Belgian GP: Sebastian Vettel wins, extends lead at the top
Sebastian Vettel delivered a crushing blow to his title rivals on Sunday when he increased his lead in the drivers' championship with a consummate triumph for Red Bull in the Belgian Grand Prix.
Sebastian Vettel delivered a crushing blow to his title rivals on Sunday when he increased his lead in the drivers' championship with a consummate triumph for Red Bull in the Belgian Grand Prix. (All images AFP)
On a welcome dry afternoon at Spa Francorchamps in the Belgian Ardennes, the 26-year-old German took the lead from pole-man Lewis Hamilton on the opening lap and then pulled clear to claim his fifth win of the year and the 31st of his career, pulling him level with Briton Nigel Mansell.
Red Bull team boss Christian Horner hailed Sebastian Vettel's dominant display in Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix - and said it was a vital blow in their bid for a fourth consecutive title double. <br> "It was a matter of getting the first corner OK and then Sebastian grabbed the opportunity at Eau Rouge," said Horner.
Fernando Alonso, a two-time world champion, revelled in the conditions, passing Button and Rosberg as he climbed to third by lap 10, Hamilton hanging on to Vettel at the front where the gap was 4.3 seconds.
Finn Kimi Raikikonen failed to finish for the first time in 39 races due to a brake problem with his Lotus and saw him drop from second in the title race to fourth.
Briton Paul Di Resta was also forced out after a collision when Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado of Williams drove into his Force India in the closing stages.
Adrian Sutil, who could also have been a victim of that crash, drove superbly from 12th position to ninth as it snapped side's point-less streak. The side had returned without points in the last two races.
Vettel's win was the 31st of his career and lifted him 46 points clear of nearest rival two-time champion Spaniard Fernando Alonso of Ferrari in the title race.
Fernando Alonso said his drive to second in Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix at Spa Francorchamps proved he and Ferrari are back in contention for the championship. <br><br> Although he fell a further seven points adrift of German Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull, he said he felt their improvement proved they can mount a late season challenge for glory.
The defending triple world champion came home a comfortable 16.869 seconds ahead of second-placed Spaniard Fernando Alonso of Ferrari with Hamilton third for Mercedes. <br> It was his fourth third-place of the year and the 54th podium finish of his career, drawing Hamilton alongside three-time champion Austrian Niki Lauda.
Vettel was delighted. "It was a fantastic race for us from start to finish," he said. "It was very good tactics and it helped to get past Lewis on the first lap."<br> Alonso admitted to being bored by the race. "We had to recover some places -- we were not OK yesterday. "But today it was a little bit boring, we get second place, but no threat to Sebastian and had no threat from behind."<br> Hamilton praised his team. "We had a tough race, but the team did a great job."