Kimi Raikkonen won the Belgian Grand Prix today, for the fourth time in his career, beating pole sitter Giancarlo Fisichella into second place. The pair were never more than 1.1 seconds apart at any stage in a thrilling race, which turned on the restart on lap 5 after a safety car for first lap carnage.
Fisichella led through La Source but Raikkonen was able to pass him on the straight after Eau Rouge using his KERS power boost button to take a lead he would never lose. They both pitted together at each of their stops, but if Fisichella had been able to do one more lap in the second stint he would have been able to leap him. Sadly for him they were fuelled the same.
Fisichella was able to follow the Ferrari at less than a second gap for most of the race without the tyres or the temperature suffering. Despite scoring Force India’s best ever result and a lucrative one which takes them into 9th place in the constuctors’ championship ahead of Toro Rosso, he felt that he had the faster car and Raikkonen agreed.
“He was faster,” admitted Raikkonen. “We made a mistake to put the hard tyres at the first stop. He was able to push harder we kept him behind in the pit stops so it was hard for him to get past. I used the KERS to pass him at the restart and it was easy.”
“I could have won because I was quicker than him, ” said Fisichella. “But anyway second is a really good result, the car was really good, I was really impressed with the pace and I hope it stays like that.”
Sebastian Vettel finished third after starting in 8th position. He fought hard to pass cars through the pit stops and tracked down Robert Kubica before jumping him at the second stops for his podium place.
The start of the race saw a pile up which was triggered by Raikkonen going off track and rejoining into the path of Jarno Trulli. Grosjean rammed Button, while Hamilton and Algusuari collided too.
Button scored no points for the first time this season, but the damage to his championship points lead was minimal, as Barrichello took only two points off him to move to 16 behind, while Vettel narrowed his deficit from 25 to 19 points.
Before the race RAI TV said that Fisichella was going to be appointed the second driver for Ferrari at Monza and the rumour has gained strength all weekend as Fisichella’s results improved. Asked what he thought about the possibility of being team mates with Fisichella at Monza, Raikkonen said, ” It doesn’t matter who’s in the second car, it’s not my decision.”
Pos Driver Team Time
1. Raikkonen Ferrari (B) 1h23:50.995
2. Fisichella Force India-Mercedes (B) + 0.939
3. Vettel Red Bull-Renault (B) + 3.875
4. Kubica BMW Sauber (B) + 9.966
5. Heidfeld BMW Sauber (B) + 11.276
6. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes (B) + 32.763
7. Barrichello Brawn-Mercedes (B) + 35.461
8. Rosberg Williams-Toyota (B) + 36.208
9. Webber Red Bull-Renault (B) + 36.959
10. Glock Toyota (B) + 41.490
11. Sutil Force India-Mercedes (B) + 42.636
12. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) + 46.106
13. Nakajima Williams-Toyota (B) + 54.241
14. Badoer Ferrari (B) + 1:38.177
Fastest lap: Vettel, 1:47.263