LONDON – With a seventh Formula One world championship driving him to a perfect finish this season, Lewis Hamilton landed another historic title by winning the Belgian Grand Prix in Spa-Francorchamps.
The three-time former champion posted his fourth victory in five races to give him the 100th win of his long career and only the fifth Briton in Formula One history to earn a seventh championship.
Hamilton now has just one race left to achieve his 20th career grand prix win and his second in a row at the Belgian race. With this victory, his fourth, he now trails Sebastian Vettel by one point.
“I don’t want to lose, so whatever happens I will be very happy,” he said. “The challenge in the end is winning the last race of the season and then having a good fight in Brazil. We are in a good position.”
Vettel finished fourth after the Formula One circus made a brief stop at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit before heading to Monza, Italy for the next race in two weeks.
Hamilton has been on a roll since July at least, winning in Austria, Canada and Hungary before lifting the top prize for the 10th time at the last race in Hungary.
“Believe me I was quite nervous leading up to today,” he said. “The pressure was the same as ever. The whole thing has been nerve-wracking. There’s a lot riding on it.”
Hamilton won the start, hardly a liability given his form on start lines this season.
Before the lights turned red, Hamilton and the entire field was swamped in the first few corners and came to a stop on the second lap. There was too much carnage to count, with the British driver the only driver able to put his car back on the track.
He had changed tires, rejoined in third, and made up for some of his slow-starting errors in the run-up to the weekend with a superb overtaking move around the outside of McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen.
“This is the way it should be,” he said, “I knew I had to pick up and use every bit of experience I had. It felt very relaxed out there. That’s because I knew I had nothing to lose.”
The 2008 champion raised his arms and pointed at the sky after passing both Vettel and Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen. That gave him a quick lap with the fastest lap, allowing him to regain the lead for good in the back straight.
Hamilton’s title chase was completed by Nico Rosberg, who failed to finish after his front wing failed on the first lap.