Vettel wins Belgian GP to extend overall lead

German driver heads to Italian Grand Prix with 197 points

By Agencies

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Published: Mon 26 Aug 2013, 2:30 PM

Last updated: Mon 8 Apr 2024, 4:39 PM

Sebastian Vettel needed little time to remind everyone why he remains the overwhelming favourite for a fourth straight Formula One title, clinching a dominant win at the Belgian Grand Prix on Sunday to extend his considerable championship lead.

With eight races left, Vettel heads to the Italian GP in two weeks’ time with 197 points — 46 ahead of Fernando Alonso and 58 clear of Lewis Hamilton, who leapfrogged Kimi Raikkonen into third overall after the Finn retired from the race. Alonso finished the race 16.8 seconds behind Vettel in second spot and Hamilton nearly 30 seconds back in third.

“The car was better than we expected going into the race, which I really enjoyed,” Vettel said. “Fortunately there was no rain, so no need for any critical calls to be made, and a comfortable afternoon for us.” Talk heading into Spa was of Hamilton — winner of the previous GP in Hungary last month — emerging as Vettel’s biggest threat.

The Mercedes driver put himself in a great position to pressure Vettel, starting ahead on the front row after securing his fourth consecutive pole position. But Vettel took precisely 31 seconds to silence any doubters. That was how long it took him to overtake Hamilton on the first lap, and he was never in trouble afterward. As he crossed the line, the 26-year-old German pumped his right fist and then wagged his finger aloft — reminding everyone who really is No. 1 and admonishing those who may have questioned that.

“For sure it’s a positive message today,” he said. “Looking forward to Monza now.” It was Vettel’s fifth win of the season, the second from three GPs, and 31st of his career.

“When the car works well you don’t want the race to stop,” he said. “The car was just a pleasure to drive.” Alonso drove brilliantly from ninth on the grid to give Ferrari a timely boost and a first podium since the British GP.

Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg finished fourth ahead of Vettel’s Red Bull teammate Mark Webber. Hamilton become the first Briton since Damon Hill in 1995 to achieve four straight poles and sat on the front row for the seventh consecutive race.

Vettel has not secured a pole since winning the Canadian GP in June. But it made little difference.

“Once I passed him (Hamilton) I had incredible pace and took control until the end,” Vettel said.

Although Hamilton made a good start and held his line at the first turn into La Source turn, Vettel moved into the slipstream of his Mercedes and surged past him down the uphill Kemmel straight.

“Sebastian just caught me massively,” Hamilton said. “I just had to watch him glide by.”

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