Hamilton wins Belgian GP to extend championship lead

Reigning world champion finishes ahead of teammate Rosberg; Vettel suffers puncture from third on penultimate lap.

Belgium Formula One Grand Prix
Hamilton has now won six races this season [EPA]

Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton won the Belgian Grand Prix from pole position to stretch his lead over Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg to 28 points with eight races remaining.

Rosberg finished two seconds behind the Briton, in a dry race despite teams anxiously studying weather maps for approaching rain in the final stages, to complete Mercedes’ seventh one-two in 11 races.

Drivers’ standings
1.  L Hamilton Mercedes       227    
2.  N Rosberg Mercedes         199    
3.  S Vettel Ferrari      160    
4.  K Raikkonen Ferrari        82     
5.  F Massa Williams          82     
6.  V Bottas Williams      79     
7.  D Kvyat Red Bull          57     
8.  D Ricciardo Red Bull   51     
9.  R Grosjean Lotus          38     
10. M Verstappen Toro Rosso 26 

“Today was a dream and the car was fantastic all weekend,” declared Hamilton, who controlled the race from the opening lap – after an aborted first start – and never looked threatened by his German rival.

“I was never in a position where I felt nervous, I had great pace in the car. There was no real need to push more than I had to,” he added.

France’s Romain Grosjean took an emotional third place for Lotus after Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, in his 150th race and the team’s 900th, suffered a right rear tyre blowout on the penultimate lap.

Hamilton has now won six races this season, and 39 in his Formula One career.

The double champion has 227 points to Rosberg’s 199 and Sunday was also his 80th podium appearance, equalling the achievement of boyhood hero and late triple world champion Ayrton Senna.

Russian Daniil Kvyat finished fourth for Red Bull after a late charge through the field with Mexican Sergio Perez, who had stormed into second place at the start, finishing fifth for Force India.

Brazilian Felipe Massa was sixth for Williams, with Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen seventh after starting in 16th place, and 17-year-old Belgian-born Dutchman Max Verstappen eighth for Toro Rosso.

Race results (top-10:

1. Lewis Hamilton (Britain) Mercedes 1:23:40.387
2. Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes +00:02.058
3. Romain Grosjean (France) Lotus – Mercedes 00:37.988
4. Daniil Kvyat (Russia) RedBull – Renault 00:45.692
5. Sergio Perez (Mexico) Force India – Mercedes 00:53.997
6. Felipe Massa (Brazil) Williams-Mercedes 00:55.283
7. Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Ferrari 00:55.703
8. Max Verstappen (Netherlands) Toro Rosso – Renault 00:56.076
9. Valtteri Bottas (Finland) Williams-Mercedes 01:01.040
10. Marcus Ericsson (Sweden) Sauber – Ferrari

Source: Reuters