F1 race stewards have punished Williams-BMW substitute driver Antonio Pizzonia and BAR Honda's Takuma Sato for their involvement in separate accidents during the Belgian Grand Prix on Sunday.

F1 race stewards have punished Williams-BMW substitute driver Antonio Pizzonia and BAR Honda's Takuma Sato for their involvement in separate accidents during the Belgian Grand Prix on Sunday.


Juan Pablo Montoya was set to follow McLaren team-mate Kimi Raikkonen to the chequered flag to secure McLaren's first one-two finish for more than five years. But in a late-race incident, Pizzonia collided with the Colombian while trying the former attempted to un-lap his Williams-BMW.


"It's always tough to retire from a race but when it's caused by matters out of your or the team's control it's even harder," said Montoya. "My disappointment is even greater because as a team we were doing a great job. I now know Pizzonia was trying to un-lap himself on dry tyres and then hit me from behind. This was a disappointing end to what could have been the perfect weekend."


Pizzonia, racing for Williams in place of injured German Nick Heidfeld, claimed Montoya braked early, something he had been accused of by Jordan driver Tiago Monteiro after the pair collided in Turkey. Nevertheless, race stewards fined Pizzonia R50 000.


"I was on dry tyres and lapping quicker than him," said Pizzonia. "He was quite slow maybe because his tyres were not good anymore or maybe he was just cruising to the end of the race. I thought he saw me and when he braked really early I thought he was trying to let me by. I put my car next to him but obviously he hadn't seen me because he turned into his normal line and I couldn't avoid the crash. I am sorry for him because I am not here to destroy anyone's race."


Meanwhile, Michael Schumacher almost came to blows with Sato after the Japanese driver's BAR Honda collided with the German's Ferrari at La Source, eliminating both drivers from the race. When Sato emerged from behind the safety car with cold tyres and brakes on Lap 13, he braked too late for the tight hairpin.


As a result, Takuma has been given a 10-place grid penalty at the next race for his part in the incident.


"It was very tricky at the beginning of the race, but I made a good first lap and gained many positions," said Sato. "Things were going well up to the first stop. The incident with Michael happened on the first corner after the restart, following the safety car. With cold tyres and brakes, it was very difficult to stop the car and unfortunately, I touched the back of him.


Michael Schumacher added: "Every accident is unnecessary but this one seemed more unnecessary than usual. Obviously I am not happy about it, I did not see anything and just felt a bump at the rear of the car. It was stupid to finish the race like this when we had hoped that the mixed conditions might help us. We decided to try the dry tyres but it was immediately obvious that it was like driving on ice. We tried to be competitive today and we got a bit closer to that goal, but not close enough."