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Supposing they staged a World Championship, and nobody wanted it? Twelve rounds into the 2009 season, that’s how it is starting to look. The Belgian Grand Prix, won by Kimi Raikkonen, produced the sixth different winner in six races, and the first victory for Ferrari in 2009. Championship leader Jenson Button was eliminated on the opening lap, but his points lead – 16 – remains healthy, if not comfortable, with five races to go, and as someone said afterwards, “At this rate, all Jenson’s got to do is sit in the motorhome, and he’ll still be World Champion…” Well, maybe, maybe not. The fact remains, though, that no one is mounting a consistent challenge to Button – even though his own results have lately been lamentable. After winning six of the first seven Grands Prix, he hasn’t so much as made the podium in the last five – but during that time none of his rivals has won more than once.
Raikkonen’s victory in Belgium may have been unexpected, but he has always shone at this circuit, even during otherwise dormant periods. “I’ve always been very good here,” he said afterwards. “Spa is a proper, old-fashioned, circuit, and it just seems to suit me.” It’s fair to say that this time around he did not have the quickest car, and needed to rely a good deal on his KERS to keep the Ferrari in front. But Kimi’s opposition came not from a Red Bull or a Brawn, but… a Force India. When the mood is on him, and his car is to his taste, Giancarlo Fisichella’s considerable natural talent is matched by his work ethic, and it was just so at Spa last weekend. “We had a new aero package in Valencia,” he said, “and it was good, already worth six-tenths a lap. We came here with the same package, but with a Spa wing, and the car was quick out of the truck. In practice it felt good, and in qualifying, too – and of course Spa is one of my favourite circuits.”