Saturday, September 19, 2020
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Hamilton takes dominant win in Belgium

Lewis Hamilton

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton dominated the Belgian Grand Prix to take his fifth victory in seven races this year and the 89th of his career.

Hamilton headed team-mate Valtteri Bottas to a Mercedes one-two, from Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.

The victory puts Hamilton 47 points – almost two clear wins – ahead of Verstappen in the championship.

The Briton is two victories away from Michael Schumacher’s all-time record and set to equal his seven titles.

Lewis Hamilton
Hamilton paid tribute to actor Chadwick Boseman, star of the superhero movie Black Panther, who has passed away from cancer aged 43

Total domination

It was another imperious performance from Hamilton, his fifth win in the last six races.

He took pole position from Bottas by more than half a second on Saturday, held on in front on the first lap, always a challenge at Spa with the long run from the La Source hairpin up the hill to Les Combes, and never looked back.

He is turning the season into one of total domination and looks unbeatable as he seeks to make Formula 1 history.

It was a staid race at the front, Hamilton too quick for Bottas and the Finn with enough to hold off Verstappen, as all three measured their pace to ensure their tyres held on for a long final stint after being forced into an early pit stop because of a safety car.

Lewis Hamilton ahead of Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen
Hamilton says he feels “better than ever” at the age of 35 in his racing career

That was triggered on lap 10 when Antonio Giovinazzi lost control of his Alfa Romeo at the exit of the Fagnes chicane and bounced back onto the track, a stray front wheel from his car also wiping out George Russell’s Williams.

It was the second Belgian Grand Prix in succession in which the Italian has crashed out on his own.

That meant a stop for all the leaders, and as the race ticked on Hamilton began to express his concerns about his right front tyre, his mind on the blow-out on the final lap that almost cost him victory at Silverstone last month.

In the end, though, he had everything under control, as he seems to have for the season as a whole.

Behind the top three

Daniel Ricciardo drove an excellent race in the Renault to turn his fourth place on the grid into the same result, well clear of the rest of the field, headed in the end by his team-mate Esteban Ocon, who took fifth place from Red Bull’s Alexander Albon on the final lap.

Albon managed to hold off McLaren’s Lando Norris, who made it a three-way battle between them in the closing laps.

Alpha Tauri’s Pierre Gasly and the Racing Points of Lance Stroll and Sergio Perez completed the top 10, Gasly and Perez using off-set strategies and not stopping under the safety car but fighting back through the field after later stops with fresher tyres.

Oh, Ferrari

Ferrari
Ferrari had another miserable race day with Vettel and Leclerc unable to score points

It was a dire race for Ferrari, who started 13th and 14th and finished in the same positions, with Sebastian Vettel ahead of Charles Leclerc, both cars beaten by the Ferrari-engined Alfa Romeo of Kimi Raikkonen.

Leclerc made a great start to move upon to eighth place on the first lap from 13th on the grid, but the car’s lack of straight-line speed meant he dropped back down the field, cars picking him off on consecutive laps.

Ferrari switched him to a two-stop strategy, which dropped him to the back, but even so he took several laps to pass Romain Grosjean’s Ferrari-powered Haas in the closing stages.

Driver of the day

Daniel Ricciardo
Ricciardo, for an outstanding performance all weekend in the Renault. The fans’ vote went to Gasly, who was also excellent all afternoon

What happens next?

Another weekend, another race – in Italy at historic Monza. Hamilton is on a roll, and Ferrari could even be in worse shape there than they were at Spa.

What they said

Lewis Hamilton: “It wasn’t the easiest of races. I had a lock up into Turn 5 which started to give a bit of vibration and the tyre temps were slowly dropping. I am 35 going towards 36 but I feel better than ever. That is a positive and I am really grateful to the team.”

Valtteri Bottas: “Of course at the start it would have been a good opportunity but Lewis played it well and I couldn’t really get momentum. I think Lewis was faultless today and yesterday he was quick. It was a clean weekend for me. I’m just happy there’s an opportunity again next weekend.”

Max Verstappen: “It was pretty boring. Not much to do. I couldn’t keep up with them when they started pushing. The last eight laps I was just backing it out and saving the tyres. It was not really enjoyable out there today. It was a bit lonely.”

Minute's silence for Hubert
There was a minute’s silence before the race for Formula 2 driver Antoine Hubert, who died at Spa last year
Drivers take the knee or stand during the anti-racism protest
Drivers take the knee or stand during the anti-racism protest
Lewis Hamilton holds two thumbs up on the podium
Hamilton is level with British driver Jim Clark and Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen with four victories at Spa

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