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LIVE COMMENTARY: 2011 BELGIAN GRAND PRIX - THE BELGIAN GRAND PRIX
   GO TO LIVE INDEX ALL TIMES GMT  
As it happened: The Belgian Grand Prix
By Geoff Creighton and Emlyn Hughes
The live commentary has ended. No further updates will be posted.
Vettel11:30 Hello everyone and welcome to AUTOSPORT Live for coverage of round 12 in the 2011 FIA Formula 1 world championship - the Belgian Grand Prix from Spa Francorchamps.

Sebastian Vettel claimed his ninth pole of the season at the end of a fantastic qualifying battle with his Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber and Lewis Hamilton. All three drivers occupied the top spot at some stage during the final 10-minute shootout, but it was the championship leader who produced a lap of 1m48.298s to snatch pole away from the Briton's clutches.

Behind the top three on today's grid, there are many hard luck stories. Fernando Alonso starts from row four this afternoon after a disappointing performance in the shootout. Jenson Button - usually a master in damp conditions - was caught out in Q2 and is only 13th.

Michael Schumacher suffered the worst of luck, however. His Mercedes lost a rear wheel at the exit of Malmedy at the start of Q1 and he turned sharp right into the Armco barriers, ending his chances there and then. The German celebrates 20 years in Formula 1 this weekend, but starts from the back of the grid.

The race itself starts at 12:00 GMT, but before then we will take a look at the latest weather forecast, update you on the drivers' laps to the grid and detail the likely tyre strategies for this afternoon's race.

11:30 The pitlane is now open for the drivers to make their reconnaissance laps to the grid.

Weather11:33 A sunny start over Wallonia this morning was very welcome following two days of cloud and rain and the track surface was completely dry by the end of the GP2 sprint race.

Since then, sunny intervals have continued, but a bank of cloud and light rain is building to the west and the southern edge of this band may clip Spa, heightening today's drama still further.

Temperatures are cool with a maximum of just 17 degrees Celsius expected with a stiff 20 kmh breeze blowing from the south-west.

11:35 FIA president Jean Todt is patrolling the pitlane as the cars rush past him, through the pitlane and back out onto the circuit.

11:36 Here's a reminder of the standings just after the half-way point of the season:
World Championship standings, round 11:                

Drivers:                     Constructors:             
 1.  Vettel       234        1.  Red Bull-Renault          383
 2.  Webber       149        2.  McLaren-Mercedes          280
 3.  Hamilton     146        3.  Ferrari                   215
 4.  Alonso       145        4.  Mercedes                   80
 5.  Button       134        5.  Renault                    66
 6.  Massa         70        6.  Sauber-Ferrari             35
11:36 Polesitter Sebastian Vettel arrives at the front of the grid. Webber is also pushed towards the second row.

11:37 Petrov is the next man to arrive on the grid, with the Renault pushed into 10th place by his mechanics.

11:39 Here's how the grid will line up this afternoon:
Pos  Driver                Team
 1.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault
 2.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes
 3.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault
 4.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari
 5.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes
 6.  Jaime Alguersuari     Toro Rosso-Ferrari
 7.  Bruno Senna           Renault
 8.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari
 9.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari
10.  Vitaly Petrov         Renault
11.  Sebastien Buemi       Toro Rosso-Ferrari
12.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari
13.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes
14.  Rubens Barrichello    Williams-Cosworth
15.  Adrian Sutil          Force India-Mercedes
16.  Heikki Kovalainen     Lotus-Renault
17.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes
18.  Jarno Trulli          Lotus-Renault
19.  Timo Glock            Virgin-Cosworth
20.  Jerome D'Ambrosio     Virgin-Cosworth
21.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Cosworth *
22.  Tonio Liuzzi          HRT-Cosworth
23.  Daniel Ricciardo      HRT-Cosworth
24.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes

* 5-place penalty for causing a collision
11:39 Jenson Button is pushed into his lowly 13th grid slot, but has a lot of potential to move forwards with his gentle use of the Pirelli rubber

11:40 Bernie Ecclestone is on the grid today after flying in from daughter Petra's wedding in Rome.

