Hamilton wins Belgian GP to trim Vettel's lead to 7 points

Bottas still unsure if he will be a Mercedes driver in 2018

Bottas still unsure if he will be a Mercedes driver in 2018

The Safety Car was called for on Lap 30 at Spa following a clash between Force India teammates Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez, leaving debris strewn across the track.

While Hamilton was able to fend off Sebastian Vettel and claim his fifth win of the season, the Mercedes driver stuck to his guns when discussing the Safety Car decision after the race.

"It's been a strong weekend for myself and the team", Hamilton told Mark Webber after stepping off the top step of podium.

Lewis Hamilton admitted an incorrect engine mode actually helped him repel the challenge of Sebastian Vettel at the safety vehicle restart at Spa-Francorchamps, with the Briton then going on to take victory for the fifty-eighth time in his career. "Especially after yesterday when you're on the tail-end of that top sixth, then all you think of is moving forward, so I honestly believed we could be better than sixth today". In the Constructors' Championship, Mercedes leads with 392 points versus the 348 of Ferrari and 199 of Red Bull.

"It was really intense because every lap I was waiting for Lewis to do a mistake".

The Briton said that he had actually benefited from an error which left him in the wrong power mode, allowing Vettel to pull level at the first La Source corner but denying the Ferrari driver a chance to get a subsequent run at him downhill to Eau Rouge.

However, it was a different story for Verstappen's Red Bull teammate Daniel Ricciardo, who made a scintillating restart after the safety auto to leap from fifth place to third and take the final podium place.

Hamilton will head to Ferrari's home track in Monza - the first of three back-to-back instalments in the concluding half of the season - for Sunday's Italian Grand Prix well aware that is a circuit which again should favour his Mercedes package.

In flawless, if humid conditions, with an air temperature of 22 degrees and the track at 23, and in front of an estimated 125,000 crowd including an "orange army" of 80,000, Hamilton pulled away from his record-equalling 68th pole position to lead into La Source and resisted Vettel's attack at Eau Rouge. "It was great to go into Turn 5 having just done enough", Hamilton said.

"I am cautious knowing that we may not be the quickest everywhere ahead, and I am trying to figure out in my mind how I can apply positive energy to my guys to encourage them to bring some more magic to the next eight races", Hamilton said.

On lap 8, Red Bull's other driver, Max Verstappen, lost power in his vehicle and was forced to retire, continuing the Dutch driver's string of bad luck this season.

"I'm not happy at all", Verstappen said. "We showed a more respectable pace today and then we had an opportunity under the safety auto with the re-start and took the most of that, so I'm really happy with the result".

"Overall it was a very good race, very fun". "I am very disappointed for the fans who buy an expensive ticket to watch".

Perez's overly defensive maneuver resulted in a punctured right rear, as he clipped Ocon's front wing.

The safety vehicle exited toward the end of lap 33.

Belgian-born Dutch 19-year-old wunderkind Verstappen, supported by almost 80,000 fans who crossed the border from Holland, again overstressed his engine and retired on lap 8. If on lap one they just rubbed wheels and carried on unharmed, the Mexican possibly just moving over, as him too was getting squeezed by Hulkenberg on the outside, their accident on lap 29 was entirely Perez's fault.

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