Lewis Hamilton Wins 2015 Belgian Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton took victory from teammate Nico Rosberg by two seconds at the chequered flag, and Lotus’ Romain Grosjean.

Mercedes managed to get the one-two after a shocking start by both drivers, which led Sergio Perez to take the lead from fourth on the grid heading into La Source. However on the run up to Eau Rouge Hamilton retook the lead, even bouncing over the kerbs at the top of Radillon, where it unsettled his Mercedes and put him back into the clutches of the Force India.

Perez made good use of the tow whilst Hamilton defended the inside line, both giving each other more than enough racing room heading into Les Combes, which allowed the Hamilton to retain a much needed lead if he was to go on to win the race. Further back meanwhile Rosberg was attacking Bottas, whom he lost out to at the start and retook fourth heading into Les Combes.

Fernando Alonso meanwhile made a great start in his McLaren, getting up eight places along with Toro Rosso’s Max Verstappen who gained five. The two Manors meanwhile were swamped heading into Eau Rouge, their pace deficit clearly showing against the superior 2015-spec cars heading onto the Kimmel Straight.

Two laps into the race and we already lost two runners in the form of Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz (who eventually made his way back out three laps down) before the five light sequence. On the third lap however Pastor Maldonado became the next casualty in his Lotus, reporting loss of power as he went up the high speed Eau Rouge, prompting many drivers to dodge out of the way as he pulled off to the side of the road.

The first round of pitstops came surprisingly early, with Daniel Ricciardo who was running in third pitting as early as lap nine in the Red Bull for set of Medium tyres, prompting everyone to suspect that he was on a three-stop strategy. Perez duly reacted, however his previous lap was not better than Ricciardo’s outlap, which meant Red Bull managed to carry out the undercut strategy on Force India for defacto second.

Verstappen_Belgium_2015_F1WeekendsWith Perez being on the Soft tyre however, it didn’t take long before he was onto the back of the Red Bull to contest the position. Elsewhere Max Verstappen made a bold move around the outside of Blanchimont on Felipe Nasr for 11th position, as the Sauber driver dived to the pits for his first stop along with Verstappen a lap later.

Meanwhile in the pitlane it seemed Williams put a mismatched set of tyres on Bottas’ car, with three Soft tyres and one Medium. That earned him a drive-thru penalty from the stewards, although he still continued for that stint on that set of tyres. Nico Rosberg meanwhile managed to pit and come out ahead of Perez in second place, after losing out at the start to him, Ricciardo, and Bottas.

Romain Grosjean, who pitted for a new set of Softs was catching up to Ricciardo at this point, and using the DRS he managed to make a move around the outside of Les Combes work on the Red Bull. The team then told him “Strat 7, have a go at Perez” which he did with no hesitation, getting into third position.

Ricciardo also looked like he might challenge Perez, however as he lined up a move into the Bus Stop Chicane, the Force India pitted for his second and final stop.

Ricciardo_Belgium_2015_F1WeekendsThe Red Bull driver briefly inherited fourth position, before his Renault Power Unit seized up with an electronic issue coming out of the final corner. His stricken Red Bull brought out the Virtual Safety Car at the midway point of the race, prompting many drivers to make their final stop including Grosjean, Massa, and Raikkonen.

Ferrari meanwhile elected not to pit Vettel, allowing him to get up to third position at the restart. Kvyat also pitted for a new set of Softs, allowing him to make some late attacks as all of the drivers in front of him pitted for the Medium tyre. He made quick work of Bottas and Verstappen, before setting his sights on Raikkonen. After a couple of laps the Red Bull made a move around the outside stick into Les Combes, before pulling off the same move on Massa for 6th.

Whilst all that went on Grosjean managed to get within a second of Vettel, who of course didn’t pit during the Virtual Safety Car period. The Lotus driver was told to go into “Strat 7” with four laps left, and whilst he got close he following lap heading into the Bus Stop, he was ultimately gifted the position when on the penultimate lap Vettel’s right rear tyre blew out coming onto the Kimmel Straight.

That allowed Grosjean past, and dropped Vettel all the way down to P12 at the chequered flag. But it was Lewis Hamilton who took it first, claiming his sixth victory in 2015.

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