Spa-Francochamps, Belgium – McLaren's Jenson Button won the Belgian Grand Prix from pole position on Sunday after a first corner carnage ended the hopes of team mate Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari's Formula One leader Fernando Alonso.
Button enjoyed an untroubled afternoon in the Belgian sunshine, taking the chequered flag 13.6 seconds clear of Red Bull's double world champion Sebastian Vettel, who won from pole last year.
Finland's Kimi Raikkonen took third place for Lotus.
Alonso, who started the race with a 40 point lead over Red Bull's Australian Mark Webber, had hoped for a record-equalling 24th successive points finish but that was shattered in a cloud of carbon-fibre after a matter of metres.
His lead was cut to 24 points, with Vettel moving up to second overall. Webber dropped to third, 32 points adrift of Alonso.
The Spaniard could at least consider himself fortunate not to have been hit on the head by the flying Lotus of Frenchman Romain Grosjean, whose car took off after colliding with Hamilton.
“It was a good start, then a big boom. I have not seen the image, but the main thing is we are all OK. I do not know if I moved over too quickly,” said Grosjean.
Sauber's Sergio Perez also retired on the spot in a miserable afternoon for the Swiss team after a Saturday qualifying session that had promised so much with their cars on the front two rows.
Kamui Kobayashi, only the second Japanese driver to start from the front row, was also caught up in the first lap mayhem and went to the back of the field and finished 13th.
Button's 14th career win, and first at the classic Spa circuit, came in his 50th race for McLaren.
“This circuit is such a special one to most drivers, the way it flows and the history, so to get a light to flag victory is very special,” said the 2009 champion after his second win of the season.
Force India's German Nico Hulkenberg came fourth, his team's best result of the season, ahead of Ferrari's Felipe Massa and Webber.
Seven-times world champion Michael Schumacher marked his 300th grand prix with seventh place for Mercedes after running as high as second at the circuit where he began his F1 career in 1991 and took his first win in 1992.
Toro Rosso pair Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo were eighth and ninth in a strong turnaround for the little Italian team ahead of their home race at Monza next weekend.
The stewards were given plenty to ponder with a stack of incidents remaining under investigation and to be resolved after the race.
They included what looked like a clear jumped start from sixth place by Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado's Williams and the unsafe release from the pits of Webber's Red Bull.
Schumacher's cut across Vettel to get into the pitlane was also on their list. – Reuters
GRAND PRIX RESULTS
1. Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren 1:29:08.530
2. Sebastian Vettel (Germany) RedBull - Renault +00:13.624
3. Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Lotus - Renault 00:25.334
4. Nico Huelkenberg (Germany) Force India - Mercedes 00:27.843
5. Felipe Massa (Brazil) Ferrari 00:29.845
6. Mark Webber (Australia) RedBull - Renault 00:31.244
7. Michael Schumacher (Germany) Mercedes 00:53.374
8. Jean-Eric Vergne (France) Toro Rosso - Ferrari 00:58.865
9. Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Toro Rosso - Ferrari 01:02.982
10. Paul Di Resta (Britain) Force India - Mercedes 01:03.783
11. Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes 01:05.111
12. Bruno Senna (Brazil) Williams - Renault 01:11.529
13. Kamui Kobayashi (Japan) Sauber - Ferrari 01:56.119
14. Vitaly Petrov (Russia) Caterham - Renault 1 lap
15. Timo Glock (Germany) Marussia - Cosworth 1 lap
16. Charles Pic (France) Marussia - Cosworth 1 lap
17. Heikki Kovalainen (Finland) Caterham - Renault 1 lap
18. Pedro de la Rosa (Spain) HRT - Cosworth 1 lap
r. Narain Karthikeyan (India) HRT - Cosworth 15 laps
r. Pastor Maldonado (Venezuela) Williams - Renault 40 laps
r. Romain Grosjean (France) Lotus - Renault 44 laps
r. Lewis Hamilton (Britain) McLaren 44 laps
r. Fernando Alonso (Spain) Ferrari 44 laps
r. Sergio Perez (Mexico) Sauber - Ferrari 44 laps
(rank: r = retired, nc = not classified)
Fastest Lap: Bruno Senna (Brazil) - Williams - Renault, 1:52.822, lap 43.