Victory in Belgium a 'dream come true' for Hamilton

Kimi Raikkonen

The race marked his 200th win of the Briton's career and his fifth win in Belgium.

Lewis Hamilton revelled in his fifth victory of the 2017 Formula 1 season after seeing off a stiff challenge from Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel in the Belgian Grand Prix, believing his rival to have been in the quicker vehicle on Sunday afternoon.

The 30-year-old German was almost half a second slower than his main title rival Lewis Hamilton who topped the times for Mercedes ahead of his 200th Grand Prix start.

The German's son Mick is set to drive his 1994 championship-winning Benetton around the track before today's race to mark the occasion.

An emotional Hamilton, who was nearly a quarter of a second faster than championship leader Sebastian Vettel, said: "To hear the message that Ross just gave, I have to say a big thank you". It's insane to think that I have been in Formula One as long as I have.

"So I'm very, very happy".

"The auto felt strong straight out of the box", said Hamilton, who has won four races this season.

"We work very well together, as does the whole team", Raikkonen continued.

Hamilton made a good start to the race on the long climb up to Eau Rouge, but Max Verstappen's hopes ended on lap 8 when his Red Bull lost power. No games. I am here to win. "I'm confident that we are doing right things and getting where we want to". "We need to turn that around, and we need to be consistent in finishing and in finishing ahead of them".

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Max Verstappen used his ultra-softs to jump ahead of Ricciardo with 20 minutes remaining, as the Red Bull ended up 0.8s slower than Raikkonen.

The session began in bright and dry conditions, but finished in teeming rain.

Vettel is seen as Ferrari's clear No.1, following in the footsteps of seven-times champion Michael Schumacher, while Mercedes is firm on equal treatment for its drivers, and Hamilton's fair play stood out in the last race before the August break when he relinquished third place to team-mate Valtteri Bottas on the final lap under a prior agreement.

Force India-Mercedes' Esteban Ocon was ninth and Toro Rosso-Renault's Carlos Sainz completed the top ten.

"Obviously I knew that we had a tire advantage with the ultra-softs versus the softs for the first couple of laps and particularly the restart", Vettel said.

Bottas has struggled to match Hamilton all weekend and admitted he was perplexed by his lack of pace.

"The auto felt strong all-round, straight out of the box".

"He's leading [the championship] and they're in a really good position, so it's fairly obvious". "It has never been more than chatting, mostly about other stuff to be honest".

"I can't think of what's been my favorite race".

"I pray for Michael and his family all the time", Hamilton said. "Everyone can find a little bit of engine speed but, unfortunately, I think Ferrari can find the same engine speed as Mercedes can".

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