Vettel11:42 With a chronic lack of dry weather running so far this weekend, teams are facing a step into the unknown on tyre performance, even if the rain does stay away.

After running a lengthy stint in the final qualifying segment, those making the top 10 shootout - completed on a cold and green track surface - have heavily degraded rubbrer compared to a normal weekend. Forced to start the race on the exact tyres used in Q3, leading drivers could be heavily compromised by badly damaged rubber from the final part of the knockout session.

Controversy spread across the Spa paddock this morning as some teams - Red Bull in particular - lobbied to have the front tyres, blistered yesterday, replaced, leading Pirelli to bring additional rubber into the circuit. The FIA has since denied that request, meaning Q3 drivers will be on compromised tyres from the start today.

Teams have little data to feed their complex strategy models, so consensus varies on the best way to approach the race. At least two stops will be needed if it stays dry, with teams reacting on the fly to the level of degradation observed. Using all three sets of soft rubber is theoretically faster, but little is known about the durability of the tyres here after such rain-compromised practice sessions.

Teams' request for new tyres for Belgian Grand Prix denied

11:45 The pitlane is now closed. Any car not on the grid by now will have to start today's 44-lap event from the pitlane exit.

11:46 A large crowd gathered around Spa rises to respect the Belgian national anthem, as it plays out over the circuit's public address system.

11:47 Tense times on the grid as the leading teams worry about how the tyres will perform this afternoon, along with that slight chance of rain.

11:48 Hazy sunshine is trying to break through the cloud base, but with little success so far. Vitaly Petrov expects some drizzle in the second half of the race.

Button11:49 Motor racing fans love to debate and discuss the action on track, and the live forum at the bottom of the screen is your chance to let everyone know your thoughts on events as they unfold at the circuit.

• Will Sebastian Vettel get back to winning ways this afternoon?

• What can Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button do today? Do you think either of them can make the podium?

• Where will Michael Schumacher finish from the back of the grid?

Tell the world what you think.

Click the SHOW LIVE FORUM link in the red bar at the bottom of your browser window if you'd like to join the debate.

11:50 Williams counters Petrov's forecast and expects no rain during the race.

11:52 Keep up to speed with our minute-by-minute commentary on the move with the AUTOSPORT app.

On a train? In an airport? No TV? Get the AUTOSPORT Live experience optimised for your iPhone or Android:

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11:53 Replays of post-qualifying parc ferme show clear blistering on the inside shoulder of front tyres for the top three drivers.

11:54 Excessive camber, beyond Pirelli's advised limits, is thought to be the cause - along with the cold and dirty track conditions yesterday.

11:54 Teams have been unable to adjust the camber settings since qualifying, with changes banned by the parc ferme rules.

11:55 Five minutes remain until the start of the formation lap at Spa Francorchamps.

11:56 Track temperature is 23 degrees with the sun still trying to break through for the time being.

11:57 Michael Schumacher is having last-minute discussions with the engineers, as he sits looking at the rest of the field in front of him.

11:58 Tyres are now bolted on the cars, with leading teams hoping for the best with the rubber damaged in final qualifying yesterday.

11:58 Mark Webber nods the affirmative as he receives some final advice before the engines fire into life.

11:59 Vettel puts his gloves on with just 50 seconds to go before the start of the formation lap.

11:59 The engines fire with a minute to the formation lap.

12:00 The formation lap begins at Spa and Vettel leads the field of 24 away from the dummy grid.

12:00 Senna is reminded to warm his brakes on the formation lap ahead of his first start of the year from a career best grid slot of seventh.

12:00 All 24 drivers leave without problem as Vettel climbs through Eau Rouge and up the Kemmel straight towards Les Combes.

12:01 Vettel begins the downhill plunge through Rivage and down to Pouhon.

12:01 Plenty of scope for collision into the tight first corner, with drivers looking for an opportunistic leap up the field around the inside.

12:02 The pack weaves its way through Fagnes and Vettel turns for home.

12:02 Button has the harder tyres on his McLaren, planning a long first stint to try and take advantage of tyre problems ahead in the field.

12:02 Through Blanchimont and Vettel begins to slow the field down, to keep them as close as possible behind him.

12:03 Vettel rounds the Bus Stop and heads towards his pole position starting slot.

