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GP Week : Issue 97
Team-By-Team: Belgian Gran A bitter-sweet race weekend for McLaren, as Lewis Hamilton scored his third race win of the year but team-mate Button was punted out of the race, causing major damage to his title hopes. Hamilton took the lead from the first corner after Webber's poor start and was leading comfortably when he survived a scare at Rivage as the rain returned, but hung on to win. Button was in second when Vettel lost control of his car at the final chicane on lap 16, forcing the Briton into retirement. Similar to McLaren, it was a race of contrasting fortunes for Red Bull in Belgium, with Mark Webber taking second place and Vettel finishing outside the points. Webber lost the lead at the start when his Renault engine's anti-stall kicked in and was looking set to finish third until the rain arrived and jumped Robert Kubica in the pits for second. After his collision with Button, Vettel was then hit with a drive-through penalty before Liuzzi caused a puncture to push him down to 15th at the flag. Robert Kubica may even have won Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix had he not braked too late coming into his pitbox for the switch to intermediate tyres near the end of the race. He was closing on leader Hamilton when the rain hit, but dropped from second to third when he didn't stop correctly in the pitlane. He then hung on to finish third, 3.5 seconds behind winner Hamilton. Petrov was pleased to score points having started a lowly 23rd. He gained 12 places in the first two laps before coming home ninth. The prospects were none too bright for Mercedes having qualified just 14th and 21st on the grid, but two brilliant starts, long stints on the hard tyre and wet-weather set-ups allowed Rosberg and Schumacher to climb to sixth and seventh at the flag. The pair had two on-track battles, first when Schumacher went by Rosberg on lap 10, and then when Rosberg got one back on lap 41. The result keeps a 23-point cushion to Renault in the fight for fourth in the constructors' championship. Early promise failed to deliver results for Williams in Belgium, as the team left without a single point despite getting both cars into Q3. Barrichello retired on the opening lap after crashing into Alonso on the slippery track, but Hulkenberg was in a strong position to score points until a throttle control problem forced an unscheduled stop. He then lost more places when his engine stalled in the pits, before taking the flag in 14th after numerous spins as a result of the faulty throttle control in wet conditions. Felipe Massa showed his worth as a Ferrari number two driver by picking up the pieces when the number one went missing, taking a solid fourth place to keep Ferrari's points tally ticking over. He started sixth and gained two places when Button and Vettel collided, before taking the flag just eight tenths clear of Sutil. Alonso endured a torrid weekend, ending in a crash in the rain with seven laps to go. He was innocently hit by Barrichello at the end of the first lap, but would have finished in the points had he not crashed. 36