SPA, Belgium (AP) — Jenson Button coasted to his second victory of the season on Sunday at the Belgian Grand Prix after Formula One championship leader Fernando Alonso was sent flying off the track following Romain Grosjean's reckless driving.
It was Button's first victory at Spa and No. 14 for the British driver's career. He led from start to finish, oblivious to the mayhem behind him.
"This is such a special circuit, so to get a victory here from light to flag is very special," Button said. "It hasn't been an easy year for me. We're going to enjoy this for a little while longer before we head to Monza and hopefully do the same."
Button triumphantly zigzagged across the track as he approached the finish line and then clapped his hands together in celebration. He then stood on his McLaren and leaned his head back as he clenched both fists.
"The car felt very good to drive and I could control the degradation of the tires. It's always easier to do that when you're leading," said Button, who climbed to sixth place overall. "It's a massive long shot to win the title, but today proves that you can claw back 25 points very quickly. There's still 63 points to make up, but anything's possible."
Alonso, who is chasing his third F1 title, was relieved after he felt OK following the scary wreck.
"You can have an injury in your hand or your head with a crash like that, so I am lucky in that aspect," Alonso said. "I felt a train coming with a big, big hit."
Defending champion Sebastian Vettel finished second and cut Alonso's lead to 24 points, putting the two-time champion right back in contention.
"I was reasonably confident because I know anything can happen here and you can overtake," Vettel said.
Kimi Raikkonen was third, continuing the consistent form he's shown all season long with his third straight podium and sixth overall.
"My car was not the nicest to drive the whole race," Raikkonen said. "I was fighting to get the best out of it and we managed to get some key points, so that was the main thing."
The early crash also took out Mexican driver Sergio Perez and Grosjean, who received a one-race ban for dangerous driving and will miss the Sept. 9 stop in Monza, Italy.
Grosjean went for a small gap and clipped Lewis Hamilton's McLaren. That sent both cars spinning and led to Grosjean's Lotus flying over Alonso's Ferrari, which then took out Perez's Sauber. All four drivers escaped injury.
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