12:03 Schumacher is just entering the Bus Stop, with the front three rows already in position.

12:03 The pack is formed and Rosberg's car is smoking heavily on the grid. We await the lights ...

Lap 1: The five red lights go out and we are racing at Spa

Lap 1: Webber gets a terrible start but Vettel leads with Rosberg a sensational second at La Source!

Lap 1: A rapid starting Rosberg leads from Vettel after a great DRS move into Les Combes.

Lap 1: Webber has dropped down to around seventh position on this opening lap after a shocking getaway.

Lap 1: Massa is up to third in his Ferrari, with Hamilton boxed out at the first corner and down to fourth.

Lap 1: Alguersuari is touring back to the pits with broken front suspension after contact at La Source.

Lap 1: Alonso is up to fifth after a good start, from Buemi, Perez and the delayed Webber.

Lap 2: Rosberg leads into lap two, chased by Vettel and Massa as Hamilton comes under pressure from Alonso.

Lap 2: Webber remains in seventh at the end of the first lap, as Glock and Senna come into the pits.

Lap 2: Kovalainen also pits the Lotus. Senna takes on a new front wing and rejoins the race at the rear of the field.

Lap 2: Alonso breezes by Hamilton heading into the DRS zone and is easily past the McLaren and up into fourth.

Lap 3: Hamilton's pace is very poor at this stage and he is falling back towards Buemi.

Lap 3: Webber is eighth with Kobayashi ninth, Petrov 10th, Sutil 11th, Button 12th, di resta 13th and Schumacher up 10 places to 14th.

Lap 3: Up front, Rosberg is holding on to the lead with Vettel on his tail and the pair of Ferraris rapidly closing in.

Lap 3: Schumacher has passed Paul di Resta and takes over 13th position in the Mercedes.

Lap 3: Vettel gets his DRS shot this time as the system becomes available, breezing past Rosberg and into the lead.

Lap 4: Alguersuari pulled off to the side of the road before reaching the pits. The Spaniard climbs out and his best qualifying performance comes to nothing.

Lap 4: Both Lotus drivers were involved in some contact at Turn 1, possibly initiated by Glock, who launched his Virgin up the inside at La Source, causing carnage.

Lap 4: Now released, Vettel clocks a 1m55.708s fastest lap to pull 1.6 seconds clear of Rosberg as the Ferrari pair squabble behind them.

Lap 4: Button and Webber have come into the pits for a change of tyres. Both drop down the order well outside the top 10.

Lap 5: Massa is all over Rosberg's gearbox but the Mercedes man is keeping the door closed in all the right places for the moment.

Lap 5: Schumacher pits and takes on a set of option tyres. He rejoins just behind Tonio Liuzzi.

Lap 5: Alonso, Massa and Rosberg are inches from each other all through the middle part of the lap...

Lap 5: Alonso barges through, opening the door for Hamilton who is almost on the grass to demote Massa to fifth.

Lap 6: Kobayashi is up to eighth with Petrov ninth, Sutil 10th, di Resta 11th, Maldonado 12th and Barrichello in 13th.

Lap 6: Sensational racing there, with the Ferraris keen to avoid contact.

Lap 6: Vettel pits for a new set of soft tyres. Team-mate Webber made an earlier switch to the harder rubber.

Lap 6: Webber is now 12th after that early stop and he posts the quickest lap of the race so far with 1m54.957s, as Perez pits.

Lap 6: That puts Rosberg back in the lead with Alonso and Hamilton right on his tail.

Lap 6: Button has also passed Liuzzi and he takes over 17th position. He trails Schumacher as both of them haul their way back through the pack.

Lap 7: Hamilton's pace seems to have improved after some cautious early laps, while Red Bull has already been forced into the pits early.

Lap 7: Webber's next target will be Pastor Maldonado. He is on the Williams driver's gearbox now.

Lap 7: Alonso is now setting up for a DRS pass on Rosberg into Les Combes.

Lap 7: Buemi pits after a solid early stint to the race. He drops outside the top 10.

Lap 7: The Ferrari is very fast through Eau Rouge and Alonso is easily past and into the lead at Spa.

