Podium place for Hamilton in the Belgian Grand Prix
By Joe Watson
1st Vettel (GER), 2nd Alonso (ESP), 3rd Hamilton (GBR)
6th Button (GBR), 19th Chilton (GBR), Retired Di Resta (GBR).
A perfect drive from Sebastian Vettel ousted Lewis Hamilton to third in a testing race for the Brits.
Jenson Button managed to hold onto sixth by his fingertips while Paul Di Resta crashed out 16 laps from the end, while Max Chilton’s Marussia was brushed aside with ease early on as he dropped to 22nd where he stayed for much of the race.
When the lights went out in Spa for the 11th race of the season and there were no empathic collisions on turn one unlike last year.
Hamilton held his pole position for little more than 20 seconds before Vettel powered past the Mercedes on the run up to Les Combes to highlight his race dominance.
Meanwhile Alonso catapulted himself through the pack from 9th to settle in fifth behind Nico Rosberg.
Di Resta got off to the worst possible start and quickly slid down the pecking order to seventh with Felipe Massa’s Ferrari hot on his heels.
Jenson Button went quietly about his business and pounced in timely fashion to skip past Alonso. With a helping hand from DRS on the Kemmel Straight, he claimed forth after as many laps.
Chilton failed to muster any competiveness as he was rapidly forced to the back.
Shortly after, Vettel opened up a four second lead over his nearest rival Hamilton as the Redbull held his lines effortlessly.
Hamilton and Alonso had a change of tyres in close proximity then Mercedes left an inviting gap to overtake which Alonso accepted with open arms.
That proved costly as Alonso moved into momentum to comfortably hold onto second place forcing Hamilton to helplessly camp behind the Spaniard.
Button led the pack for a stint and when the Brit finally pit stopped, he returned back to sixth where he was more at ease.
Many touted him to pull off a one-stop strategy and in hindsight it could’ve saw him on the podium for the first time this year.
Mid-way through the 44 lap race, Di Resta continued to slip behind and found himself hustling for 10th place.
A skirmish materialised with Nico Hulkenberg and it reached a dramatic conclusion as traffic built on the chicane. Pastor Maldonado was clipped by Hulkenberg to shove the Williams motor into the path of Di Resta.
Qualifying looked promising for the Scot however his race was cut short has his car turned into three-wheeler with many cosmetic issues to address.
Chilton’s afternoon was nothing specular and became worse when he was handed a penalty for ignoring a blue flag. He finished in 19th only due to three retirements.
Vettel was well clear of such dramas and cruised home to move 46 points clear of Alonso in the championship standings.
Hamilton gifted Vettel his biggest lead of a Championship ever and he must polish his performance ahead of Monza.