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Belgian GP 2018

AUGUST 26, 2018

Race Notes - Vettel wins in Spa

Sebastian Vettel, Belgian GP 2018
© RV Press

By Mark Karp

Sebastian Vettel won the Belgian GP with his Ferrari, 11.0s ahead of Lewis Hamilton in his Mercedes GP, and 31s ahead of Max Verstappen in the Red Bull-Renault in third.

The win is Vettel’s fifth of the season, and 52nd victory of his career, putting him ahead of Alain Prost in the all-time-list. Vettel closes to 17 points of Hamilton in the drivers championship leading into next week’s Italian GP in Monza.

Valtteri Bottas (63.6s), who started last, finished fourth in the second Mercedes, followed by Sergio Perez (71.0s) in the Force India-Mercedes was fifth, his team mate Esteban Ocon (79.5s) finished sixth, Romain Grosjean (85.9s) in the Haas-Ferrari finished seventh, his team mate Kevin Magnussen (87.6s) fisnihed in eighth, Pierre Gasly (105.8s) in the Toro Rosso-Honda finished in ninth, and Marcus Ericsson (1 lap) in the Sauber-Ferrari finished in the final points paying position in tenth place.

Before the start Hamilton is on pole and he has the Ferrari of Vettel alonside on the front row, Ocon and Perez is the Force India’s are on row 2, Grosjean and Raikkonen on row 3, Red Bull’s of Verstappen and Ricciardo on row 4 and Magnussen and Gasly rounding out the top ten.

The Renaults of Hulkenberg and Sainz changing parts and electing to start from the back, along with Bottas in his Mercedes.

There is only a 20% chance of rain. The top 10 starting on supersoft tyres, the rest starting on soft tyres except for Sainz on medium tyres.

At the appointed time, the field came around, the lights went off and the race began with Hamilton getting away from Vettel at the start. Into the first corner Alonso is hit from behind from Hulkenberg, and sends the Spaniard flying over the Sauber of Leclerc. Bottas touched Ricciardo, and broke his front wing.

Up the hill Vettel passes Hamilton, while Perez gets ahead of Ocon. The safety car is out. Raikkonen limps back to the pit with a puncture, and switches to medium tyres. Ricciardo pits with a broken rear wing, along with Bottas for his front wing, switching to supersoft tyres.

The order behind the safety car is Vettel, Hamilton, Perez, Ocon, Verstappen, Grosjean, Magnussen, Gasly, Ericsson and Sirotkin in tenth, Sainz in 13th, Raikkonen in 14th, Bottas in 16th.

At the end of lap 4 the safety car came in and the race resumes with Vettel taking the lead over Hamilton, Perez, Ocon, Verstappen and Grosjean.

On lap 5 Vettel sets fast lap at 1m48.656s.

On lap 7, Verstappen closes on Ocon up the hill and passes for fourth place.

Bottas passes Hartley for 13th into Eau Rouge.

On lap 8 Raikkonen pits again.

Vettel sets another fast lap at 1m47.646s. Bottas passes Sainz for 12th.

On lap 9 Raikkonen pits again and retires.

On lap 10 Verstappen passes Perez up the hill for third place.

At lap 10 Vettel leads Hamilton by 3.3s, followed by Verstappen (12.9s), Perez (15.1s), Ocon (19.3s), Grosjean (21.7s), Magnussen (25.2s), Gasly (27.3s), Ericsson (29.8s) and Sirotkin (31.4s) in tenth.

Bottas passes Stroll for 11th place.

On lap 11 Vettel sets another fast lap at 1m48.495s.

On lap 12 Bottas passes Sirotkin for 10th place, and is in the points.

Verstappen reports, “it’s actually quite nice to drive, it’s all under control.” as he runs in third.

On lap 15 Hamilton sets fast lap at 1m37.479s, and trails Vettel by 3.6s.

Bottas is closing on Ericsson in 9th.

On lap 16 Hamilton sets another fast lap at 1m48.208s.

On lap 17, Bottas passes Ericsson for ninth place up the hill.

On lap 18 Bottas with DRS easily passes Gasly for eighth place.

Hamilton’s left rear looks to be blisting, but Hamilton reports the tyres are good.

At lap 20 Vettel leads Hamilton by 3.1s, followed by Verstappen (18.0s), Perez (32.7s), Ocon (37.9s), Grosjean (43.5s), Magnussen (47.0s), Bottas (48.1s), Gasly (53.7s), Ericsson (55.5s) in tenth.

On lap 22 Hamilton pits for soft tyres and rejoins in third.

The next lap Vettel pits from the lead, and takes on soft tyres as well, and rejoins just ahead of Verstappen and Hamilton. Up the hill Hamilton passes Verstappen in the DRS and retakes second place.

Vettel leads Hamilton by 1.7s. Hamilton sets fast lap at 1m46.721s.

On lap 24 Grosjean pits from sixth and takes on soft tyres and rejoins in tenth. Stroll pits for supersoft tyres.

On lap 25 Ocon pits fifth for soft tyres and rejoins in eighth.

On lap 25 Vettel sets fast lap at 1m46.644s and leads by 2.5s.

Perez pits from fourth for soft tyres and rejoins in fifth. Gasly pits for soft tyres and rejoins in 11th.

On lap 27 Verstappen pits from third for soft tyres and rejoins in the same position. Magnussen pits for soft tyres and Ericsson pits for supersoft tyres, the two come back on track with Gasly ahead.

Ericsson passes Hartletm and then Hartley comes back and retakes the position.

On lap 30 Ericsson passes Hartley again for tenth place.

Bottas pits from fourth for soft tyres and rejoins in sixth.

At lap 30 Vettel continues to lead Hamilton by 5.0s, followed by Verstappen (24.7s), Perez (54.4s), Ocon (61.4s), Bottas (53.0s), Grosjean (66.4s), Magnussen (76.7s), Gasly (80.9s), and Ericsson (89.2s) in tenth place.

On lap 31 Red Bull pits Ricciardo to retire the car.

On lap 32 Bottas passes Ocon in the DRS for fifth place.

Verstappen asks the team, “any chance of rain?” hopefully.

Sainz passes Sirotkin for 11th place.

On lap 33 Bottas sets fast lap at 1m46.286s.

Bottas is closing on Perez in fourth, but does he have enough time - Bottas lapping in 1m47, Perez in the 1m48s.

On lap 38 Bottas closes to one second behind Perez.

On lap 40 Bottas passes Perez with DRS to take fourth place.

At lap 40 Vettel leads Hamilton by 7.6s, followed by Verstappen (32.1s), Bottas (65.2s), Perez (67.6s), Ocon (76.8s), Grosjean (82.5s), Magnussen (87.0s), Gasly (100.2s), and Ericsson (1 lap) in tenth place.

At the finish Vettel wins from Hamilton and Verstappen.