Sebastian Vettel denied Lewis Hamilton a third straight win at the Belgian GP to reduce the lead at the top of the Formula One driver’s standing.
On resumption of race Sunday after the midseason break, Ferrari’s Vettel made a crucial early overtaking move on Lewis Hamilton to win the crash-marred Belgian GP and trim his rival’s overall lead.
Hamilton started from pole position for a record fifth time at Spa, and a record-extending 78th in Formula One, with Vettel second on the grid.
But the German showed his knack for rapid starts at the Spa, and nudged his Ferrari past Hamilton’s Mercedes on the first lap with a smart move down the left.
It came moments after Fernando Alonso’s McLaren flew through the air and landed on top of Charles Leclerc’s Sauber. Leclerc, unharmed, was likely spared a head injury by the protective halo device surrounding the cockpit area.
Vettel reached the chequered flag about 12 seconds clear of Hamilton, with Red Bull driver Max Verstappen an impressive third after starting seventh.
Vettel’s 52nd career win closes the gap to Hamilton to 17 points heading into next weekend’s Italian Grand Prix at Monza — where Ferrari will be hoping to dominate on their home circuit.