Sebastian Vettel took a dominant win in a straightforward race at Spa after overtaking pole sitter Lewis Hamilton down the Kemmel straight during the very first lap of the Brazilian Grand Prix. From there it was an easy affair for the German who went on to take his 31st Grand Prix victory.
"It was a fantastic race for us. From start to finish really, very good tactics - it helped the first lap to have the tow off Lewis into Eau Rouge. Once I passed him I had incredible pace and could control the race." said Vettel after his fifth win of the season.
Lewis Hamilton got a clear getaway at the start of the race but Sebastian Vettel's RB09 surprisingly had more straight line speed than that of the Mercedes and he used that to the most to get past the British driver. By lap 2 his lead was nearly three seconds which meant he was free from Hamilton's DRS zone.
Mark Webber had another poor start and fell behind Fernando Alonso's Ferrari who in turn had a great start from 9th on the grid. Paul di Resta followed Webber's footsteps and locked his wheels at the start, losing multiple places on the run down to La Source. Meanwhile, last year's winner Jenson Button took the outside line at turn 1 and gained many places, only to lose them in the next few laps as the McLaren couldn't match the pace of his rivals.
As the race progressed, Fernando Alonso started hunting down his rivals one by one and was up into third place by end of lap six. He had to wait for 10 more laps before Hamilton made an error at La Source, running wide at the first corner of the circuit having just set the fastest lap of the race. Alonso used the opportunity the fullest to get past his former teammate. But Alonso had nothing in his bag to prevent Vettel from cruising to his fifth win of the season.
The finishing order from fourth to tenth
Nico Rosberg finished the race in fourth place after not showing any real glimpse of pace we would have expected from Mercedes. However, he was able to keep Mark Webber at bay during the last 10 laps of the race. Jenson Button took the chequered flag in sixth place after running in third before late switch to a two stop strategy.
Felipe Massa finished the race in seventh place ahead of Romain Grosjean. Adrian Sutil put on an inspired drive from outside of top 10 including a near 300 km overtake over Esteban Gutierrez before Eau Rouge to bring two points for Force India - their first points in three races. Daniel Ricciardo took the final championship point after overtaking Sergio Perez in the dying laps of the race.
Tragic end for Raikkonen and Di Resta
The race also marked the end of Kimi Raikkonen's race finishing streak after he retired from the Belgian Grand Prix following a break issue. He now fells to fourth in the championship, 63 points behind Sebastian Vettel.
Paul di Resta's weekend had a bad end as well after Pastor Maldonado ran over the back of him at the Bus Stop chicane. On lap 28, Esteban Gutierrez ran off the track before the final chicane and when he returned to the track, Maldonado had to run wide to prevent a contact. Di Resta, who was running behind Maldonado fancied a go around the Venezuelan. But Maldonado was supposed to make a pit stop on that lap and he smashed the Force India driver from the back as he tried to enter the unusual pit entry. Di Resta had to retire from the race immediately. Maldonado was given a ten stop pit stop penalty for the incident.
Red Bull and Ferrari - pulled off from the rest
It was evident that Ferrari had found some pace which had been missing during the last few races before the summer break. Whether that's down to the unique circuit configuration or down to the improvements they've made over the car and in understanding the new tyres - only time will tell. Another interesting thing to note in a rather uneventful race was Red Bull's new philosophy where they successfully sacrificed their downforce for higher straight line speed. Had it been wet, they would have been on the backfoot and Mercedes on the front. But as well all know, that wasn't the case.
The points tally
The result helps Vettel moves 46 points clear of Fernando Alonso in the drivers standing as the German looks set to win his fourth consecutive title unless something tragic happens. Lewis Hamilton moves into third place, a further 12 points behind Alonso. This race has to be a one off if Hamilton is to win the title, which in any case won't be easy. Kimi Raikkonen slips to fourth following his DNF.
In the constructors standings, Red Bull stay ahead of Mercedes, Ferrari and Lotus. McLaren moves ahead of Force India following Jenson Button's sixth place finish.