Mercedes driver Hamilton started on pole after recording a record-equaling 68 top grid positions in qualifying yesterday.
In doing so Hamilton matched Michael Schumacher’s haul of pole positions. Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel came second, with Daniel Ricciardo third. Kimi Raikkonen was fourth and Valtteri Bottas fifth.
The Brit secured his 68th career pole with a blistering lap around this famous 4.3-mile circuit on Saturday and looked on course for a straightforward win following an equally blistering start.
Hamilton perfectly control the race, but as the safety car was sent out he dived in for a new set of tyres. Vettel followed his rival in, with the former taking on the supposedly quicker ultrasoft compound. Hamilton took on the soft rubber, the more durable but slowest of the three tyres available this weekend.
An anxious Hamilton undoubtedly detected danger from Vettel, and queried why the safety car had been deployed.
“Why have they got the safety car out?,” he asked. “There is literally no debris anywhere. That’s a BS (bulls***) call from the stewards.”
Following the Safety Car, Vettel was within centimeters of Hamilton’s Mercedes as they sped up Eau Rouge and on to the Kemmel Straight at 200 miles per hour. But the expert piece of defensive driving from Hamilton saved from the Vette’s attack.
Hamilton was making his 200th F1 race appearance in Sunday’s grand prix and claims third victory in Spa.
“I came here in 1996 with my dad,” Hamilton said.
“It was our dream to be here one day. We were nobodies. So, hopefully this just shows that dreams do come true and you just have to keep striving for excellence and never give up.
“It has been a strong weekend for myself and the team. Sebastian put a great fight on, but this is what I said I was coming to do, and I did it.”
Vettel added: “It was good fun and really intense. I was waiting for Lewis to make a mistake and he didn’t. He was probably waiting for me to make a mistake and I didn’t.
“At the restart, I was fearing that I was not close enough, but I was too close, so at the top of the hill I had to go to the outside and there was nowhere to go.”