‘This is getting too easy’ Hamilton roars to his 89th career victory at Belgian Grand Prix
I would have slept through easy win, admits British driver Schumacher record closer after victory stroll in Belgium
Lewis Hamilton cruised to victory in the Belgian Grand Prix and then admitted he would have been sent to sleep by his own dominant display.
The British driver and his allconquering Mercedes machine are in a class of one this season and his emphatic victory here at the SpaFrancorchamps circuit marked the 89th of his career and fifth from seven in a campaign in which he is now almost certain to match Michael Schumacher’s championship record.
Hamilton led every lap around the 4.3 miles of asphalt that make up this iconic motor racing venue to take the chequered flag 8.4 seconds clear of Valtteri Bottas and move 47 points ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, who finished third, and 50 clear of his Mercedes team-mate.
As well as matching Schumacher’s seven titles, Hamilton is now on the verge of equalling the German’s race-victory record. A win at Monza on Sunday followed by victory at the Tuscan Grand Prix a week later would put him level with Schumacher.
The great German rewrote Formula One’s record books by winning 72 of his 91 races and five consecutive titles while driving for Ferrari at the turn of the century.
Hamilton’s own stranglehold on the sport is turning into a carboncopy of Schumacher’s dominant, but tedious, run. “I cannot speak for the fans now, but having been a fan and growing up through different eras, the Schumacher era for example, I know what it is like,” Hamilton said.
“I was a teenager back then. I would have woken up, eaten my bacon sandwich, watched the start, gone to sleep and then got up again
‘I would have woken up, watched the start, gone to sleep and then got up again for end of race’
to watch the end of the race. If I was watching as a fan today, I would have done the same thing and just tuned in for the highlights.
“I can imagine that it was definitely not the most exciting race for those watching.”
Aside from George Russell’s dramatic exit, after his Williams car was struck by a flying wheel from Antonio Giovinazzi’s Alfa Romeo on lap 10, the latest instalment of this one-sided championship will not live long in the memory.
After racing to his 93rd career pole – qualifying half a second faster than anybody else – Hamilton would have been well aware that the sole threat to victory
Tribute: Lewis Hamilton marks the death of Chadwick Boseman would arrive on the opening lap. But after he left Bottas behind on the short run down to La Source before comfortably keeping the Finn at arm’s length on the long march up through Eau Rouge, along the Kemmel Straight and into Les Combes, the following 43 laps resembled a procession.
“Fans need to understand this is not our fault,” Hamilton said. “As drivers, we come through the ranks and we earn the positions we have. We come in to each weekend devoted and give absolutely everything to perform at our best.
“The decision-makers who design the cars and set the rules are the ones to apply the pressure to, to do a better job.
“I am hopeful that is what will happen in 2022 when the regulations change and we have a new type of car, and we will see a different form of racing, where we can follow closely and have closer races.”
While Verstappen is driving out of his skin to keep up with Hamilton, Bottas is no match for his teammate. Indeed, instead of challenging for the lead on the opening lap and again at the restart, after the safety car was deployed following Russell’s accident, he was found wanting. Bottas was more concerned about keeping Verstappen behind than taking on Hamilton.
The 31-year-old said he still believed he could challenge Hamilton for the title, but he is now the equivalent of two wins behind in the championship race.
Over at Ferrari, their torrid year is getting worse as each race goes by. Sebastian Vettel swore at his team over the radio, urging them to bring him in for a second change of rubber, before taking the flag in 13th. Charles Leclerc won from pole here last year, but finished 14th after he had to stop for a second time following concerns over his engine. Vettel and Leclerc ended the race 62 and 64 seconds respectively behind Hamilton.
This whirlwind season will now head to Monza for Ferrari’s home race.
Fortunately for the failing Italian team, it will be staged without fans.