Lap 7: Hamilton is now lining up his move on Rosberg.

Lap 7: Button has passed Daniel Ricciardo and takes over 15th.

Lap 7: Hamilton's right front is clearly blistered at the moment but he is pressing on regardless for now.

Lap 8: Hamilton is virtually pushing the Mercedes around the circuit as they head towards the DRS zone.

Lap 8: Force India is enjoying a good first stint. Sutil is eighth with team-mate di Resta just behind him.

Lap 8: Webber is up to 10th - he has passed both Williams drivers.

Lap 8: DRS is the way forward for Hamilton as he jumps past Rosberg and up to second.

Lap 8: Maldonado falls to 11th and Barrichello is 12th, with Schumacher and Button closing down on them quickly.

Lap 8: Meanwhile, Vettel's pace is very good on fresh rubber and he's just 9.6 seconds down on leader Alonso.

Lap 8: Massa is the next man to look for a way past Rosberg.

Lap 9: Buemi's stop is a long one and the Swiss retires with that broken rear wing.

Lap 9: Leader Alonso is in the pits, handing the advantage to Hamilton for the moment.

Lap 9: Webber passes di Resta's Force India and moves up another position to ninth.

Lap 9: Alonso takes fresh softs and is back underway just ahead of Webber.

Lap 9: Alonso rejoins but a charging Webber forces his way past at Eau Rouge in a breathtaking move.

Lap 10: Webber continues his amazing climb through the pack. He passes Sutil at the Bus Stop to take over seventh.

Lap 10: Massa is the next man in the pits for fresh rubber while Hamilton continues on his Q3 tyres for the moment.

Lap 10: Alonso followed the Australian through at the exit of La Source, then got a great run on Webber up the Kemmel straight to take seventh.

Lap 11: Incredible action at Spa as the world's finest drivers go wheel-to-wheel through some of the most challenging corners in the series.

Lap 11: Hamilton is in from the lead for fresh rubber as Vettel reports blistering on his second set.

Lap 11: After a long first stint, Hamilton resumes in eighth and behind those stopping earlier.

Lap 11: The order is changing all the time. Webber is just nine seconds behind the leader in sixth, with Sutil seventh and the rejoined Hamilton.

Lap 11: Hamilton is told of Vettel's latest blistering and warned to take it easy on his fresh set.

Lap 11: Di Resta holds onto ninth spot with Maldonado 10th, Barrichello 11th, Schumacher up to 12th ahead of Massa and Button.

Lap 12: Kobayashi and Petrov are yet to stop and run behind Vettel and Alonso on the road.

Lap 12: Rosberg is now in the pits for a change to fresh softs.

Lap 12: Vettel leads by 6.4 seconds from Alonso but the Spaniard is over a second quicker on the latest tour.

Lap 12: Massa passes Maldonado at La Source for 12th at La Source.

Lap 12: Massa then zooms up to the back of Schumacher and the ex-Ferrari team-mates are set to fight over 11th.

Lap 12: Webber has slipped past Kobayashi and is up to fifth with the harder rubber on his Red Bull.

Lap 12: Barrichello and di Resta are just ahead of this Schumacher versus Massa squabble.

Lap 13: Hamilton is now all over Petrov's gearbox and gets through as the Renault peels into the pitlane.

Lap 13: It's now a four-car fight for eighth with di Resta leading Barrichello, Schumacher and Massa, as Maldonado pits from 14th.

Lap 13: Hamilton soon takes his next victim - Kobayashi - but the Sauber punts him into a spin and out of the race.

Lap 13: That's a big impact for Hamilton, who gingerly removes the steering wheel from his McLaren and climbs out.

Lap 13: The safety car has been deployed.

Lap 13: Barrichello and Schumacher take advantage of the safety car and come into the pits.

Lap 13: Vettel is the first man to take an opportunistic pitstop.

Lap 14: Button also pits the McLaren. Ricciardo, Trulli and D'Ambrosio all pit as well.

Lap 14: Hamilton was passing Kobayashi for position and had the move done, but Kobayashi stayed alongside the McLaren.

Lap 14: As Hamilton eased across the road to claim the line for Les Combes the pair made contact with the British driver careering sharp left into the Armco barrier.

