28 Aug 2017

Hamilton cuts Vettel's lead in Belgian Grand Prix

6:50 am on 28 August 2017

British racing driver Lewis Hamilton celebrated his 200th Formula One race in style with a pole-to-flag Belgian Grand Prix victory for Mercedes.

Lewis Hamilton in Formula 1 action

Lewis Hamilton in Formula 1 action Photo: Photosport

Hamilton's victory has halved Sebastian Vettel's championship lead to seven points.

The British driver's fifth success in 12 races this season, and 58th of his career, came a day after he equalled Michael Schumacher's all-time record of 68 pole positions.

Lewis Hamilton.

Lewis Hamilton. Photo: Photosport

"Sebastian put a great fight on but this is what I said I was coming to do so I did it," Hamilton told the crowd from the podium.

Vettel finished second for Ferrari, 2.3 seconds behind, after pushing his rival all the way without being able to get close enough to make a move stick in what amounted to a two-horse race of relentless pressure.

"It was really intense because every lap I was waiting for Lewis to do a mistake. He didn't," said Vettel, whose next race is Ferrari's home Italian Grand Prix at Monza.

"He was probably waiting for me to make a mistake. I didn't," added the German, who set a race lap record of one minute 46.577 seconds in the closing stages.

With eight races remaining, four-times champion Vettel has 220 points and Hamilton 213.

Australian Daniel Ricciardo took third place for Red Bull after a storming re-start following a late safety car period that had closed the gap to the frontrunners and triggered a flurry of pitstops.

Ricciardo, on fresh ultra-soft tyres, passed Hamilton's team mate Valtteri Bottas to surge into the top three, with the Finn also losing out to the Ferrari of compatriot Kimi Raikkonen as he ran wide.

Germany's Nico Hulkenberg finished sixth for Renault, Romain Grosjean was seventh for Haas and Brazilian Felipe Massa took eighth for Williams.

Michael Schumacher in 2012.

Michael Schumacher Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Earlier Michael Schumacher's first grand prix win 25 years ago was commemorated by his 18-year-old son Mick who drove a demonstration lap at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in his father's old car.

Mick Schumacher, who races in the Formula 3 European Championship, drove a 1994 model of the Benetton B194 that his father drove to the first of his record seven world championships.

Michael Schumacher won six times at Spa-Francorchamps, more than any other driver, and also clinched his seventh and last world title at the track in the Ardennes