Sebastian Vettel and Scuderia Ferrari won the Belgian Grand Prix today at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps.
Vettel was second on the grid alongside pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes. The start went off normally but a McLaren was soon flying through the air as Fernando Alonso was hit by Nico Hulkenberg.
All eyes were back on the leaders after the incident and Vettel immediately got past Hamilton on the Kemmel climb to take the lead. Right after that, the Safety Car came out and four laps went by before the restart. Vettel fought off the advances of his pursuers and was able to build a slight lead.
Hamilton was not far behind and the pair watched one another, waiting for the pit stops to begin. Hamilton was the first to come in at half distance and Vettel stepped up the pace prior to pitting. After his turn to pit, he emerged still leading the race.
With 15 laps to the flag, the Ferrari set the pace by over four seconds and the key would be tyre management. With five laps to go, the gap was seven seconds and growing, and at the chequered flag, it was Vettel with a winning time of one hour 23 minutes 34.476 seconds.
Hamilton finished second 11.061s behind, while Max Verstappen of Red Bull Racing came third 31.372 back.
After the race, Vettel commented: “I’m very happy because we had a great race, the car now has proved to be robust on all tracks and this weekend we got a little more power from the new engine, which I think also helped us down the straights.
“At the start I tried to stay close to Lewis, getting a good exit out of Turn 1 and then taking advantage of the slipstream to get past. After the Safety car pulled out, it was just the other way round, so I looked after the exit of Turn 1 to stay ahead.
“The first stint was very close, only a couple of seconds between us; but then the guys did a fantastic pit-stop, I could not believe the light had turned green so fast, and that gave our rivals no chance. The second stint was more about managing the car and the tyres for both of us.
“This is a great win for the whole team and hope in Monza it will be the same, but we need to keep fighting to be always up there.”
With the result, Vettel closed the gap in the Drivers’ championship to 17 points, while the Scuderia had lost a further five in the Constructors’ because of Kimi Raikkonen’s early retirement.
The Formula 1 season resumes next weekend with the Italian Grand Prix in Monza.