Hamil­ton cruises to dream win in Bel­gium

The Pak Banker - - INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS/SPORTS -

For­mula One world cham­pion Lewis Hamil­ton won the Bel­gian Grand Prix from pole po­si­tion to stretch his lead over Mercedes team mate Nico Ros­berg to 28 points with eight races re­main­ing. Ros­berg fin­ished 2.0 sec­onds be­hind the Bri­ton, in a dry race de­spite teams anx­iously study­ing weather maps for ap­proach­ing rain in the fi­nal stages, to com­plete Mercedes' sev­enth one-two in 11 races. "To­day was a dream and the car was fan­tas­tic all week­end," de­clared Hamil­ton, who con­trolled the race from the open­ing lap -- af­ter an aborted first start -- and never looked threat­ened by his Ger­man ri­val.

"I was never in a po­si­tion where I felt ner­vous, I had great pace in the car. There was no real need to push more than I had to," he added. The two col­lided at Spa last year, with Hamil­ton hav­ing to re­tire, but the risk of that hap­pen­ing again re­ceded when Ros­berg made a slow get­away off the front row. "I just com­pletely messed up the start," said the Ger­man, who had hoped to cap­i­tal­ize on changed start­ing pro­ce­dures that leave more to the driver and pre­vent engi­neers from help­ing re­motely. France's Ro­main Gros­jean took an emo­tional third place for Lo­tus af­ter Fer­rari's Se­bas­tian Vet­tel, in his 150th race and the team's 900th, suf­fered a right rear tire blowout on the penul­ti­mate lap.

"It was prob­a­bly one of my best races ever," said the French­man, back on the podium for the first time since 2013 in a boost for a fi­nan­cially-trou­bled team who ar­rived in Spa with the threat of hav­ing their cars im­pounded hang­ing over them. The dou­ble cham­pion has 227 points to Ros­berg's 199 and Sun­day was also his 80th podium ap­pear­ance, equal­ing the achieve­ment of boy­hood hero and late triple world cham­pion Ayr­ton Senna.

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