Lap 14: Kobayashi and di Resta peel in for their first stop of the afternoon.

Lap 15: The MP4-26 sustained a lot of front end damage from the big hit, but Hamilton was able to climb out of the car and walk away.

Lap 15: Alonso leads from Webber, with Vettel now down to third and on his final set of soft tyres.

Lap 15: Daniel Ricciardo has also retired in this safety car period. He pulled off to the side of the road just before Blanchimont.

Lap 15: Massa runs fourth in his Ferrari, with Rosberg fifth for Mercedes.

Lap 15: Timo Glock is another to pit. He rejoins at the back of the pack.

Lap 16: Behind the top five it's Sutil sixth, Perez seventh, Petrov eighth, Schumacher ninth and Barrichello in 10th.

Lap 16: Button is in 11th place, followed by Maldonado 12th, di Resta 13th, Kobayashi 14th after repairs, Senna 15th and Trulli 16th.

Lap 16: Work has wrapped up at Les Combes with the barriers remaining dented significantly by Hamilton as he speared into the Armco.

Lap 16: The safety car will pit at the end of this lap.

Lap 16: Ricciardo's HRT is craned away behind the barrier and the track is all-clear once again.

Lap 17: The safety car comes into the pitlane and we are racing once again.

Lap 17: Alonso leads comfortably into La Source as Webber and Vettel squabble for position behind him.

Lap 17: Rosberg is the man on the move though as he breezes past Massa and up into fourth.

Lap 17: Button passes Barrichello for 10th place in the braking zone for Les Combes.

Lap 17: Vettel has also made the shuffle at Spa's popular overtaking point and is now in second and chasing Alonso with fresh rubber on the Red Bull

Lap 18: Button charges on and tries to get past Petrov at the Bus Stop. He doesn't make it initially but passes the Russian on the exit.

Lap 18: Side-by-side for the lead once again as Vettel is allowed just enough road by Alonso to take over the lead.

Lap 19: So now it is Vettel from Alonso, Webber, Rosberg and Massa in a breathless Belgian Grand Prix.

Lap 19: Great racing behind the top five. Sutil holds onto sixth with Schumacher up two places to seventh, Button still behind him in eighth, Petrov ninth and Perez leading a train of cars in 10th.

Lap 19: Vettel is setting a rapid pace at this stage but will face a lengthy spell on the harder tyres after early use of his soft tyre allocation.

Lap 19: Perez is suffering badly and he is passed by Barrichello. But the Mexican claims it back again up the hill towards Les Combes.

Lap 20: Alonso still has a fresh set of softs in the Ferrari garage and is told the current situation is "not a disaster for the strategy"

Lap 20: The radar is clearing all the time. We expect no rain before the end of the race.

Lap 20: DRS is available once again, but there has also been plenty of action on the drag to Les Combes without the rear wing opening.

Lap 20: This Schumacher-Button train has been extremely effective in coming back through the pack. They run in seventh and eighth, with Sutil next on the hit list.

Lap 21: Button tries to switch the order at the Bus Stop, but Schumacher is wise to the move and keeps track position for the moment.

Lap 21: Vettel's lead is now 3.5 seconds from Alonso but his strategy means he really needs to build a sizable margin at this stage.

Lap 21: Button tries again in the DRS zone but again, Schumacher is able to remain just in front as they turn into Les Combes.

Lap 21: Stewards have deemed no further action is required on the clash between Hamilton and Kobayashi.

Lap 21: While these two battle, they continue to haul in sixth placed Sutil and this will become a three-car scrap very soon.

Lap 22: Button sends another move up the inside of Schumacher at the Bus Stop and he takes over seventh position.

Lap 22: Ahead of the newly-promoted Button is Sutil, who the McLaren man has closed rapidly on in the first half of the lap.

Lap 23: Sergio Perez has been handed a drive-through penalty for causing a collision with Sebastien Buemi much earlier in the race.

Lap 23: Button tries an outside move on Sutil at the Bus Stop, which the Force India is able to defend.

Lap 23: Perez answers the call and pits from 10th place. He clears the pitlane in 14 seconds and rejoins the battle for low-end points this afternoon.

