Ros­berg wins as Hamil­ton fin­ishes third in Bel­gian Grand Prix

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Supplement/sport Starts Here -

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

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