Spa-Francorchamps: Nico Hulkenberg scorched his way to a career-best fourth place and Paul Di Resta finished 10th as Sahara Force India secured 13 points from the action-packed Formula One Belgian Grand Prix, in Spa-Francorchamps on Sunday.

It is the second-best result of the season for the Indian team and helped them snatch the seventh place from Williams in the constructors' championship.

A big accident in the opening lap of the 44-lap race benefitted Force India cars as they moved up from their starting positions. Hulkenberg was 12th on the grid.

Before this race, a fifth-place finish at the European Grand Prix, early this season, was Hulkenberg's best result.

Force India had started the race with 46 points, seven behind Williams. Now they are at 59 with a six-point lead over the Williams.

Since both the Sauber cars failed to get any points, Sahara Force India have closed the gap with the sixth-placed team to 21 points.

McLaren's Jenson Button won the second race of the season, starting from the pole position and was joined on the podium by Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen, who were second and third respectively.

However it was disappointing race for India's Narain Karthikeyan, who smashed into the barriers after slipping in lap 31.

Hulkenberg held off stiff challenge from Mercedes' Michael Schumacher and Mark Webber and showed good pace on the straights. He was in contention of a podium place but for superiority of Vettel and Raikkonen.

Paul di Resta struggled with the pace of his car but a late pit-stop from Bruno Senna helped him sneak into the top-10 and secure the final point available from the race.

It was carnage in the first corner of the opening lap as Lotus' Romain Grosjean crashed into the Lewis Hamilton from the left and the Briton smashed into the back of Fernando Alonso of Ferrari.

All the three cars were out of contention in the first minute of the race. It immensely helped the two Force India cars as Hulkenberg zooming up to fourth, followed by teammate Paul di Resta.

The collision forced Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi and Williams' Pastor Maldonado into the pits as they too suffered some damage.

Mercedes' Michael Schumacher also benefitted from the first corner carnage as he moved to fifth 13th.

Soon Paul di Resta concedes his fourth place to Schumacher then Daniel Ricciardo of Toro Rosso pushed him to sixth.

Hulkenberg, who was put under a lot of pressure by Raikkonen, took an early pit stop in the 14th lap and joined back the race in the eighth position.

The German was soon back to third place when Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel also pitted.

Di Resta though was struggling to be in top-10 as Senna and Nico Rosberg of Mercedes challenged him from behind.

The Scot's race pace cost him as he soon was pushed out of the top-10.

Hulkenberg kept himself in contention of a podium finish with brilliant fighting. It was a three-way contest among Raikkonen, Hulkenberg and Schumacher.

Nico Hulkenberg credited the teamwork for the result.

"I'm delighted with the result today – my best finish in Formula One. It’s a result that the whole team has worked hard for and I want to say a huge ‘thank you’ to all the guys because everything went perfectly today," the German said.

"The start was eventful, but fortunately I avoided all the debris and was able to take advantage of the situation. I was up a high as second and for a while I was even thinking we could finish on the podium. But the race was tough; I had some great fights with Kimi and Michael, and I was always on the limit," he said.

Paul Di Resta, who is been tipped to move to Mercedes, said technical problems made it a difficult race for him.

"A tough race for me largely due to the KERS failure on the car just before the race, which really hurt my performance and speed on the straights," the Scot said.

Vijay Mallya, Team Principal & Managing Director, said, " Spa usually delivers drama and great racing, and today’s Grand Prix was full of both. Nico drove a brilliant race to finish fourth on a day when it was important to capitalise on the first lap incident that befell some of our competitors."

"We've been waiting for a result like this for a while and it's a great reward for Nico and the entire team. We could have scored even more points had Paul’s race not been compromised by the KERS failure, and he did well to pick up a point today," he said.

(Agencies)

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