Hamilton holds off Vettel to win landmark Belgium Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton held off Sebastian Vettel to win on his 200th Grand Prix start at Spa-Francorchamps and halve his rival's advantage in the battle for the Formula One title.

The Mercedes driver took pole to match Michael Schumacher's record of 68 on Saturday and fended off Vettel to claim victory in the Belgian Grand Prix for a third time a day later.

Hamilton was disgruntled when a safety car was deployed late in the race following a collision between Force India team-mates Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez, but stayed out in front on a second set of soft tyres with Vettel unable to catch him on ultrasofts.

Hamilton trails Vettel by only seven points after taking the chequered flag 2.358 seconds in front of the Ferrari driver, who was unable to celebrate his new three-year deal with a win in the first race after the mid-season break.

Daniel Ricciardo took third place ahead of Kimi Raikkonen, who was given a 10 second stop-go penalty after failing to slow for double yellow flags.

Valtteri Bottas finished fifth after dropping back following the restart, while Max Verstappen endured more misery as he retired for the sixth time this season.

Hamilton got off to a good start, not allowing Vettel a look-in when the German made a move on the outside, with Bottas holding on to third spot.

The Brit gradually increased his advantage as Verstappen retired on lap nine after losing power in what has become a season to forget for the Red Bull driver, who was backed by an army of Dutch supporters.

Vettel clocked the fastest lap before Hamilton was the first of the top four to pit for a switch to softs during the 13th lap, returning in fourth place.

Two laps later Vettel went in for a set of softs and Hamilton wasted no time in getting past Raikkonen when Ferrari would have been hoping for the Finn to hold the three-time world champion up.

Raikkonen dropped to eighth after stopping for his penalty, while Vettel hunted down Hamilton as he closed the gap to within a second.

There was a twist when the safety car came out on lap 30 after Ocon and Perez clashed, leaving the latter without a rear tyre and debris on the track.

Ferrari called Vettel in for ultrasofts in a throw of the dice, but Hamilton's second set of softs enabled him to finish off the job and get his rewards for a controlled drive with a 58th Grand Prix win. His colleague Bottas lost two places after the race got under way again, Ricciardo passing him on ultrasofts and Raikkonen also overtaking his compatriot, who paid the price for running wide at Les Combes.

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