a drive-through penalty following an unsafe release from the pits as he almost collided into Heidfeld.

Force India secured their historic first points in Formula 1 with Fisichella's result as he finished less than one second behind Raikkonen in dry, warm conditions in the Ardennes forest.

Jenson Button spins

Button and Hamilton crash out at Spa

But the concertina-effect crash at the back of the chasing pack on lap one - in which Renault's Romain Grosjean appeared to clip Button causing Hamilton and Toro Rosso's Jaime Alguersuari to also hit the tyre barriers at Les Combes - handicapped the Italian.

After the safety car went back in on lap five following the incident over which no action was taken following an investigation, Raikkonen easily accelerated past Fisichella out of Eau Rouge using a quick push of his Kers (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) button.

From that point on Fisichella pushed the Finn all the way and although he was the quicker driver he could not get ahead of Raikkonen over the remaining 39 laps.

"We were probably not the fastest in lap times but we managed to keep everybody behind," said 2007 world champion Raikkonen. "And that's enough."

I was quicker than Kimi. He only took me because of Kers... and I'm a little bit sad for that

Giancarlo Fisichella

Fisichella said it was a "great result" for a Force India team which caused an enormous shock on Saturday by qualifying on pole, but that he felt a tinge of regret at how the race panned out.

"Actually, I was quicker than Kimi," he added. "He only took me because of Kers at the beginning and I'm a little bit sad for that because I was keeping pace and on exactly same strategy race.

"Second is amazing but actually I am a little disappointed because I could have won."

Raikkonen started sixth but made an immediate charge, swinging past the virtually-still Barrichello off the grid before going very wide into the run-off area at La Source to give himself room to use his Kers to speed past the BMW Sauber cars and move into second behind pole-sitter Fisichella.

But then came the crash, which changed the course of the race and also caused Button's first retirement of the season.

While the stumbling championship leader - who has now not finished on the podium in the past five races - stopped short of blaming Grosjean, he did question why the rookie French driver braked so late through the corner and insisted the incident was not his fault.

"It was an avoidable accident," he said. "It's really frustrating."

"I suppose it is [relatively] good that it happened here. Hopefully we can get back on track in the next race."

Kubica was close to landing a podium place for BMW Sauber, who have announced their intention to pull out of the sport at the end of the season, but Germany's Vettel slipped ahead of the Pole as he came out of the pits following the second stop in his Red Bull on lap 35.

Kimi Raikkonen

Raikkonen stays cool after Spa win

"As long as we keep scoring big points and gaining on the others, that's what we need," said 21-year-old Vettel, who won the Chinese and British grands prix this season.

Red Bull's other title-chaser Webber finished in ninth after a frustrating race in which he was hit with a drive-through penalty after

Spa proved a disaster for Toyota's Jarno Trulli, who started next to Fisichella on the grid but had to pit early for repairs after getting caught up in the first-lap incident before retiring 21 laps in.

The same fate befell two-time world champion Fernando Alonso, who was in points contention before his Renault experienced trouble with its problematic front-left wheel faring after 26 laps.

Raikkonen's win, his first in 25 races, is characteristic of a season which is becoming increasingly open - the past six races have now been won by six different drivers - as lucky Button continues to cling on to his championship lead.



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see also
Belgian Grand Prix race results
27 Aug 09 |  Results
Fisichella closes on Ferrari move
31 Aug 09 |  Formula 1
Button and Hamilton crash out at Spa
30 Aug 09 |  Formula 1
Belgian Grand Prix photos
30 Aug 09 |  Formula 1
Belgian Grand Prix as it happened
30 Aug 09 |  Formula 1
Button shrugs off Spa title blow
31 Aug 09 |  Formula 1
Belgian Grand Prix qualifying
27 Aug 09 |  Results
Belgian GP qualifying as it happened
29 Aug 09 |  Formula 1
Belgian Grand Prix photos
29 Aug 09 |  Formula 1


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