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Lewis Hamilton beats Nico Rosberg to win at the Belgian Grand Prix


Lewis Hamilton beats Nico Rosberg to win at the Belgian Grand Prix

... Reuters:

 Lewis Hamilton beat Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg to take a dominant win at the Belgian Grand Prix to extend his championship lead.

The world champion converted pole position into a lead on the first lap and was in control throughout, taking his sixth win and extending his lead to 28 points.

Lotus's Romain Grosjean took third after a rear tyre failure on Sebastian Vettel's Ferrari with two laps to go.

Vettel was holding off the Lotus on a one-stop strategy when the tyre exploded. It was the same tyre that had failed on Rosberg's Mercedes during Friday practice.

The failure, though, prompted a furious reaction from Vettel, who was one of several leading drivers to express their concerns about tyre safety at the drivers' briefing after practice on Friday. Hamilton was on pole by nearly half a second from Rosberg and his advantage continued into the race. 

He was helped by Rosberg being delayed by the Force India of Sergio Perez and Daniel Ricciardo's Red Bull, who beat him off the line from fourth and fifth places on the grid, as third-placed Valtteri Bottas's Williams dropped back.

But early pit stops for Perez and Ricciardo put Rosberg into second place by lap nine, by which time Hamilton was 8.3 seconds in front.

The lead stayed stable until they made their first pit stops, Rosberg coming in first in lap 12 and Hamilton on lap 13, the advantage of coming in first allowing Rosberg to reduce the gap to 3.4 seconds.

Hamilton had a brief concern when Rosberg somehow closed the gap by a second while the field was being controlled by the virtual safety car after Ricciardo's car broke down on the pit straight on lap 21. 

But once the race was restarted a lap later, Hamilton soon stamped his authority on Rosberg, stretching the lead from 2.6secs on lap 23 to 5.4secs five laps later.

There, Hamilton stabilised the gap and cruised to his sixth victory of the year, out of 11 races to start the second half of the season in the perfect manner.