Raikkonen wins Belgian GP

Spa-Francorchamps:Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen claimed his first victory in 25 races today when he held off a challenge from Force India’s veteran Italian Giancarlo Fisichella to triumph in the Belgian Grand Prix.

Raikkonen’s win was Ferrari’s first this year, his first since the 2008 Spanish Grand Prix, and the 18th of his career. It came on a day when the drivers’ championship battle was given a shake, if not tipped upside down, thanks to a multiple collision on the opening lap.

That accident, which took out four cars, removed drivers world championship leader Jenson Button of Brawn GP and fellow-Briton and

defending champion Lewis Hamilton of McLaren Mercedes. For Button the damage to his car and his title hopes was limited as his main rivals failed to capitalise with big-scoring results.

His lead ahead of Brawn team-mate Rubens Barrichello was cut by only two points from 18 to 16 while German Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull jumped back to third, by finishing third. Vettel now has 53 points behind Barrichello on 56 and Button on 72 with five races remaining.

Fisichella, who had claimed the Force India team’s maiden pole position in Saturday’s extraordinary qualifying session, was happy at delivering the team their first points, in their 31st outing, with a podium finish.

Behind the leading duo, who battled for victory, came Vettel ahead of Pole Robert Kubica, fourth for BMW Sauber, team-mate German Nick Heidfeld, with Finn Heikki Kovalainen sixth for McLaren Mercedes. Barrichello was seventh, nursing his car stricken by an oil leak over the closing laps, and German Nico Rosberg was eighth for Williams.