Mercedes AMG’s Lewis Hamilton at the 2017 Formula 1 Belgian Grand PrixEnlarge Photo
Mercedes AMG’s Lewis Hamilton claimed victory on Sunday at the 2017 Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix.
It was a closely contested battle that went right down to the wire, with Hamilton requiring everything he could muster to hold off Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel. The Ferrari driver eventually crossed the line 2.358 seconds behind the winner.
In a brilliant drive, Red Bull Racing’s Danial Ricciardo claimed the third and final spot on the podium. He finished 10.791 seconds behind Hamilton.
Hamilton started the race on pole, the 68th time he’s done so—a tally that equals the record achieved by Michael Schumacher. And things largely went smoothly for the Briton although Vettel was always behind and showed better pace through most of the race.
2017 Formula 1 Belgian Grand PrixEnlarge Photo
On lap 8, Red Bull’s other driver, Max Verstappen, lost power in his car and was forced to retire, continuing the Dutch driver's string of bad luck this season. The yellow flags came out but were unnoticed by Ferrari’s other driver, Kimi Räikkönen, who received a 10.0-second stop-go penalty as a result.
Meanwhile, there was more drama between Force India drivers Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez. Having already come into contact on the first lap, the two later had a more violent impact that brought out the safety car on lap 30. Perez had attempted to get past Ocon but ended up squeezing his teammate toward the old pit wall.
Perez lost his right rear wheel after the collision while Ocon sustained some damage to his front wing. At this point, the leading teams Mercedes and Ferrari immediately called in its drivers for fresh tires. Mercedes went with the soft compound while Ferrari selected the supersofts.
The safety car exited toward the end of lap 33. Vettel kept the pressure on Hamilton but was unable to get past. Meanwhile, Räikkönen and Ricciardo were able to jump past Mercedes’ other man, Valtteri Bottas, after he ran wide at a corner. Vettel was still showing more pace than Hamilton, even setting the fastest lap of the race on lap 40, but it wasn’t enough for the win.
Despite Hamilton's win, Vettel still leads the 2017 Drivers’ Championship with 220 points. Hamilton is second with 213 points and Bottas is third with 179 points. In the Constructors’ Championship, Mercedes leads with 392 points versus the 348 of Ferrari and 199 of Red Bull. The next race on the calendar is the Italian Grand Prix at Monza this weekend.