HRT driver Pedro de la Rosa was in the thick of things from the very start of the 2012 F1 Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps, as he described the moments when he escaped any damage or injury in the first corner accident that wiped out Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton, Sergio Perez and instigator Romain Grosjean.

"It was an intense race from start to finish," recalled de la Rosa. "I didn't completely avoid the accident on the first corner because, besides the pieces of front wing flying through the air, I was trapped between some cars with no space and I got hit a couple of times.

"That's why I had to stop before planned to change the front wing," he explained. "It went well after that; we were able to fight with the Marussias and Kovalainen until the end. We've still got a small way to go to be where we want but today was a fighter's race but also a fun one."

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De La Rosa did make it all the way to the chequered flag, albeit a lap down and in 18th place as the last of the cars still running after 44 laps. However, his team mate Narain Karthikeyan wasn't quite so fortunate, spinning off on lap 29 into the gravel trap at the Paul Frere curve.

Initially it appeared that Karthikeyan had simply strayed too far over to the left and had spun when his tyres went onto the dirt, but the driver revealed it hadn't been as simple as that.

"After the second pitstop I had some issues with the suspension," he explained. Late reports went further, and said that rather than a suspension failure it has actually been a loose wheel that had caused Karthikeyan's accident.

"It's a shame," said Karthikeyan of how his race had ended prematurely. "I got off to a very good start and the car was fantastic throughout the first stint, enabling me to keep up a good battle with Pic," he continued, adding: "I was having a good race ahead of a Caterham, but I'm happy with our performance and I hope to continue with this level in Monza next week."

"The performance of the cars was good so I'm happy because we're on the same positive line as before the summer break," summarised HRT team principal Luis P?rez-Sala, also looking ahead to next weekend's race in Italy.