Hamilton wins hectic Belgian Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton took victory in the Belgian Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton took victory in the Belgian Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton has taken the lead of the Formula One world championship with a dominating win in trying conditions at the Spa Francorchamps circuit in Belgium.

The Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver beat title rival Mark Webber off the line at the start when Webber bogged down. From there, rain, incidents and safety cars could not stop Hamilton from taking his first win at the famous Spa track.

However, Hamilton had a massive scare when he went off the track and (ever so slightly) brushed the tyre wall with just a handful of laps to go. The Brit survived it to record the victory.

The win has placed Hamilton ahead of Webber in the title, albeit by three points.

Hamilton said after the race that he wanted a “smooth” – a rarity at the Belgian circuit.

“It was a great weekend – a very, very tough race,” he said.

“I was praying for a race that went smoothly. The team did a remarkable job. We’re obviously pushing, and we’re not as fast as these guys (Red Bull) in all the places yet.”

Webber was hampered by the start issue, which dropped him to fifth, but he was able to pick his way through, taking advantage of a clash between Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button, plus a pit misdemeanour by Renault’s Robert Kubica.

Vettel attempted an early pass on Button but misjudged, slamming into the McLaren’s sidepod. Button was instantly out, all but ending his championship chances, while Vettel was given a drive-through penalty.

Kubica looked set to take second place having maintained that position for the majority of the event until he overshot his pit slot during a late stop for intermediates when it began to rain.

Australian Webber was pleased to take second place – now three points behind Hamilton but 28 points clear of team-mate Vettel.

“I’m happy with second,” Webber said.

“These days, it is easy to come away with nothing. Everyone did there bit today, we picked up some points.”

Finishing fourth was Felipe Massa, salvaging something from the weekend for Ferrari. Massa’s team-mate Fernando Alonso was in many worlds of hurt, taken out early by Rubens Barrichello before sealing his fate against the tyre wall with a few laps to go.

Adrian Sutil took a season-best fifth place for Force India, ahead of Mercedes pair Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher – both of whom started down the rear after taking grid spot penalties.

Rounding out the top 10 was Kamui Kobayashi (Sauber), Vitaly Petrov (Renualt) and Jaime Alguersuari (Toro Rosso).

The next round of the championship will be held at Monza, Italy, in two weeks time.

Belgian Grand Prix results

Pos Driver Team Laps Time/Retired Grid
1 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 44 Winner 2
2 Mark Webber RBR-Renault 44 +1.5 secs 1
3 Robert Kubica Renault 44 +3.4 secs 3
4 Felipe Massa Ferrari 44 +8.2 secs 6
5 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 44 +9.0 secs 8
6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP 44 +12.3 secs 14
7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP 44 +15.5 secs 21
8 Kamui Kobayashi BMW Sauber-Ferrari 44 +16.6 secs 17
9 Vitaly Petrov Renault 44 +23.8 secs 23
10 Jaime Alguersuari STR-Ferrari 44 +29.4 secs 11
11 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 44 +34.8 secs 12
12 Pedro de la Rosa BMW Sauber-Ferrari 44 +36.0 secs 24
13 Sebastien Buemi STR-Ferrari 44 +39.8 secs 16
14 Nico Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth 43 +1 Lap 9
15 Sebastian Vettel RBR-Renault 43 +1 Lap 4
16 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 43 +1 Lap 13
17 Lucas di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 43 +1 Lap 22
18 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 43 +1 Lap 20
19 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 43 +1 Lap 15
20 Sakon Yamamoto HRT-Cosworth 42 +2 Laps 19
Ret Fernando Alonso Ferrari 37 +7 Laps 10
Ret Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 15 Accident 5
Ret Bruno Senna HRT-Cosworth 5 +39 Laps 18
Ret Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 0 Accident 7

Formula One World title points

Pos Driver Team Points
1 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 182
2 Mark Webber RBR-Renault 179
3 Sebastian Vettel RBR-Renault 151
4 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 147
5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 141
6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 109
7 Robert Kubica Renault 104
8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP 102
9 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 45
10 Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP 44
11 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 30
12 Kamui Kobayashi BMW Sauber-Ferrari 21
13 Vitaly Petrov Renault 19
14 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 12
15 Nico Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth 10
16 Sebastien Buemi STR-Ferrari 7
17 Pedro de la Rosa BMW Sauber-Ferrari 6
18 Jaime Alguersuari STR-Ferrari 4

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