Lewis Hamilton cruised to a comfortable fourth Belgian Grand Prix victory ahead of Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen, as he extends his championship lead to 47 points.
Hamilton got a strong getaway to lead Bottas as Verstappen fended off Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo through the opening sector and Les Combes, before controlling third to the flag ahead of the Aussie who finished fourth as the top three all struggled with their tyres at the end.
Speaking immediately post race on his victory despite tyre issues, Hamilton said; “Yes it wasn’t the easiest of races. There was a couple of, I had a lock-up into turn five which started to give a bit of a vibration and then one into the last corner.
“I think the tyre temperatures were slowly dropping no matter how much we were pushing and as you start to lose rubber, you start to lose the temperature in the tyres so it was a little bit of a struggle but nonetheless I think it was okay.”
Esteban Ocon snatched fifth from Alex Albon on the final lap as Lando Norris, Pierre Gasly, Lance Stroll and Sergio Perez rounded out the points.
Williams’ George Russell retired after his car was struck by a loose wheel from Antonio Giovinazzi’s car after the Italian lost the rear on exit of Campus and spun into the barriers, which bounced him back across the circuit.
Hamilton consequently extended his lead over Verstappen in the title race to 47 points as Bottas sits a further three points behind the Dutchman.
McLaren’s Carlos Sainz failed to make the grid after returning to the pits at the end of his reconnaissance lap with an exhaust failure, as the F1 community soon afterwards gathered for a minute silence in honour of F2 driver and Renault Academy member, Anthoine Hubert one year from his tragic death at this circuit.
Once the race began, Hamilton got an electric start to lead from Bottas whilst Verstappen found himself battling Ricciardo throughout the opening sector and through Les Combes, from which he managed to gain control of third until the flag.
Charles Leclerc meanwhile had gained positions and ran as high as eighth in the opening laps before fading after finding himself passed by Gasly on lap three, as the Frenchman opted to start on hard tyres which paid off when the safety car was deployed on lap 11.
Giovinazzi lost the rear of his Alfa Romeo on the exit of Campus and spun into the inside barrier which bounced him back across the track, as several drivers began taking evasive action but a loose wheel from the Italian’s car slid across the track and struck Russell’s front right tyre to send him into the barriers out of control.
Both drivers walked away unharmed as everyone but Gasly and Perez pitted, propelling the pair up to fourth and fifth whilst Albon leapfrogged Ocon in the pit stops.
The safety car returned to the pits at the end of lap 14 with Hamilton comfortably leading Bottas on the restart, despite a power glitch briefly preventing the Brit from receiving full power for two laps.
Sebastian Vettel had endured a torrid restart as he found himself passed by Kimi Raikkonen for 12th on lap 16, before fending off Leclerc just three laps later for 13th as neither Ferrari cars threatened the top ten for remainder of the race en route to 13th and 14th placed finishes respectively.
Ricciardo and Albon quickly caught up to Perez and managed to get past the Mexican at Les Combes and Bus Stop chicanes on lap 17, with Ricciardo then catching and passing Gasly four laps later to clinch fourth whilst Albon had to wait until lap 24 before making his own way past the Frenchman.
Ocon followed through on his compatriot two laps later with Gasly immediately pitting to slip to 17th and last position on track, although he and Perez who had pitted at end of lap 18 managed to unleash fast laps to quickly clear the Williams of Nicholas Latifi plus the three Ferrari powered teams of Haas, Ferrari and Alfa Romeo’s Raikkonen.
Perez managed to break back into the top ten on lap 33 when he passed Raikkonen with DRS on the Kemmel Straight, with Gasly doing so just three laps afterwards when Kvyat allowed him past at the Bus Stop after getting passed by Perez into Les Combes earlier that lap.
Norris was the solo McLaren driver in this race and managed to get Stroll for seventh on lap 37 after the Canadian struggled for mechanical grip in his hard tyres, eventually falling back to ninth after Gasly got past Perez then him in the closing stages to complete the top ten.
The front three meanwhile had spread out with Hamilton leading Bottas by around six seconds despite both drivers running wide at the final corner on consecutive laps, with Verstappen a further six seconds back in third and complaining of car vibrations.
Hamilton ultimately clung on for the win ahead of Bottas and Verstappen with Ricciardo finishing fourth, despite closing in on Verstappen who was struggling badly come the final lap with his tyres.
Ocon meanwhile had reeled in Albon who had taken medium tyres at his pit stop unlike everyone else on the prime strategy, managing to make the pass with help of DRS on the Kemmel Straight on the final lap to take fifth with Norris failing to make a move as he finished seventh.
|2||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||44||+ 8.448|
|3||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||44||+ 15.455|
|4||Daniel Ricciardo||Renault||44||+ 18.877|
|5||Esteban Ocon||Renault||44||+ 40.650|
|6||Alex Albon||Red Bull||44||+ 42.712|
|7||Lando Norris||McLaren||44||+ 43.774|
|8||Pierre Gasly||Alpha Tauri||44||+ 47.371|
|9||Lance Stroll||Racing Point||44||+ 52.603|
|10||Sergio Perez||Racing Point||44||+ 53.179|
|11||Daniil Kvyat||Alpha Tauri||44||+ 70.200|
|12||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo||44||+ 71.504|
|13||Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari||44||+ 72.894|
|14||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||44||+ 74.920|
|15||Romain Grosjean||Haas||44||+ 76.793|
|16||Nicholas Latifi||Williams||44||+ 77.795|
|17||Kevin Magnussen||Haas||44||+ 85.540|
|18||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||10||Spin|