Vettel wins Belgian GP to extend overall lead

SPA, Belgium — Sebastian Vettel overtook Lewis Hamilton on the first lap and comfortably held on to win the Belgian Grand Prix on Sunday and extend his overall championship lead.

It was Vettel’s fifth win of the season, the second from three GPs, and 31st of his outstanding career.

Fernando Alonso drove brilliantly from ninth on the grid to take second place ahead of Hamilton and move back into second overall in the title race.

Speculation heading into Spa was of Hamilton emerging as the biggest threat to Vettel’s bid for a fourth straight title, but within one minute Vettel dismissed that talk with a slick passing move inside Hamilton’s left. The German was never troubled after that.

“When the car works well you don’t want the race to stop,” Vettel said. “I was very comfortable at the end and the car was just a pleasure to drive.”

Vettel started from second on the grid after Hamilton secured his fourth straight pole position.

Vettel, who finished 16.8 seconds ahead of Alonso and nearly 30 ahead of Hamilton, pumped his right fist and then wagged his finger aloft — reminding everyone who really is No. 1 and admonishing those who had doubted him.

“For sure it’s a positive message today,” Vettel said. “The car was much better than we expected before the race. Looking forward to Monza now.”

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