Lewis Hamilton caps 200th Formula One race with his 58th career victory
PUBLISHED: 20:39 27 August 2017 | UPDATED: 20:41 27 August 2017
Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.
Lewis Hamilton celebrated the 200th Formula One race of his career with his 58th victory.
The 32-year-old Mercedes F1 star from Hertfordshire claimed his third victory at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps and fifth of the 2017 season with a superb win in the 2017 Belgian Grand Prix.
Starting from pole position, Hamilton crossed the finish line ahead of title rival Sebastian Vettel.
Today’s result marks the 71st victory for the Mercedes-AMG Silver Arrows in Formula One
With 213 points, Hamilton has also closed the gap on Ferrari driver Vettel (220 points) to seven points in the FIA Drivers’ Championship.
Hamilton said: “It’s amazing to come back into the season and start on the right foot.
“The Ferrari was very strong today and they put on a fantastic fight.
“We were both pushing every single lap and there was no room for error or mistake.”
Stevenage-born three-time world champion Hamilton added: “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.
“I want to thank the team, I would not have been able to win today without them.”
Hamilton’s Silver Arrows team-mate Valtteri Bottas finished today’s Belgian Grand Prix in P5.
Bottas said: “Today’s race and result were 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.”
The Finn added: “This has been the most difficult weekend for me, so I need to learn a lot from it because I wasn’t quick enough.
“I need to analyse my mistakes quickly, and then hopefully come back stronger next week in Monza.”
Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport with 392 points now lead Ferrari (348 points) by 44 points in the Constructors’ Championship.
Andrew Shovlin, Mercedes trackside engineering director, today accepted the Constructors’ trophy.
Team supremo Toto Wolff said: “That was a fantastic drive from Lewis to finish off a perfect weekend from him.
“It was a great result for the championship and a faultless performance.
“He defended well on the opening lap and then it was a battle lap by lap to stretch out the gap to Sebastian.
“After the pit stop, we saw a small blister on one of his rear tyres and we had some question marks about whether they would last to the finish.
“Then the Safety Car came out and made the decision easier for us.
“We had a discussion about which tyres to fit – we didn’t have a new set of UltraSoft remaining, and the team on the pit wall knew that the Soft would be the better tyre over the stint – if we could defend in those first laps after the restart.
“As Lewis showed, it was the right decision, and he delivered a great win.”
Wolff added: “From Valtteri’s side, we struggled with his car this weekend, and especially in traction as you could see on the TV pictures at the restart.
“We need to find out what happened there, and likewise, he will be the first to be self-critical about losing the positions after the restart.
“Now we move on to Monza. Ferrari were very strong here and we can expect exactly the same at their home race.
“Our job is to keep pushing, keep bringing performance to the car and to make sure we deliver all of our potential at every race from here to the end of the season.”