Lewis Hamilton beat Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg to take a dominant win at the Belgian Grand Prix to extend his championship lead.
Hamilton has now won six races this season, and 39 in his F1 career.
That spectacular incident ensured that Frenchman Romain Grosjean, who had mounted a thrilling attack for Lotus in the final laps, took third place in an enthralling race. Under serious pressure from the Lotus, Vettel looked to have it under control….that was until his right rear tyre exploded on the Kemmel Straight on the penultimate lap.
Daniil Kvyat made two strong passes in the closing laps to finish fourth for Red Bull, ahead of Force India’s Sergio Perez, Williams’ Felipe Massa and Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen. “It was partly down to the new rules and also the extra start [Nico Hulkenberg’s Force India had stalled on the grid, resulting in an aborted first start], which puts more temperature into the clutch”. The Formula One Grand Prix 2015 season is really hotting up now and if someone is to catch Hamilton then the next couple of races will be vital.
Nico Rosberg bemoans his start at the Belgian Grand Prix after losing more ground on title rival Lewis Hamilton. He has 227 points to Rosberg’s 199.
“I just completely messed it up, which was annoying”, he admitted.
Things like that are not allowed to happen. He drew alongside the Mercedes driver on the run down to Les Combes – the scene of Hamilton’s collision with Rosberg a year ago – but Hamilton held the inside line and held off the challenge from the Mexican.
Valtteri Bottas, who lost ground from third in the opening laps, wound up only ninth after an already tough race was compounded by a drive-through penalty when the team’s pit crew unfathomably fitted three medium tyres and one soft to his FW37 – a clear contravention of the rules. “But the option [tyre] felt great again – it was like qualifying every lap trying to hunt Lewis down, but he did a great job and it wasn’t enough”. Others included last year’s Spa champion, Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull, whose vehicle came to a halt at a precarious part of the track, prompting the deployment of the Virtual Safety auto – the only one of the race.
Kkeeping his trademark cool despite the accident, Rosberg, who topped the timesheets, added: “A 360 degree spin at 320kph, or 200 miles per hour, is not something you expect at all”. Lotus’ Pastor Maldonado also retired with engine issues, as did Marcus Ericsson of Sauber.
Four-time Spa victor Kimi Raikkonen salvaged seventh in the sole-remaining Ferrari on a forgettable weekend, the Finn holding off eighth-placed Max Verstappen on the final lap.
McLaren’s Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso will start Sunday’s race from the back of the grid after they were dealt a combined 55-place grid penalty.
The Italian company said video footage had showed a tire problem on the German’s vehicle “consistent with an external cut into the tire structure”.