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Qualifying and Race images from the 2017 Belgian Grand Prix

F1: Hamilton closes gap with victory in Belgium

Aug 272017

Lewis Hamilton celebrated his 200th Formula One race in awesome style this weekend following a tense victory at the Belgian Grand Prix. The Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport Team driver also slashed Sebastian Vettel's lead in the 2017 drivers' championship to seven points, ahead of the next race in Italy.

Lewis, who had started on pole after a blistering lap in qualifying, that equaled Michael Schumacher's record of 68 pole positions, was pushed all the way from the lights to the chequered flag by Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.

A full house at the legendary Spa-Francorchamps circuit, nestled in the rolling Ardenne mountain range, made for a sensational setting for what turned out to be a titanic duel between the two current championship contenders. It was also a fight that could point towards a thrilling conclusion to the season, as F1 returned from its traditional mid-season break.

Lewis escaped a nervy period late on when a safety car period allowed Vettel the opportunity to squeeze past at the restart. The incident proved nothing more than a mere speed bump in the road though, as the triple World Champion kept a cool head and regained track position; despite Vettel's Ferrari having the quicker ultra soft tyre.

Clearly relishing his fight with Vettel, Lewis said: "It's an amazing feeling to come back into the season and start off with a win. The Ferraris finished on the right foot going into the break but they've really put in a fantastic fight today. The speed and pace they had was very strong.

"There was not a point at which I would say that I could be comfortable in the race. For both of us it was a case of pushing every single lap, which is more like a sprint race. That's really how racing should be: no room for error; no room for any mistakes - because if I'd had the smallest mistake, he would have picked up on it. There were clearly strengths and weaknesses from both sides: strengths on our car and strengths on their car. We were constantly exchanging best lap times. This is definitely a good start to the second half of the season; and looking ahead to the next race."

While Lewis celebrated his 58th career win in F1, his Silver Arrows teammate, Valtteri Bottas, had to settle for fifth place after a difficult weekend in Belgium. Valtteri, who is now focusing on the next Grand Prix in Italy for race success, said: "Today's race and result were a big disappointment; it's been an all-round difficult weekend for me. It would have been nice to at least be on the podium and score good points for us as a team."


After a solid performance, Valtteri was caught out at the restart, when he was leapfrogged by Kimi Raikkonen and Daniel Ricciardo. Valtteri explained: "After the safety car restart, I was on the soft tyres, but the guys who overtook me were on the ultrasofts. I was on the back foot, struggled with grip and could not fight them. This has been the most difficult weekend for me, so I need to learn a lot from it because I wasn't quick enough. I need to analyse my mistakes quickly, and then hopefully come back stronger."


Stay tuned as the Silver Arrows and the entire Formula One paddock descend on the legendary Autodromo Nazionale Monza circuit in a week’s time for the Italian Grand Prix.


1. Lewis Hamilton - Mercedes - 44 - 1h24m42.820s

2. Sebastian Vettel - Ferrari - 44 - 2.358s

3. Daniel Ricciardo - Red Bull/Renault - 44 - 10.791s

4. Kimi Raikkonen - Ferrari - 44 - 14.471s

5. Valtteri Bottas - Mercedes - 44 - 16.456s

6. Nico Hulkenberg - Renault - 44 - 28.087s

7. Romain Grosjean - Haas/Ferrari - 44 - 31.553s

8. Felipe Massa - Williams/Mercedes - 44 - 36.649s

9. Esteban Ocon - Force India/Mercedes - 44 - 38.154s

10. Carlos Sainz - Toro Rosso/Renault - 44 - 39.447s

11. Lance Stroll - Williams/Mercedes - 44 - 48.999s

12. Daniil Kvyat - Toro Rosso/Renault - 44 - 49.940s

13. Jolyon Palmer - Renault - 44 - 53.239s

14. Stoffel Vandoorne - McLaren/Honda - 44 - 57.078s

15. Kevin Magnussen - Haas/Ferrari - 44 - 1m07.262s

16. Marcus Ericsson - Sauber/Ferrari - 44 - 1m09.711s

17. Sergio Perez Force - India/Mercedes - 42 - Accident

- Fernando Alonso - McLaren/Honda - 25 - Engine

- Max Verstappen - Red Bull/Renault - 7 - Engine

- Pascal Wehrlein - Sauber/Ferrari - 2 - Suspension