Lewis Hamilton extended his Formula One world championship lead after hunting down long-time leader Kimi Raikkonen to win the Belgian Grand Prix in increasingly treacherous conditions at Spa-Francorchamps.

Having handed the initiative to the Finn at the end of lap one, when he spun at La Source, Hamilton appeared to be set for second place, albeit still able to extend his championship advantage, but the onset of rain in the closing stages prompted a charge from the McLaren man that sliced into Raikkonen's cushion.

When the rain finally arrived, both drivers were still on the harder Bridgestone rubber, and found staying on the track nigh on impossible. Hamilton made his move at the Bus Stop, but cut the corner and had to hand the lead back to Raikkonen. He then made a move stick into La Source, getting past the world champion, but the conditions intensified and both struggled through the final two laps.

Hamilton ran wide at La Source, handing the lead back to Raikkonen, who then spun and handed it back. Hamilton twitched but held it on the run to Fagnes, but Kimi's challenge ended at roughly the same spot, as he lost control and planted the Ferrari in the wall.

From there, Hamilton was able to tip-toe home, as the second Ferrari of Felipe Massa - never in the race amid rumours of a wilting engine - was not close enough to challenge.

Raikkonen's exit appeared to hand third to Fernando Alonso, but the Spaniard was also struggling and dropped behind the impressive Sebastien Bourdais in the closing laps. From nowhere, however, came Nick Heidfeld, inspired by the decision to stop two laps from home and fit intermediates, and bringing the BMW Sauber from ninth to third in that time.

Alonso recovered on the final lap, gaining enough drive out of the Bus Stop to claim two places at the line, while Sebastian Vettel beat Robert Kubica, Bourdais and Timo Glock to the final points places.

Full report and result to follow....


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