Lap 23: Button gets on his DRS into Les Combes and breezes past Sutil on the outside to take over sixth.

Lap 23: Vettel's lead is now 4.4 seconds but he's already blistering his soft rubber once again.

Lap 24: Button has set off in pursuit of Massa and is certainly the man on the move at the moment.

Lap 24: Behind the top eight drivers, Petrov runs in ninth with Barrichello 10th, Maldonado 11th, di Resta 12th and Kobayashi in 13th.

Lap 24: Trulli is 14th and Perez pits for the second consecutive lap - this time for tyres.

Lap 24: Alonso, on old rubber, is almost matching Vettel on pace now, with the Ferrari just 4.7 seconds behind and with soft rubber still to use.

Lap 25: Button goes for a brave move around Massa at the Bus Stop. There's minor contact but the McLaren is through and up to fifth.

Lap 25: Fantastic racing out there today, with Button now chasing down Rosberg for his next move up the order.

Lap 25: Threatening clouds have moved in and it has become overcast with the race beginning to settle down just a little.

Lap 25: Alonso looks to be struggling on his rubber, with blistering on his left front tyre.

Lap 25: Button is now looking for his signature move at the Bus Stop on Rosberg but the Mercedes man is sharp on the defence this time.

Lap 26: Petrov is hanging on to eighth-placed Schumacher very well, with the Williams duo some nine seconds behind him.

Lap 26: Button needs two bites of the slipstream to Les Combes to get by the slippery Mercedes but has now charged up to fourth in his McLaren.

Lap 26: Button asks for the gap ahead and is told he is now chasing Webber, whose pace is much slower on the harder rubber.

Lap 27: Perez is trying to recover through the pack after his recent stop for tyres. He is 17th but right on the tail of Bruno Senna.

Lap 27: Button and Webber have both completed stints on hard tyres, meaning they have quick stints on softs available for the run in to the flag.

Lap 27: Vettel will soon be forced onto the hard rubber but leads by 5.6 seconds from Alonso for the moment.

Lap 28: Sergio Perez has dropped back a lot and fallen out of contention.

Lap 28: Tricky strategy choice to be made at Ferrari, with Alonso still having a set of softs left, but using them would mean a late change to hards

Lap 28: He was in a battle with Senna for 16th but has suffered a mechanical problem. He tours into the pits.

Lap 28: Button is now 6.8 seconds down on Webber and closing on the Red Bull at a second per lap.

Lap 29: Perez turns straight into the Sauber garage and his race is over.

Lap 29: Button is told his pace is "brilliant", with the McLaren man looking very strong at this phase despite a flapping rear wing endplate.

Lap 29: Ferrari opt for a final stop for Alonso, taking the hard rubber for a run to the flag.

Lap 30: Maldonado pits from 10th position in the Williams. Behind him, Kobayashi also pits.

Lap 30: Alonso resumes in clear air but that strategy will see him under threat from Webber and Button, who can run softs later on.

Lap 30: Vettel pits for his final stop and a switch to a long run on hard tyres.

Lap 30: Vettel resumes behind Button on the road.

Lap 30: Petrov is now less than one second behind Schumacher ... and into the pits comes the Renault from ninth.

Lap 30: Massa is also in for his final set of the hard tyres, as is Rosberg and Petrov.

Lap 31: Di Resta also pits from 11th.

Lap 31: Webber is in the pits for his final stop and interestingly picks the harder rubber for his run to the end.

Lap 31: Vettel, on fresh tyres, springs past Button to take over what is now the lead of the race.

Lap 32: Barrichello pits from the back end of the top 10 for his final stop this afternoon.

Lap 32: Meanwhile, Alonso is the fastest man on the track as he enjoys the grip from his fresh rubber.

Lap 32: Button is heading to the McLaren pit, with 12 laps remaining in a thrilling Belgian Grand Prix.

Lap 32: The dice is rolled at McLaren as fresh softs go on Button's car for the run to the flag.

Lap 33: Button resumes in fourth, with Vettel leading from Alonso and Webber. The top three are on fresh, harder tyres.

Lap 33: Massa comes into the pits from ninth. He takes on the harder tyre and resumes in 11th position.

