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Hamilton two shy of Schumacher's wins record after cruise in Belgium

Hamilton two shy of Schumacher's wins record after cruise in Belgium

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Hamilton two shy of Schumacher's wins record after cruise in Belgium

Hamilton two shy of Schumacher's wins record after cruise in Belgium

Lewis Hamilton enjoyed a stroll around Spa to move another step closer to equalling Michael Schumacher's record of seven Formula 1 world titles.

It was a lights-to-flag triumph for Hamilton, and as easy as they come, to open up a 47-point gap over Red Bull's Max Verstappen, who had to settle for third behind the second Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas, who is now 50 points adrift.

This was Hamilton's fourth victory in Belgium, his fifth in the past six races this year, and the 89th of his F1 career to leave him just two shy of another of Schumacher's records.

By the chequered flag, Hamilton finished 8.448.secs clear of Bottas, with Verstappen a further seven seconds back.

Behind the leading trio, Daniel Ricciardo equalled his best result of fourth for Renault, achieved twice previously in the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix at Silverstone and last year's race in Italy, whilst he also snatched the point for fastest lap on the last lap from Hamilton.

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Ricciardo was followed home by team-mate Esteban Ocon, with Alex Albon sixth for Red Bull, followed by McLaren's Lando Norris.

The Briton was the only McLaren to start and finish the race as team-mate Carlos Sainz was forced out on his way to the grid due to a power unit issue that led to an exhaust failure. A year ago, the Spaniard suffered a power failure and failed to get off the line.

AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly was eighth, with Racing Point duo Lance Stroll and Sergio Perez completing the top 10, while Ferrari pair Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc completed a miserable weekend with 13th and 14th positions.

Once Hamilton emerged out of the first corner La Source hairpin, it then became a case of whether he could hold off Bottas, Verstappen and Ricciardo in his slipstream going up through Eau Rouge and along the Kemmel Straight.

Hamilton's power enabled him to break Bottas from his tow, and instead, it became a battle between former Red Bull team-mates Verstappen and Ricciardo as they hurtled along the Kemmel at around 200mph.

A fantastic duel unfolded between the duo, with Verstappen just doing enough to keep the Australian at bay, even though he was on the soft compound tyre compared to the medium for the Dutchman.

For a handful of laps, Bottas managed to keep Hamilton in his sights, but never get close enough to get into DRS range and launch an attack.

At one stage Bottas asked over the radio: "We have one push, no?", to which the response was: "We do, but we agreed not to use against each other." The puzzled Finn then said: "I never heard of that."

With Hamilton holding a comfortable cushion of just under two seconds to Bottas after the opening 10 laps, the complexion of the race altered on the 11th lap as Alfa Romeo's Antonio Giovinazzi and George Russell in his Williams were involved in a major accident.

Emerging out of the left-hander at Fagnes, Giovinazzi appeared to do nothing more than to apply the throttle a little too soon, sending the Italian into a spin and a heavy shunt into a barrier, bouncing off and back across the track.

Unfortunately for Russell following behind, the left-rear from Giovinazzi's car had become detached. As the Briton attempted to swerve his way around the stricken Alfa, the loose wheel hit his front-right tyre, forcing him into the barrier opposite to the one that accounted for Giovinazzi.

Given the volume of debris on the track, and for the seventh successive year, the safety car was brought into play, allowing the majority of the field to switch to the hard tyre in a bid to run to the end of the lap.

Gasly, who started on the hard compound, and the soft-tyre shod Perez opted against pitting, leaving them in fourth and fifth behind the leading trio of Hamilton, Bottas and Verstappen.

Come the restart, after three laps behind the safety car, Hamilton was again able to keep Bottas and Verstappen at bay, and from that moment on it was a cruise to the line other than tyre management in the closing laps.

The British Grand Prix at Silverstone will have been in the backs of the minds of all those at Mercedes when Hamilton and Bottas suffered tyre failures in the closing stages, with the Briton limping across the line on three wheels.

But there was no such drama on this occasion as Hamilton went on to finish in the points for the 40th consecutive race.

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Mon 30 Nov

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