Lewis Hamilton gets his fifth victory of the Formula 1 season at Spa-Francorchamps circuit, in Belgium. Sebastian Vettel has been second, while Ricciardo has closed the podium. Räikkönen managed to finish fourth after recovering from a ten-second stop/go, while Bottas had to settle for fifth. The point-zone was completed by: Hulkenberg, Grosjean, Massa, Ocon and Sainz.
Hamilton was able to hold the first place after a smooth start. The first six places would not change but Alonso would make a great start, moving from tenth to seventh. Hulkenberg was eighth, followed by Ocon and Magnussen. The German overtook the Spaniard at the end of the first lap but the double world champion regained the seventh position after a wonderful move on Kemmel straight. However, the Renault driver would finally surpass Alonso, opening enough gap to avoid the Spaniard from using the DRS. Just behind, Perez would get the tenth position from Magnussen, and both Force India would eventually overtake Alonso. After five laps, Hamilton led, followed by Vettel, Bottas, Räikkönen, Verstappen, Ricciardo, Hulkenberg, Ocon, Perez and Alonso. Wehrlein was forced to abandon his car.
Max Verstappen’s car would let him down on lap 8. He would stop the car on Kemmel straight and would leave it with a clear message to the team: “I can’t believe this”. He was clearly disappointed. Hulkenberg occupied the sixth place, followed by the two Force India, Grosjean and Alonso. Behind him, Massa and Sainz were fighting for the eleventh position.
The first driver to stop in the pits was Ericsson’s, on lap 9, changing to the soft tyre, followed by Magnussen. Ocon, Grosjean and Alonso would pit on lap 11, and the Spaniard would lose his position in favour of Magnussen. The drivers on top would wait a bit more to pit. Hamilton, on the lead, would change to the soft tyre on lap 12. The Brit would get back to the track ahead of Ricciardo. His team-mate Bottas would pit on the following lap, while both Ferrari would stay out on track. Vettel stopped on lap 14, choosing the soft tyre too, but he came back to the track farther from Hamilton (nearly two seconds). After Räikkönen’s pitstop, he would receive a 10-second stop/go penalty for not reducing his speed under yellow flags.
Halfway through, these were the standings: Hamilton, Vettel, Bottas, Ricciardo, Hulkenberg, Räikkönen, Ocon, Perez, Grosjean, Magnussen, Massa, Alonso, Palmer, Stroll, Sainz, Kvyat, Vandoorne and Ericsson. Verstappen and Wehrlein were out.
Perez would receive a five-second penalty for gaining advantage while driving off-track.
While Sainz was starting a great comeback, overtaking Stroll, Palmer and Alonso for the twelfth position, Räikkönen overtook Hulkenberg for the fifth place. In fact, Alonso would abandon the race on lap 26 with engine problems, being thus the third driver incapable of finishing the race. Both Force India would change to the super-soft tyre, and Perez would overtake Ocon. However, Ocon tried to overtake him back on lap 30, causing a touch between his front wing and Perez’s back right tyre. Both had to get into the pits, with Perez suffering a puncture that would cause the deployment of the Safety Car. This would make nearly every driver to go into the pits. Both Mercedes chose new soft tyres, while the Ferrari and Ricciardo preferred the ultra-soft.
The SC would leave the track at the end of lap 33. On the restart, Magunssen lost many positions while both Ricciardo and Räikkönen overtook Bottas. Vettel tried a move on Hamilton but the Briton held the lead. Hulkenberg was sixth, followed by Grosjean, Massa, Ocon and Sainz.
During the final three laps, Vettel would push his car to the limits, getting the fastest lap of the race and trying to get closer to Hamilton, but the Mercedes driver controlled the gap and managed to cross the line first. Ricciardo would finish third after a consistent race. Räikkönen finished fourth, after a great overtake on Bottas, fifth. Hulkenberg was sixth, followed by Grosjean, Massa, Ocon and Sainz. Out of the point-zone would finish: Stroll, Kvyat, Palmer, Vandoorne, Ericsson and Magnussen. Perez, Alonso, Verstappen and Wehrlein did not finish.
Vettel still leads the championship, with only seven points over Hamilton. Bottas holds his third position, clearly ahead of Ricciardo. The next race will be at Monza, Italy, in a week time.