There was high drama at the start of the Belgian Grand Prix today as Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton were both taken out in a multi-car pile-up on the first curve, triggered by Lotus's Romain Grosjean.
Grosjean was subsequently handed a one-race ban for causing the accident. The Frenchman moved over on Hamilton, the Lotus's right rear wheel hit Hamilton's left front, knocking the McLaren into a spin and triggering chaos. As the other drivers braked for the first corner, Hamilton and Grosjean, out of control, continued at unabated speed, taking out Alonso and Sauber's Sergio Pérez.
Miraculously, none of the drivers suffered any serious injuries. Alonso was especially lucky as Grosjean's car flew over the front of his car, missing his head by about a metre. The Spaniard escaped with just a slight pain in one of his shoulders, and, after a precautionary medical check-up, told the press he was already "looking forward to Monza in five days' time".
McLaren's Jenson Button, who started on pole, was never under threat as Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel fought from 10th to second, ahead of Lotus's Kimi Raikkonen.
Vettel consequently moves into second place in the championship, 24 points behind Alonso. The German's team-mate Mark Webber is third, 12 points behind Vettel. Raikkonen is one point behind the Australian, 14 points ahead of Hamilton.
Button's victory leaves him sixth, but at 63 points behind Alonso with 200 available in the remaining eight races, his title hopes are still a long shot.