Lap 33: That was Massa's third stop of the afternoon, having pitted just a lap or two ago. A puncture has destroyed his chance of a good finish.

Lap 33: Rosberg is now fifth in his Mercedes from Sutil, Schumacher and Petrov.

Lap 34: Maldonado is now ninth with di Resta 10th, Massa has dropped to 11th, with Kobayashi 12th, Barrichello 13th and Senna in 14th.

Lap 34: Vettel's lead is clocked at seven seconds as Webber is encouraged to chase down second-place man Alonso.

Lap 34: Meanwhile, Schumacher pulls the DRS trick on Sutil to take over sixth in his Mercedes.

Lap 35: Red Bull's pace is very good on the hard rubber, with Webber closing rapidly on Alonso and now just 2.5 seconds behind the Ferrari.

Lap 35: Barrichello lost out badly in that last pitstop phase and finds himself four places down on team-mate Maldonado.

Lap 35: Button is fractionally quicker than Webber but is 16.2 seconds behind leader Vettel.

Lap 35: But Barrichello is now trying to pull the time back. He is challenging Kobayashi for 12th.

Lap 35: Webber looks sure to pass Alonso very soon, with Button also surely eying the final podium place.

Lap 35: Massa is also on the move. He is still 11th but has caught up to the back of di Resta's Force India.

Lap 35: Webber's pace is substantially quicker than his leading team-mate, meaning a Red Bull scrap could develop after he clears Alonso.

Lap 36: Alonso is demonstrating Ferrari's traditional struggles with the harder rubber, with Webber now lining him up for a pass to take second.

Lap 36: Glock pits from 18th, but much further ahead di Resta and Massa are side-by-side up the hill to Les Combes.

Lap 36: DRS is just the ticket for Webber and he's comfortably past Alonso and up to second.

Lap 36: Massa is through and takes over 10th position in the Ferrari.

Lap 36: The Brazilian is now tearing after Maldonado and should catch the Williams driver by the end of this lap.

Lap 36: Webber sets off in pursuit of his team-mate, while Button is surely going to end up in a battle with Alonso in the near future.

Lap 38: Vettel leads by 7.8 seconds in the Spa sunshine but was closed by Webber over a second even with his pass on Alonso.

Lap 38: Webber will be keen to close down and pass his team-mate for his first win of the year, but will the team allow it?

Lap 38: Button is now 3.8 seconds behind Alonso and closing on the Ferrari.

Lap 38: Massa is quickly through on Maldonado up the Kemmel straight and he takes ninth place into Les Combes.

Lap 39: Behind them, it's more nose-to-tail action as Rosberg is now forced to defend from team-mate Schumacher.

Lap 39: But this is where Massa's recovery will end, unless something happens to one of the top eight. He is 13.3s behind Petrov.

Lap 39: Schumacher has soft tyres on his Mercedes, while Rosberg is making the run to the flag on the harder rubber.

Lap 40: Five laps remain in a thrilling Belgian Grand Prix.

Lap 40: Button is told to increase his engine settings as he closes on Alonso for the final podium place.

Lap 40: Further down the field, Barrichello is still attacking Kobayashi as they fight for 12th place.

Lap 40: Webber is now 6.4 seconds behind leader Vettel and looks like his late surge will not be enough to challenge the runaway title leader.

Lap 41: Button now has Alonso in sight, just ahead on the road and the gap is clocked at 1.5 seconds and closing rapidly.

Lap 41: Senna is catching the Kobayashi-Barrichello battle quickly and this may develop into a three-car scrap in the last lap or two for 12th.

Lap 41: Rosberg is told to save fuel as Schumacher continues to push his team-mate.

Lap 42: Rosberg is compromised by traffic but is still holding his team-mate off for the moment.

Lap 42: Barrichello pits from 13th after tagging the back of Kobayashi's Sauber.

Lap 42: The pair made contact at the Bus Stop chicane and damaged his front wing. Barrichello gets a new nose and rejoins the race.

Lap 42: Button is in the DRS zone on Alonso and there's no contest at Les Combes as the McLaren takes over in the final podium place.

Lap 43: It's all action there this lap as Schumacher breezes past Rosberg to take over fifth from his team-mate.

