Raikkonen wins Belgium GP

Raikkonen wins Belgium GP

Ferrari Formula One driver Kimi Raikkonen of Finland celebrates after winning the Belgian Formula One Grand Prix in Spa-Francorchamps circuit, Belgium, Sunday. AP

Italian Giancarlo Fisichella, who started from pole, gave the Force India team their first-ever point by finishing a sensational second, while German Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel was third. Raikkonen needed one hour 23:50.995 seconds for the 44 laps of 7.004 kilometres each for a total distance of 308.052 km.

The safety car had to be deployed on the first lap after a multiple-car crash saw defending world champion Lewis Hamilton in a McLaren-Mercedes, championship leader Brawn GP's Jenson Button, the Toro Rosso of Jaime Alguersuari and Romain Grosjean in a Renault withdraw.

After the safety car withdrew, Raikkonen's Ferrari, which was driving with the speed-accelerating KERS system, took only a couple of laps to overtake Fisichella for the lead.
The Finn managed to hold onto the lead after the first fuel stop.

However, Red Bull's Mark Webber, who was in third place in the championship standings ahead of the race, lost valuable ground when he was given a drive-through penalty after being released by his pit crew too early and nearly crashed into BMW-Sauber's Nick Heidfeld.

Raikkonen and Fisichella were then trading times as there was very little to choose between their speeds as Renault's Fernando Alonso had climbed up to third. Toyota's Jarno Trulli, who started the race in second place had to retire in the 21st lap with engine trouble after having fallen behind through two bad pit stops.

Alonso's pit stop on the 24th lap then proved disastrous as pit crew struggled to change the left front tyre which had previously been damaged in a slight collision. The Spaniard rejoined the race in 14th place - far off the pace, but had to give up shortly afterwards with a wheel problem.

Fisichella and Raikkonen both pitted for the last time in the 30th lap with the Ferrari again managing to come out fractionally first, but then failing to open up any real gap.
Vettel took over the lead when the two leading cars went into the pits and the young German tried to use the open lane to his advantage to gain some ground on the leading cars.

He managed to come out ahead of BMW Robert Kubica in third after his final pit stop and then clawed his way closer to the two leading cars, but in the end simply ran out of time to overtake Fisichella or Raikkonen.

Kubica finished fourth ahead of his team-mate Heidfeld, while Heikki Kovalainen in a McLaren took sixth place from Brawn GP's Rubens Barrichello who managed to cross the finishing line even though his car was leaking oil for the final laps. The final championship point went to German Nico Rosberg in a Williams. Button maintains his lead with 72 points from team-mate Rubens Barrichello, who has 56 points. Vettel is third with 54 points. The next race is the Italian Grand Prix in Monza  September 13.

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