Nico Rosberg has cut Lewis Hamilton’s title lead to nine points with victory at an action-packed Belgian GP.
While Rosberg enjoyed an incident-free cruise to victory from pole position, teammate Hamilton successfully navigated his Mercedes car from 21st to third to only lose ten points to his team-mate and solitary title rival.
Daniel Ricciardo finished second to join on the podium after emerging unscathed from a race of chaos and controversy.
Hamilton’s damage limitation operation to end the race third was substantially helped by a first-lap collision that effectively took Kimi Raikkonen, Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen out of contention for a podium finish along with four retirements across an unruly opening half-dozen laps followed by a 20-minute stoppage for a horror crash involving Renault’s Kevin Magnussen.
Nico Hulkenberg equalled his best-ever result in F1 by taking fourth ahead of Force India team-mate Sergio Perez and Vettel while McLaren’s Fernando Alonso, who started alongside Hamilton on the back row, produced the drive of the day to fight to seventh.
Belgian GP race result
1. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, 1:44:51
2. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, + 14.113
3. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, + 27.634
4. Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, + 35.907
5. Sergio Perez, Force India, + 40.660
6. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, + 45.394
7. Fernando Alonso, McLaren, + 59.445
8. Valtteri Bottas, Williams, + 60.151
9. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, + 61.109
10. Felipe Massa, Williams, + 65.873
11. Max Verstappen, Red Bull, +71.138
12. Esteban Gutierrez, Haas, +73.877
13. Romain Grosjean, Haas, +76.474
14. Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso, +87.097
15. Jolyon Palmer, Renault, +93.165
16. Esteban Ocon, Manor, + 1 lap
17. Felipe Nasr, Sauber, + 1 lap
Did not finish: Kevin Magnussen, Pascal Wehrlein, Jenson Button, Carlos Sainz