Sebastian Vettel overtook Lewis Hamilton on the first lap and comfortably held on to win the Belgian Grand Prix on Sunday in Spa, Belgium, and extend his overall championship lead.
It was Vettel’s fifth win of the season, the second from three GPs, and 31st of his outstanding career.
Fernando Alonso drove brilliantly from ninth on the grid to take second place ahead of Hamilton and move back into second overall in the title race.
Speculation heading into Spa was of Hamilton emerging as the biggest threat to Vettel’s bid for a fourth consecutive title, but within one minute Vettel dismissed that talk with a slick passing move inside Hamilton’s left. The German was never troubled after that.
“When the car works well you don’t want the race to stop,” Vettel said. “I was very comfortable at the end and the car was just a pleasure to drive.”
Vettel started from second on the grid after Hamilton secured his fourth straight pole position.
Vettel, who finished 16.8 seconds ahead of Alonso and nearly 30 ahead of Hamilton, pumped his right fist and then wagged his finger aloft — reminding everyone who really is No. 1 and admonishing those who had doubted him.
“For sure it’s a positive message today,” Vettel said. “The car was much better than we expected before the race. Looking forward to Monza now.”
Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg finished fourth ahead of Vettel’s Red Bull teammate Mark Webber.
Hamilton sat on the front row for the seventh consecutive race and eighth in nine. Vettel has not secured a pole since winning the Canadian GP in June. But it made little difference. Within one minute he was in front as the much-anticipated rain around the Ardennes forest stayed away.
“I tried my best to line up behind Lewis,” Vettel said. “Once I passed him I had incredible pace and took control until the end.”
Although Hamilton made a good start and held his line at the first turn into La Source turn, Vettel moved into the slipstream of his Mercedes and surged past him down the Kemmel straight.
“Half-decent start and got a good exit out of turn one. But Sebastian just caught me massively,” Hamilton said. “There was no defending really, I just had to watch him glide by.”
Will Power won at Sonoma Raceway for the third time in four years, earning his first victory of the IndyCar season when he took advantage of a late penalty to Scott Dixon for injuring three members of Power’s pit crew in Sonoma, Calif.
Dixon led until he received a drive-through penalty with 15 laps to go for clipping a tire in the left hand of Power’s tire holder when Dixon left his pit directly behind Power’s Team Penske Chevrolet.
The tire holder went flying into another crew member, and a third member was injured by an air gun.
Dixon thought Power’s crew got in his way on purpose, leaving him angry and confused by IndyCar’s latest call against him.
“That’s probably the most blatant thing I’ve seen in a long time,” Dixon said. “You watch most pit guys, they try to get out of the way of other people, so that was a bit of a (classless) move, to be honest. ... If that’s the way they want to try and win, that’s pretty bad.”
Dixon finished 15th and lost ground on overall IndyCar leader Helio Castroneves, who finished seventh.