Belgium Grand Prix Review: Kimi Raikkonen Wins, Fisichella Shines

Paul EnglishCorrespondent IAugust 30, 2009

SPA FRANCORCHAMPS, BELGIUM - AUGUST 30:  Race winner Kimi Raikkonen of Finland and Ferrari leads from second placed Giancarlo Fisichella of Italy and Force India during the Belgian Grand Prix at the Circuit of Spa Francorchamps on August 30, 2009 in Spa Francorchamps, Belgium.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Kimi Raikkonen scored Ferrari a brilliant and hard won victory today at Spa Francorchamps as Giancarlo Fisichella finished in an amazing second place for Force India. The start, restart, and the Kers button won Kimi the race.

After the restart, he pressed it out of the La Source hairpin, putting him on the tail of Fisichella through Eau Rouge. Diving out of the slipstream at the top of the crest, Kimi was through half way down the straight and gone.

Except he wasn't, Fisichella stayed on the back of the Ferrari, never letting Kimi rest for a second. The sector times were amazingly close, Kimi pulling out up the hill in the first sector, Fizzy grabbing it back on the way down.

It was an intense struggle throughout the race, never once did either of them let up or even put a wheel out of line. It was supreme driving of the highest order with a supposedly delighted Kimi (you would know it!) just managing to edge it.

In truth Force India had the quicker car today, in fact Fisichella was disappointed to finish in second. But Kimi's opportunism at the start was crucial to the result; diving wide off the track (surely controversial after last year with Lewis), he shot round the outside of Heidfeld and Trulli and then swung round Kubica just before Les Combes. 

This set him up for the overtake at the restart which won him the race. Otherwise we could have, and perhaps should have seen a maiden win for Force India, but it was a fantastically competitive race nonetheless on a truly exciting circuit.

Behind the front two Sebastian Vettel probably just about had the hottest pace of the day as was expected from Red Bull, but starting so low down on the grid due to their fuel load, the Red Bull’s couldn't expect to challenge for the win.

However, Vettel was hunting down the leaders towards the end perhaps if they’d been fuelled lighter he would have had a chance to win. Of the championship contenders Vettel obviously had the most success this afternoon, Barrichello fought back to seventh after a poor start and Mark Webber trailed home in a disappointing ninth.

All this resulted in Barrichello and Vettel reducing the championship lead down to 16 and 19 points respectively.

Jenson Button was unlucky to find himself spun round by Romain Grosjean's Renault at Les Combes which eventually involved taking out Jaime Alguersari and Lewis Hamilton as well. But perhaps for Button it wasn't so much of a surprise that he should find himself getting caught up in an incident.

Talking to the BBC after the race he was immediately talking about the other championship contenders. Perhaps he should ponder why he was 14th on the grid in the first place and start focusing on just winning and racing rather than defending the advantage he's got. As it is now, he’s lost what made him so good at the start of the year.

Jarno Trulli and Fernando Alonso were caught up in incidents at the start which contributed to their demise later in the race. Alonso especially looked like he was developing into a contender for big points and it was a shame that they had the wheel problem which led to his retirement.

Behind Vettel came Kubica and Heidfeld in the two BMWs, their strongest showing to date. If Heidfeld's start had worked better, he looked like he had the pace for a podium finish. In sixth Heikki Kovalainen salvaged three points for McLaren, while Rosberg kept up his scoring run in eighth behind Rubens.

While Kimi Raikkonen raced to his fourth Spa victory and the first win of the year for Ferrari, the other Ferrari of Luca Badoer ended up last again, never really on the pace, and now surely spelling the end of Badoer's involvement as a race driver.

His potential replacement was on pole in Belgium and then finished an amazing second. If rumours are to be believed, will Fisichella be challenging Kimi in the second Ferrari when we get to Italy?