Lewis Hamilton has held off his championship rival Sebastian Vettel to close the gap in the championship to just seven points after taking victory in the Belgian Grand Prix.
The two championship rivals fought hard and cleanly in race long battle where they were able to remain within two seconds of each other. But Hamilton was able to stay in control and successfully fend off the attacks from the Ferrari.
Hamilton has been in strong form all weekend and we knew going into this race Mercedes were going to be the favourites to take the win because of their straight line speed. However, Ferrari was a little closer than I expected.
We know Hamilton and Vettel are the best drivers of the current field, when they go racing against each other we do get these great on track battles.
They mirrored each other practically throughout the race and during the first pit stop, I think Mercedes bring Hamilton in two laps earlier was a key factor. It allowed Hamilton you do the out lap and get back up to racing speeds, while Vettel was preparing to come into the pits.
Hamilton responded upping his pace and getting ahead of Kimi Raikkonen. That was important because Hamilton knows that Raikkonen would have released Vettel anyway.
Mercedes have we know will be looking towards Monza, they will have the upper hand.
Ocon v Perez
On lap 29, it appeared as if Esteban Ocon had the momentum coming out of La Source got alongside Sergio Perez, who took his line squeaking Ocon towards the wall to close him off. But Ocon still had the momentum going alongside hit Perez giving him a puncher.
WE have seen these two team-mates fight very hard this year and if you remember following Baku Force India gave both drivers a warning and said it was “unacceptable” for them to crash into each other. Ocon has accused Perez of “Risking their lives”
He told Channel 4 “Risking our lives for nothing. He risked my life in there, at 300km/h [186mph] down to Eau Rouge. That’s the first thing, the second thing is we lost a lot of points. He’s supposed to be a professional driver, today he didn’t show it. He has not done that with any other teammates, I don’t know why he’s doing it with me.”
Asked if he thought Perez knew he was drawing alongside in their second clash, Ocon replied: “Of course he knew. I accept the first one. We were three-wide, maybe he didn’t see me – even if I think he saw me.”
Perez accepted responsibility for the first coming together, but says t he second incident but believed he would not try to pass until the Kemmel Straight. “I knew he was there but I also knew there was no more space to go, so I just protected my line,” said Perez.
“I thought he was obviously going to make the manoeuvre after Eau Rouge. I didn’t do anything different that I wouldn’t have done to any other drivers. No other driver would have done differently.”
Fernando Alonso has hinted that he could walk away from McLaren following a very difficult Belgian Grand Prix. McLaren was already on the back foot, as Spa is a circuit where they expected to struggle because of the power defect that they have.
Asked by Sky Sports if he would leave McLaren if they renew vows with Honda, Alonso replied: “We will see what happens in the next couple of weekends. McLaren is always one of the best teams in the world and I would be happy to keep working with them but we need to see how things evolve in the next couple of weeks.”
In the race, he suffered another failure the exact cause of which has not been found out yet.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen had a very disappointing ‘home’ Grand Prix, he suffered a “sensor issue or a spark plug issue” on the exit of Eau Rouge on lap seven. He was running fifth when he suffered his sixth retirement because of mechanical issues.
Red Bull boss Christian Horner said “Renault are quite aware that their reliability and product isn’t where it should be,” said Horner. “It’s their business to sort that out.
“We’re a paying customer and it’s obviously below par the service we are seeing at this point in time because [of the] reliability issues, the failures. We pay a hell of a lot of money for the engine. They need to sort it out”
Haas’s Romain Grosjean, P7 “Oh yeah!!! That’s what we wanted after the summer break. Really proud of all the work and improvement from all @HaasF1Team”
Kimi Raikkonen, P “#Kimi7: ‘I guess the result of today could have been worse, but for sure I was looking for more’ #BelgianGP”
Max Verstappen, DNF “So disappointing. What can I say? Just feeling sorry for all the fans. They were the highlight of my weekend #BelgianGP ??”
Esteban Ocon “Damage limitation today, we were having a good race until Perez tried to kill me 2 times! Anyway he didn’t manage to do so ending up P9?!”
- Belgian GP – Result
- BELGIAN GP – Hamilton holds off Vettel in a thrilling race long battle between the title contenders
- Notebook – Belgian Qualifying
- BELGIAN GP – Qualifying Result
- BELGIAN GP – Hamilton edges out Vettel by two-tenths to take another record breaking pole
- Notebook – Belgian Practice
- BELGIAN GP – Hamilton Tops The Times By Two-Tenths In Second Practice Over Raikkonen And Bottas
- BELGIAN GP – Raikkonen goes fastest in first practice by five tenths over Hamilton
- TFTV – Story of 1998 Belgian Grand Prix
- Preview – Belgian Grand Prix