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."