Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel executed a brilliant pass of Mercedes-AMG's Lewis Hamilton on the first lap of Sunday's Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix and didn't look back, winning the race with an 11-second gap to Hamilton.
Both drivers were lucky to avoid a major collision in the first corner, caused when Renault's Nico Hulkenberg braked late and ran into the back of McLaren's Fernando Alonso. The impact sent Alonso's car into the air, clipping the rear wing of the Sauber of Charles Leclerc in the process and calling out the safety car. Hulkenberg was given a 10-place grid penalty for the action.
Red Bull Racing's Daniel Ricciardo also suffered major damage to his rear wing because of the impact. He also ran into into Kimi Räikkönen, causing the Ferrari driver to lose his right rear tire. Ricciardo would continue to race with a repaired wing but later retired after failing to catch up with the rest of the pack. Räikkönen pitted during the safety car period but later retired due to extensive damage to his car.
Four laps went by before the safety car was called away, at which point Vettel fought off the advances of his pursuers and was able to build a slight lead which he maintained to the end. Meanwhile Max Verstappen delighted the numerous Dutch fans that made their way down to the Spa-Francorchamps racetrack with a podium finish. He crossed the line 31 seconds behind Vettel after impressive passes of Force India drivers Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez on the Kemmel straight.
2018 Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix
Meanwhile, Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas, who started the race at the back of the grid due to an engine upgrade, also ran into the rear of Williams' Sergey Sirotkin in the first corner action. Sirotkin was able to continue but Bottas needed to pit for a new nose. The Mercedes driver did an impressive job to finish fourth. Rounding out the top five was Perez.
Thanks to his latest win, the 52nd of his career, Vettel now moves moves past Alain Prost to claim third on both the all-time podium finishes list and the all-time winners’ list, with 107 podium finishes and 52 wins. Nevertheless, he still trails Hamilton in the 2018 Drivers' Championship. The Mercedes driver has 231 points versus the 214 of Vettel. Räikkönen is third with 146 points. In the Constructors' Championship, Mercedes leads with 375 points versus the 360 of Ferrari and 238 of Red Bull.
The next race on the calendar is the Italian Grand Prix on this weekend.
Hit the next page for the full results from the 2018 Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix.
Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel at the 2018 Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix
Below are the full results from the 2018 Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix.
1) Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari
2) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG +11.061 seconds
3) Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing +31.372 seconds
4) Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes-AMG +68.605 seconds
5) Sergio Perez, Force India +71.023 seconds
6) Esteban Ocon, Force India +79.520 seconds
7) Romain Grosjean, Haas +85.953 seconds
8) Kevin Magnussen, Haas +87.639 seconds
9) Pierre Gasly, Toro Rosso +105.892 seconds
10) Marcus Ericsson, Sauber +1 lap
11) Carlos Sainz, Renault +1 lap
12) Sergey Sirotkin, Williams +1 lap
13) Lance Stroll, Williams +1 lap
14) Brendon Hartley, Toro Rosso +1 lap
15) Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren +1 lap
Ret) Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing
Ret) Kimi Räikkönen, Ferrari
Ret) Charles Leclerc, Sauber
Ret) Fernando Alonso, McLaren
Ret) Nico Hulkenberg, Renault