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McLaren's Button takes first in crash-marred Belgian GP

SPA, Belgium--Jenson Button coasted to his second victory of the season at the crash-marred Belgian Grand Prix on Sunday, with Formula One championship leader Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton forced out after a spectacular pileup at the start.

It was Button's first victory at Spa and the 14th of the British driver's career — and probably one of the easiest as 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.

Defending champion Sebastian Vettel benefited from the chaos to finish second and trim Alonso's overall lead to 24 points. Kimi Raikkonen was third, continuing the consistent form he's shown all season long.

The crash, which was triggered by Lotus driver Romain Grosjean, also took out Mexican driver Sergio Perez, and Grosjean himself.

Grosjean went for a small gap and clipped 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 unhurt.

“I'm fine and 100 (percent) already thinking (about) Monza!” Alonso said on his Twitter page.

A visibly frustrated Hamilton briefly confronted Grosjean after the incident and tapped the side of his own helmet with his finger after getting out of his car.

Grosjean's actions may be investigated as he took the dangerous option of changing direction moments after the start as he went for the gap.

Following a miserable day's qualifying on Saturday, Vettel was relieved to get on the podium after starting from 10th on the grid.

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Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso, left, crashes with McLaren Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, airborne right, during the first lap of the Belgium Formula One Grand Prix in Spa-Francorchamps circuit, Belgium, Sunday, Sept. 2.

(AP)

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