Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 18 September 2020

Formula One: relentless Lewis Hamilton wins the Belgian Grand Prix to extend lead in drivers' championship

Brit and teammate Bottas complete another Mercedes one-two, with Verstappen third at Spa-Francorchamps

Lewis Hamilton stormed to victory at the Belgian Grand Prix and extended his lead as he looks to seal a record-equalling seventh World Championship.

The Mercedes driver led every lap from pole position to claim his fifth win of an increasingly one-sided Formula One campaign.

Valtteri Bottas took the chequered flag at Spa-Francorchamps 8.4 seconds behind his team-mate with Red Bull driver Max Verstappen in third.

Renault's Daniel Ricciardo was fourth and grabbed an extra point for the fastest lap.

Hamilton's fifth win from seven races also extended his championship lead over Verstappen to 47 points with Bottas drifting 50 back in third. Hamilton looks in prime position to equal Michael Schumacher's record.

Schumacher won five of those F1 titles consecutively during a glorious era for Ferrari, but the proud Italian team is struggling badly now. Sebastian Vettel finished 13th and Charles Leclerc 14th.

They are not able to get anywhere close to Hamilton in terms of speed, let alone challenge him.

"It wasn't the easiest of races," said Hamilton. "I had a lock-up into turn five which gave me a vibration on the tyre.

"It was a bit of a struggle. I was nervous we might have a scenario like Silverstone where I had the puncture so I was nursing it to the end.

"I know it is not what everyone wants to see – a Mercedes at the front – but no matter how much success we have we just keep our heads down.

"Back at the office, there are no guys celebrating. It is all about how we can win the next race and it is an incredible environment to be in.

"I am 35 going towards 36 but I feel better than ever so that is a positive."

Having secured a record-extending 93rd career pole, which he dedicated to American actor Chadwick Boseman, Hamilton made a clean start and Bottas was unable to exert pressure on the long straight up to Turn 2.

“I just couldn’t catch him,” Bottas said. “Lewis was faultless today.”

Verstappen would love a faster car to take the fight to Hamilton, but Red Bull has yet to bridge the gap to Mercedes.

“It was pretty boring to be honest, not much to do," Verstappen said. “It was not really enjoyable out there.”

British driver George Russell emerged unscathed from a harrowing accident which saw his Williams hit by Antonio Giovinazzi's wheel after he crashed out.

Early into the 44-lap race, Williams driver George Russell and Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi crashed heavily but were both unharmed.

McLaren driver Carlos Sainz Jr. failed to start because of an exhaust failure.

A minute's silence was held before the race in memory of French driver Anthoine Hubert, who died here last year following a horrific crash during an F2 race.

F1 driver Pierre Gasly, who was close friends with Hubert, and other drivers gathered solemnly around a picture of Hubert on the grid. His racing helmet was placed on a stand.

Updated: August 30, 2020 07:52 PM

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