‘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

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport - By Philip Dun­can

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.

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