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Belgian GP: Hamilton keeps Vettel at bay to win

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Belgian GP: Hamilton keeps Vettel at bay to win
By:
Aug 27, 2017, 1:37 PM

Lewis Hamilton defeated Formula 1 title rival Sebastian Vettel in the Belgian Grand Prix to close the gap in the championship to seven points.

Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H leads Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-Benz F1 W08
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W08, Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H, Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 W08 and Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H leads Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-Benz F1 W08
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-Benz F1 W08 leads at the start of the race
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-Benz F1 W08 leads at the start of the race
Fernando Alonso, McLaren MCL32, battles Nico Hulkenberg, Renault Sport F1 Team RS17, ahead of Esteban Ocon, Sahara Force India F1 VJM10, Kevin Magnussen, Haas F1 Team VF-17
Nico Hulkenberg, Renault Sport F1 Team RS17, Fernando Alonso, McLaren MCL32, Esteban Ocon, Sahara Force India F1 VJM10
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-Benz F1 W08 leads at the start of the race
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W08. leads Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H, Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 W08, Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13 and Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB13
The start of the race
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-Benz F1 W08 leads at the start of the race
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W08, Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H, Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 W08 and Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W08, Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W08, Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H, Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 W08, Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13 and Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB13, at the start
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 W08, Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13, Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB13, Fernando Alonso, McLaren MCL32, Sergio Perez, Sahara Force India F1 VJM10
Felipe Massa, Williams FW40, Jolyon Palmer, Renault Sport F1 Team RS17

The Mercedes driver managed a late safety car and a tyre disadvantage to fend off Vettel with relative ease, as Daniel Ricciardo claimed a surprise third for Red Bull.

Hamilton made a good start from pole position and built a 1.7s lead before stopping for new soft tyres on lap 12 of 44.

Vettel ran two laps longer in the opening stint and rejoined two seconds behind Hamilton, who cleared the second Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen the lap before Vettel pitted.

A great first full flying lap for Vettel took 1.2s out of Hamilton's lead and thrust the Ferrari into DRS range, but Hamilton responded immediately.

He built his advantage up to two seconds, but a safety car changed the complexion of the race entirely.

Force India duo Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez had clashed on the run to Eau Rouge on the opening lap, then came together in more dramatic fashion on lap 29.

Fighting over a net seventh, Ocon cut back on his teammate exiting La Source, only for Perez to edge across and break Ocon's front wing with his right-rear tyre.

That caused Perez's tyre to deflate entering Eau Rouge and the pair littered the track with debris.

The field swapped tyres under the caution, with Hamilton taking softs to Vettel's ultrasofts and then complaining over the radio as the safety car remained on track for three laps.

Vettel was tucked up underneath the Mercedes' rear wing through Eau Rouge and Raidillon at the restart and pulled alongside as Hamilton defended on the run to Les Combes.

Hamilton hung on, and found enough pace on the slower tyre to bump Vettel out of DRS range and gradually extend his lead until the end to win by 2.3s.

Ricciardo started the race sixth but made his way to the podium, at a track not suited to the Renault-powered Red Bull, with a blend of fortune and opportunism.

Max Verstappen suffered a mechanical problem early on and stopped at the side of the track exiting Eau Rouge.

Raikkonen failed to slow sufficiently under the yellow flags that were thrown while Verstappen's car was recovered and had to serve a 10-second stop-go penalty.

That meant Ricciardo ran fourth under the late safety car, and used a slipstream and ultrasoft tyres at the restart to nail Valtteri Bottas's soft-shod Mercedes into Les Combes.

Raikkonen dived inside Bottas at the same time to recover to fourth, as Bottas finished a muted fifth having run comfortably in third before the caution.

Nico Hulkenberg finished best of the rest for Renault with a quiet but excellent drive, while Grosjean and Felipe Massa took advantage of the messy race to claims seventh and eighth.

Ocon, who labelled Perez a "f****** idiot" over the radio, recovered to ninth as Perez eventually retired, while Carlos Sainz took the final point.

Fernando Alonso ran as high as seventh but gradually fell back down the order and eventually retired with an "engine problem" in his McLaren-Honda.

ClaDriverChassisEngineGap
1 united_kingdom Lewis Hamilton  Mercedes Mercedes 1:24'42.820
2 germany Sebastian Vettel  Ferrari Ferrari 2.358
3 australia Daniel Ricciardo  Red Bull TAG 10.791
4 finland Kimi Raikkonen  Ferrari Ferrari 14.471
5 finland Valtteri Bottas  Mercedes Mercedes 16.456
6 germany Nico Hulkenberg  Renault Renault 28.087
7 france Romain Grosjean  Haas Ferrari 31.553
8 brazil Felipe Massa  Williams Mercedes 36.649
9 france Esteban Ocon  Force India Mercedes 38.154
10 spain Carlos Sainz Jr.  Toro Rosso Renault 39.447
11 canada Lance Stroll  Williams Mercedes 48.999
12 russia Daniil Kvyat  Toro Rosso Renault 49.940
13 united_kingdom Jolyon Palmer  Renault Renault 53.239
14 belgium Stoffel Vandoorne  McLaren Honda 57.078
15 denmark Kevin Magnussen  Haas Ferrari 1'07.262
16 sweden Marcus Ericsson  Sauber Ferrari 1'09.711
  mexico Sergio Perez  Force India Mercedes  
  spain Fernando Alonso  McLaren Honda  
  netherlands Max Verstappen  Red Bull TAG  
  germany Pascal Wehrlein  Sauber Ferrari  
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