Rosberg wins as Hamilton finishes third in Belgian Grand Prix
NICO Rosberg claimed his sixth win of the season with an easy victory at the Belgian Grand Prix.
The German crossed the line comfortably clear of Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo as Lewis Hamilton came from the back row to take the final step on the podium following a breathless race at Spa.
Rosberg was barely aware of the chaos that raged behind him as he streaked away from pole position to take maximum points, and reduce Hamilton’s championship lead to nine with eight races to go.
Fans required two pairs of eyes as the lights went out at the start. One trained on the battle between Rosberg and Max Verstappen at the front and another to keep tabs on Hamilton’s progress.
From the same position in China in April, Hamilton charged through the backmarkers only to get caught up in the turn one chaos. Wisely, he backed off here, taking a watching brief as carnage ensued in front of him.
The vast majority of the sell-out crowd at Spa only had eyes for one man. The long queues into the circuit yesterday morning had a distinctly orange glow, with Dutch and Belgians alike out in force to cheer on Red Bull’s teenage sensation.
They were quickly silenced. Verstappen’s horribly slow start allowed Rosberg to cruise away in front and the 18-yearold was swallowed up by both Ferraris from the second row. He has made enough stunning overtakes this season to fill an entire highlights package on his own but not this time. He and Kimi Raikkonen have had their differences this season — most entertainingly in Hungary — but the Finn afforded him sufficient room on the inside here.
The problem was Raikkonen’s teammate, Sebastian Vettel, charging around the outside. Raikkonen suddenly had nowhere to go as the trio bottlenecked, and he made contact with both Vettel and Verstappen.
They were all forced to pit with damage to their cars, returning towards the rear of the field.
The casualties didn’t end there. Jenson Button and Pascal Wehrlein came together later on the opening lap, eventually forcing both to retire.
Carlos Sainz was next to bow out after a puncture on his Toro Rosso and both Mercedes were making serene progress. Rosberg led Nico Hulkenberg by five seconds after just a couple of laps, with Hamilton already on the cusp of the top 10. He was firmly inside it after Kevin Magnussen’s spectacular exit on lap six. Both he and Renault team-mate Jolyon Palmer were in the points when the Dane crashed out from eighth.
Magnussen took too much kerb as he made his way through Eau Rouge at close to 200mph. The back end of his Renault slid out before smashing into the barriers as Magnussen hobbled away nursing an ankle injury. — Sportsmail