Belgium: Lewis Hamilton won the Belgian Grand Prix on Sunday from pole, holding off Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg and padding his lead in the Formula One championship standings.
The defending champion was two seconds ahead at the finish line for his sixth victory of the season in 11 races.
“An amazing weekend,” Hamilton said. “I had great pace in the car. I was cautious at the end because of tires but I brought it home.”
Hamilton’s 80th podium pulled him level with the late F1 ace Ayrton Senna in fourth on the all-time list. Rosberg has 36, level with two-time champion Graham Hill.
Rosberg had a poor start and dropped from second to fourth before regaining the second position.
“I completely messed up the start,” Rosberg said. “I tried everything but Lewis knew how to react.”
Rosberg was in a rush to leave the circuit since his wife is expecting their first child “any time.”
The two Mercedes cars were dominant throughout the race, unlike the previous Grand Prix in Hungary three weeks ago when they failed to make the podium.
Hamilton’s 39th career victory gave him a 28-point lead over Rosberg in the drivers’ standings, with eight races remaining.
Romain Grosjean drove his Lotus to third place, taking advantage of a late puncture for Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, who ended outside the points in 12th place.
Vettel had been told by his team that the tires looked good to the end but his rear right one blew out in the penultimate lap.
Grosjean made his first podium since finishing second in the U.S. Grand Prix in Austin, Texas in 2013. He was banned for one race after being blamed for causing a multi-car crash at the start of the Belgian Grand Prix in 2012.
“I can’t believe I am on the podium,” Grosjean said.
Grosjean started from ninth position on the grid after being penalized five places for an illegal gearbox change.
Lotus has been involved in problems off the track, with Belgian police threatening to impound the cars because of money owed to a former reserve driver.
“Of course at Spa I still remember Turn 1 in 2012, but I think that made me stronger,” Grosjean said.
“For us (third) has the prize of a race win.”