Vettel beats Hamilton to Belgian GP win

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel strikes back and wins the Belgian GP to narrow the deficit in the championship to Mercedes Lewis Hamilton, who finishes in 2nd, with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in 3rd.

26/08/18

Grid Formation

1.Hamilton  2.Vettel  3.Ocon  4.Perez  5.Grosjean  6.Raikkonen  7.Verstappen  8.Ricciardo  9.Magnussen  10.Gasly  11.Hartley  12.Leclerc  13.Ericsson  14.Alonso  15.Sirotkin  16.Stroll  17.Bottas*  18.Hulkenberg*  19.Sainz*  20.Vandoorne*

Bottas*, Hulkenberg*, Sainz* and Vandoorne* have all taken various engine penalties. Bottas and Hulkenberg announced earlier this week with Sainz and Vandoorne announcing that they were taking these penalties earlier this morning.

Race

The lights go out and it’s a good start by Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel as both go side-by-side at turn 1. Behind, Fernando Alonso gets airborne as the Spaniard gets hit from Nico Hulkenberg. Alonso hits Charles Leclerc and goes over the top of the Sauber. Alonso is out. Along the Camel Straight, Hamilton and Vettel go side-by-side as both the Force India’s of Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez get in on the action as well. They are four abreast but Vettel takes the lead as the Safety Car is out. Hulkenberg and Leclerc are also out.

Kimi Raikkonen has pitted as the Finn had sustained a puncture on the right-rear tyre. Daniel Ricciardo pits and has a broken rear wing. Red Bull have pulled the Australian into the pits and are trying to fix the rear wing. Raikkonen is now on the Medium tyre along with Stoffel Vandoorne who also pitted. A replay on board with Valterri Bottas shows that the Finn hit Sergey Sirotkin and broke a bit of his front wing. Ricciardo is back out on track albeit a few laps down. Lap 4, the Safety Car comes in and racing resumes on lap 5.

Sebastian Vettel holds the lead of the race as himself and Lewis Hamilton start to pull away from the two Force India’s behind. Max Verstappen is now 5th with Valterri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen in 14th and 15th. Lap 7, Verstappen overtakes Esteban Ocon down the inside of turn 4 for 4th place, Lap 8, Raikkonen pits and Ferrari tweak his front wing and falls back to 16th. Lap 9, Bottas overtakes Carlos Sainz for 12th place into turn 4. Raikkonen returns to the pits and retires from the race. Lap 10, Verstappen overtakes Sergio Perez fro 3rd into turn 4.

Lap 12, Valterri Bottas overtakes Sergey Sirotkin for 10th place down the inside of turn 4. Lap 17, Bottas now overtakes the Sauber of Marcus Ericsson for 9th place before turn 4. Lap 19, the gap between Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton has stabilised to around 3.4 seconds. Who will be the first to blink? Bottas has now overtaken Pierre Gasly for 8th. The target position for Bottas today is to finish 4th. Lap 22, Hamilton pits from 2nd. The Mercedes driver goes onto the Soft tyre and rejoins in 3rd. Vettel reacts. The Ferrari driver pits. He goes onto the Soft tyre and rejoins in the lead ahead of Max Verstappen and Hamilton. Hamilton overtakes Verstappen for 2nd down into turn 4. Verstappen is still yet to pit.

Lap 24, Romain Grosjean pits for Haas. The Frenchman goes onto the Soft tyre as Lance Stroll pits as well for Williams. Lap 25, Esteban Ocon pits. The Frenchman goes onto the Soft tyre and rejoins in 8th. Lap 26, Sergio Perez pits. The Mexican goes onto the Soft tyre and rejoins in 5th. Pierre Gasly also pits. The Toro Rosso driver goes onto the Soft tyre an rejoins in 11th. Lap 27, Max Verstappen pits from 3rd. The Dutchman rejoins on the Soft tyre and remains in 3rd. Lap 30, Valterri Bottas pits from 4th. The Finn goes onto the Soft tyre and rejoins in 6th.

Lap 31, after running around a lap down after the Safety Car restart, Daniel Ricciardo becomes the 5th retirement of the race. Lap 33, Valterri Bottas overtakes Esteban Ocon for 5th place. Sebastian Vettel’s lead has grown to 5.3 seconds over Lewis Hamilton. Lap 40, Bottas has caught up to the back of Sergio Perez and the Finn overtakes the Mexican for 4th place. Lap 41, Vettel’s gap has now grown to 8.5 seconds as Hamilton has seemed to have backed off.

Lap 44, Sebastian Vettel crosses the line to win the Belgian GP ahead of Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen. Hamilton’s championship lead has been cut to 17 points after Vettel’s win today. Needless to say, a very important win for Vettel and Ferrari. Next stop: Monza!

Race Result

  1. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, 44 Laps (52nd Career win & Fans Driver of the Day)
  2. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, +11.061s
  3. Max Verstappen, Red Bull, +31.372s
  4. Valterri Bottas, Mercedes, +63.605s (DHL Fastest Lap Award)
  5. Sergio Perez, Racing Point Force India, +71.023s
  6. Esteban Ocon, Racing Point Force India, +79.520s
  7. Romain Grosjean, Haas, +85.953s
  8. Kevin Magnussen, Haas, +87.639s
  9. Pierre Gasly, Toro Rosso, +105.892s
  10. Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, + 1 Lap
  11. Sergey Sirotkin, Williams. + 1 Lap
  12. Lance Stroll, Williams, + 1 Lap
  13. Carlos Sainz Jr, Renault, + 1 Lap
  14. Brendon Hartley, Toro Rosso, + 1 Lap
  15. Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren, + 1 Lap
  • Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, DNF
  • Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, DNF
  • Charles Leclerc, Sauber, DNF
  • Fernando Alonso, McLaren, DNF
  • Nico Hulkenberg, Renault, DNF

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