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 car on Sunday afternoon.

Hamilton edged out Vettel after a race-long battle to cut the gap at the top of the F1 drivers’ championship down to just seven points, swinging momentum back in his favour after his defeat in Hungary last month.

Hamilton and Vettel had a couple of tight battles on-track, the most notable coming after the safety car period when the Ferrari driver was able to get close down the Kemmel Straight, albeit unable to overtake.

Hamilton said after the race that he relished the battle with a strong Vettel and Ferrari, and even thought he may get passed at the restart such was the German’s pace.

“The Ferraris I think genuinely had the upper hand particularly on race pace throughout the weekend,” Hamilton said.

“It was very, very strong today, and I was towing him around everywhere, so they were getting a good tow down the straights.

“On the restart the safety car was driving so slow, it was I guess to let the other people catch up, so keeping tyre temperature, given I was on the harder tyre, was very, very difficult. I came to the restart, Sebastian was very, very close, the front tyres weren’t switched on initially. He got a good tow.

“I think he was a little bit too close on the run out of Turn 1, so I think he had to lift off as he would have otherwise come by potentially before Eau Rouge which perhaps was a good thing for me because he lost a little bit of performance.

“He did a great race, he was very, very consistent throughout. It was fun to be racing against another team and Sebastian really at his best and the car at his best, battling within half a tenth every lap. That’s what racing is about.

“I think they’re able to keep up and follow quite closely for a long, long time, so I think they had the better pace today. But fortunately I was able to do just enough to stay ahead.”

 

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