Lap 43: Vettel flashes over the line with two laps to go before his latest victory.

Lap 44: The closest battle on track is now between Kobayashi and Senna for 12th.

Lap 44: Vettel crosses the line to begin the final lap at Spa.

Lap 44: He holds a 4.2s lead over team-mate Webber, with Button nine seconds back in third.

Lap 44: Vettel rounds the Fagnes chicane and heads through the Paul Frere curve with just a few corners to go ...

13:30 Sebastian Vettel wins at Spa for Red Bull!

13:30 Another win for the dominant series leader puts him well on course for the title after great management of tyre issues.

13:30 Webber grabs second to make it a Red Bull one-two.

13:31 Button comes home in third after a sensational drive through the field from 13th on the grid.

13:31 Alonso couldn't find the pace on the hard rubber and is likely to be a frustrated fourth, despite leading strongly early on.

13:31 Schumacher - from last on the grid - takes an amazing fifth on the 20th anniversary of his debut here, thanks to that late move on Rosberg.

13:32 Sutil banks more points for Force India in seventh, with Massa grabbing eighth with a last-lap move on Petrov.

13:32 Wild celebrations break out at Red Bull as the team reflect on a one-two despite major issues with blistering on the soft rubber.

13:33 Petrov slowed up on the last lap and trickled across the line in ninth with Maldonado claiming the final point this afternoon for Williams.

13:34 Out of the points, di Resta finished 11th with Kobayashi holding off Senna for 12th. Trulli was 14th ahead of Kovalainen and Barrichello.

13:34 D'Ambrosio finishes his home grand prix in 17th ahead of team-mate Glock 18th and Liuzzi was the last finisher in 19th position.

13:35 Adrian Newey tells his drivers "I'm relived to see you" after serious worries pre-race over the blistering issue leading to tyre failure.

13:35 The top three drivers make their way out onto the Spa podium and the German national anthem rings out for today's winner - Sebastian Vettel.

13:36 That is followed by the Austrian national anthem for this afternoon's winning constructor - Red Bull Racing.

13:37 Vettel collects the trophy as he celebrates his seventh win of the year and further bolsters his path to a dominant title victory.

13:38 Red Bull technical director Adrian Newey picks up the award for his team's latest one-two.

13:38 Mark Webber picks up his award for second place in a tough race, with a 2012 contract in his back pocket and another solid drive today.

13:38 Delight at McLaren as Button gets the final trophy for a sensational drive through from 13th to the last step on the podium.

13:39 The champagne sprays on the podium after an enthralling Belgian Grand Prix. Vettel and Webber make sure Adrian Newey gets a soaking.

13:40 The four stand atop the podium for the traditional post-race photograph in front of a cheering crowd on the pit straight.

13:42 Vettel's title lead is now 92 points, with Webber remaining his closest challenger in the points race.

13:42 Five drivers retired for this afternoon's race.

Perez dropped out with a possible suspension issue when challenging to get back into the points. Ricciardo pulled off to the side of the road under safety car conditions.

Hamilton crashed out after an altercation with Kobayashi at Les Combes, Buemi was forced out with a damaged rear wing in the early stages and his team-mate Alguersuari was the first casualty of the afternoon.

13:42 Vettel's total of 259 points already exceeds his title-winning score of last year, with seven rounds remaining.

13:43 Alonso is now 10 points behind Webber in third, with Button and Hamilton fourth and fifth in the standings.

13:44 Red Bull's one-two puts the constructors' advantage out to 131 points over McLaren, with Ferrari still some way back in third.

13:45 Force India continue to threaten Sauber for sixth place as another score for Sutil moves the Silverstone-based team to three points behind.

  OVERVIEW BELGIAN GRAND PRIX  
Race length: 44 laps
  CURRENT WEATHER
Mainly cloudy High Temp: 17°C / 63°F
Track: Dry
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Monday 22 Aug Start GMT
 Belgian Grand Prix weather 15:00
Friday 26 Aug
 Friday practice one 07:50
 Friday practice two 11:50
Saturday 27 Aug
 Saturday practice 08:50
 Qualifying 11:45
Sunday 28 Aug
 The Belgian Grand Prix 11:30