Formula 1's see-sawing 2017 battle continues as Lewis Hamilton returned from the summer break to defeat Sebastian Vettel in the Belgian Grand Prix.
In a gripping season in which neither driver has managed to score consecutive race victories, Hamilton bounced back after Vettel’s win last time out in Hungary to cut the Ferrari driver’s World Championship lead to seven points.
Hamilton put his Mercedes on pole position but Vettel and Ferrari were expected to be strong threats in the race given the Ferrari’s expected superior race pace combined with the fact that Hamilton had used up his ultra-soft tyre allotment in qualifying, whereas Vettel had saved his for the 44-lap journey.
The race came down to a battle between the two, but Hamilton always had an answer to the Ferrari driver. On the opening lap Vettel got alongside along the Kemmel Straight but was unable to finish the manoeuvre into the Les Combes chicane.
He failed to jump the Mercedes at the pitstops, and then likewise was unable to take Hamilton at the Safety Car restart following the controversial clash between Force India team-mates Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez.
Daniel Ricciardo was a solid third, making his way forward from sixth on the grid with feisty early move on Valtteri Bottas’ Mercedes. Ricciardo’s Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen also looked strong early but was an early retirement due to a mechanical failure.
Kimi Raikkonen was a distant fourth for Ferrari after receiving a pitlane penalty for failing to slow for the yellow flags displayed for Veratappen’s stricken Red Bull, and Bottas was fifth.
The F1 teams head to the famous Monza circuit next weekend for the Italian Grand Prix.