200th GP win for Lewis Hamilton at F1 Belgian GP

  The Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix saw Lewis Hamilton capture his 200th career win as he finished ahead of Championship rival Sebastien Vettel at the picturesque Spa-Francorchamps Circuit. Daniel Ricciardo topped Kimi Raikkonen for the final podium spot.

The second Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas was fifth, ahead of Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg, Haas’ Romain Grosjean. Completing the top ten were Felipe Massa, Esteban Ocon and Carlos Sainz.

Top ten drivers’ quotes

Lewis Hamilton: “It’s amazing to come back into the season and start on the right foot. The Ferrari was very strong and they put on a fantastic fight. We were both pushing every single lap and there was no room for error or mistake. The Safety Car was driving so slow that keeping tyre temperature was very difficult. On the restart, Sebastian got a good tow, it was very close. It is fun to be racing against another team and Sebastian at his best and the car at its best – that’s what racing is all about.”

Sebastien Vettel: “If we had ended up ahead in qualifying, then we would have had a good pace to stay in front today! I was surprised how close I could follow through the whole race. So I am a bit angry at myself, because, when the race restarted after the safety car, I was probably too close to Lewis out of Turn 1. I tried to open the gap down Eau Rouge but it’s a difficult compromise. You see the cars coming behind and you know that you need to defend, instead of focusing on attacking. At the same time I know that down the straights we are not as quick as Mercedes. So, I am not entirely happy, but after all it’s been a great weekend for the team. ”

Daniel Ricciardo: “It’s always nice to get a podium for sure. Especially after yesterday when you’re on the tail-end of that Top 6, then all you think of is moving forward, so I honestly believed we could be better than sixth today. Max had a problem and then Kimi made his mistake with the yellow flag so we gained a few positions but I think after the first stint our pace improved a lot. We showed a more respectable pace today and then we had an opportunity under the safety car with the re-start and took the most of that, so I’m really happy with the result. ”

Kimi Raikkonen: “Overall, we have been quite competitive this weekend. In the race the car was good on the Soft compound, while with the Ultrasofts,after some laps,I was struggling with the rear; the first laps were ok but then I was sliding around. When I saw the yellow flags I was on the straight, on the right side and I’m sure I did not go any faster than on any other lap. The penalty was not ideal, but luckily there was a Safety Car and we could recover something. I overtook Bottas and then I tried to get close to Ricciardo, but we did not have enough speed to overtake him as he was surprisingly good in race conditions, with good speed in the right places. I guess the result of today could have been worse, but for sure I was looking for more.”

Valtteri Bottas: “The result was a big disappointment. It’s been an all-around difficult weekend for me. It would have been nice to at least be on the podium and score good points for us as a team. After the Safety Car restart I was on the Soft tyres, but the guys who overtook me were on the UltraSofts. I was on the back foot, struggled with grip and could not fight them. In the race the Softs are working well for us, but during a Safety Car restart there’s always a risk that other guys might have softer compounds. In a normal race we would have had an optimal tyre strategy. This has been the most difficult weekend for me, so I need to learn a lot from it because I wasn’t quick enough.”

Nico Hulkenberg: “It was a solid day; I’m happy and pleasantly surprised. I had a poor start but was able to rectify it at the first corner with a move down the inside to have a great run on Checo through Eau Rouge. The car felt better than yesterday and we were the fourth quickest team out there again which allowed us to finish in the top six. I had some great fighting with Fernando. It was pretty hairy getting three abreast with him and Esteban. Fernando was making a move with DRS and a big tow, then Esteban had a massive overshoot so for a moment I thought ‘oh gosh, it’s not going to end well,’ but fortunately it was great racing and I’m sure great to watch from the outside.”

Romain Grosjean: “It was a hell of a race. I’m pretty tired right now. We knew we could be somewhere close to the top-10, but we didn’t think we could be in there. After a few laps the car felt OK. I didn’t have a great start, but I pushed really hard. We had good degradation on the ultrasoft. We had planned for one stop. I saw Force India going for a two stop and I thought if they don’t open up too much of a gap, it should be good. The safety car came out, and then I tried really hard to get the Renault ahead of me, but it was just a little bit too fast.”

Felipe Massa: “I think it was a very intense race, but I’m happy. I know eighth place is not a nice position, looking at everything I have achieved in my career, but the way I drove the car and the way I drove in this race, it was definitely like a victory and I’m so happy. For sure there’s a lot to understand and improve in the car, like what wasn’t working in the last two races.”

Esteban Ocon: “On lap one there was a very close moment with my teammate going into Eau Rouge. I can accept this because it was the start of the race and we were three wide, even though I got squeezed into the wall. The second contact with Sergio was too much. He squeezed me towards the wall again, made contact with my front wing, and risked both our races for no reason. It has cost the team points and it’s difficult for me to understand why he was so aggressive. It’s a shame because we were in a strong position with a competitive car and we should have scored even more points from this race.”

Carlos Sainz: “A fun race full of great battles! I enjoyed it a lot out there today and it’s great to end up scoring a point that we were not expecting to get this weekend…We went for an alternative strategy after a difficult start – I lost a couple of places due to a bit of traffic into Turn 1 – and from then onwards we managed to do a good recovery. There was a lot of action going on throughout the whole race and, as a team, we did the right things at the right time.”

The next Grand Prix is set for set for the Italian GP at Monza, from 1 – 3 September.

2017 Formula 1 Belgian GP results

1 44 Lewis Hamilton MERCEDES 44 1:24:42.820 25
2 5 Sebastian Vettel FERRARI 44 +2.358s 18
3 3 Daniel Ricciardo RED BULL RACING 44 +10.791s 15
4 7 Kimi Räikkönen FERRARI 44 +14.471s 12
5 77 Valtteri Bottas MERCEDES 44 +16.456s 10
6 27 Nico Hulkenberg RENAULT 44 +28.087s 8
7 8 Romain Grosjean HAAS 44 +31.553s 6
8 19 Felipe Massa WILLIAMS 44 +36.649s 4
9 31 Esteban Ocon FORCE INDIA 44 +38.154s 2
10 55 Carlos Sainz TORO ROSSO 44 +39.447s 1

Drivers standings
1 Sebastian Vettel 220
2 Lewis Hamilton 213
3 Valtteri Bottas 179
4 Daniel Ricciardo 132
5 Kimi Räikkönen 128
6 Max Verstappen 67
7 Sergio Perez 56
8 Esteban Ocon 47
9 Carlos Sainz 36
10 Nico Hulkenberg 34
11 Felipe Massa 27
12 Romain Grosjean 24
13 Lance Stroll 18
14 Kevin Magnussen 11
15 Fernando Alonso 10
16 Pascal Wehrlein 5
17 Daniil Kvyat 4
18 Stoffel Vandoorne 1

Constructors rankings
1 MERCEDES 392
2 FERRARI 348
3 RED BULL RACING 199
4 FORCE INDIA 103
5 WILLIAMS 45
6 TORO ROSSO 40
7 HAAS 35
8 RENAULT 34
9 MCLAREN 11
10 SAUBER 5