Sport Motorsport Hamiliton wins Belgian GP, Ricciardo third

Hamiliton wins Belgian GP, Ricciardo third

Belgian GP
Lewis Hamilton has won the Belgian Grand Prix, ahead of Sebastian Vettel with Australian Daniel Ricciardo third. Photo: Getty
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Lewis Hamilton trimmed championship leader Sebastian Vettel’s lead to seven points with a win at the Belgian Grand Prix on Sunday, while Daniel Ricciardo claimed his sixth podium of the season.

Hamilton’s fifth win of the season brought him to a total off 58 overall, after equalling Michael Schumacher’s record of 68 pole positions on Saturday.

Vettel finished second in Sunday’s 44-lap race, 2.3sec behind Hamilton.

“Sebastian was very, very close. He was very consistent throughout,” said Hamilton, after his 200th GP. “That’s what racing’s about.”

Red Bull’s Ricciardo was third, ahead of Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen, with Valtteri Bottas in a Mercedes fifth.

Hamilton was in good form all weekend, topping every part of qualifying.

“Really brilliant,” Mercedes head of motorsport Toto Wolff said.

“Hamilton’s drive was really fantastic.”

Although it was a comfortable win for the British driver, it got a bit tense toward the end.

“I was waiting for Lewis to make a mistake and he didn’t,” Vettel said.

With about 10 laps left, Vettel almost overtook his challenger as they emerged from behind the safety car.

Vettel got his Ferrari alongside Hamilton on a long straight, but Hamilton edged his Mercedes into the corner just in time.

“I’m not entirely happy,” said Vettel, adding that he got his approach slightly wrong.

The Spa track, nestled in the Ardennes forest, is the longest in F1 at 7 kilometres and the race is often full of incident, especially when it rains.

It stayed dry, but there was one heated clash between Force India drivers Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon, prompting the safety car to come out after they made contact with each other on lap 30, sending debris onto the track.

Their tense relationship is degrading fast.

Earlier, they touched wheels as Ocon moved on the outside, with Perez responding by squeezing the Frenchman against the barrier.

Ricciardo showed great race intelligence and opportunism to pass Bottas after the safety car incident.

“I knew we had been given a bit of an opportunity at that restart so it is great to capitalise on that,” Ricciardo said.

However, teammate Max Verstappen’s hopes of a first win this season ended on lap eight when his Red Bull lost power when he was in fifth place.

“I can’t believe this,” Verstappen said.

His exasperation was understandable; it is the sixth time this season he has failed to finish the race, and some 80,000 Dutch fans had crossed the border to cheer him on.