Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton claimed victory at the Belgian Grand Prix to close the gap to Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel at the top of the Formula One Drivers’ Championship standings to just seven points. Despite a determined battle, Sebastian Vettel was forced to settle for second place, while Kimi Raikkonen was chasing Valtteri Bottas when his race hopes were dented when he was handed a 10-second stop/go penalty for failing to slow for the yellow flags displayed when Max Verstappen halted at the side of the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps.
When racing resumed after the safety car came out, Sebastian Vettel attacked Lewis Hamilton as the pair ran down the long Kemmel Straight, but the Briton defended well and just managed to hold off a the German’s determined charge, meaning that the Maranello team had to settle for second place on the podium, as the German driver now hold an advantage of only seven points in the Formula One Driver Standings.
Scuderia Ferrari Team Principal Maurizio Arrivabene acknowledged that the Italian team can be pleased with the race pace, especially given the fact that the Spa-Francorchamps track characteristics did not favour the strong points of the SF70H car, as opposed to the previous race, the Hungarian Grand Prix, where Scuderia Ferrari completely dominated the event at the Hungaroring track:
“Going into this race, on paper at least, it didn not seem like one that would suit us particularly well. Despite that, we proved able to fight for the win right down to the final lap. Seb drove a great race and at the restart after the Safety Car, it really came very close. It is a shame that Kimi had to take a penalty, which cost him almost half a minute, but he managed to recover with a nice passing move at the restart. The SF70H proved to be very competitive and the team, both at the track and in Maranello, worked with concentration and determination. However, we still need to improve. The next GP will be in Monza where we will be meeting up with all our fans.” – Scuderia Ferrari Team Principal Maurizio Arrivabene explained, as reported at the end of the Belgian Grand Prix by the Italian national sports newspaper based in Rome Corriere dello Sport.