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Vettel takes fifth GP win at Spa

2013-08-25 16:11

HEADED FOR HIS FOURTH F1 TITLE: Sebastian Vettel stretched his overall lead to 46 points after winning the 2013 Belgian GP. Image: AP

SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS, Belgium - Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel dominated the 2013 Belgian Grand Prix to stretch his overall lead to 46 points with eight races remaining in the Formula 1 season.

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, now his closest rival, finished second - a hefty 16.8 seconds behind - after starting ninth. Red Bull's Vettel has 197 points after the his fifth win of the 2013 season. Alonso has 151 points

HAMILTON IN THIRD

Lewis Hamilton, who started on pole position for the fourth race in a row, took a distant third place for Mercedes ahead of team mate Nico Rosberg and moved up to third overall on 139.

Kimi Raikkonen's run of 27 successive races in the points came to an end with the first retirement since his comeback last year. H started the race second in the championship but fell to fourth overall with 134 points.

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

Vettel started from second on the grid after Hamilton secured his fourth straight pole position. He finished 16.8 seconds ahead of Alonso and nearly 30 clear of Hamilton.

Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg finished fourth ahead of Vettel's Red Bull team mate Mark Webber.

FOUR POLES IN A ROW


Hamilton become the first Briton since Damon Hill in 1995 to achieve four straight poles and sat on the front row for the seventh consecutive race and eighth in nine.

Vettel has not secured a pole since winning the Canadian GP in June 2013 but it made little difference. Within one minute he was in front as the much-anticipated rain around the Ardennes forest stayed away.

Although Hamilton made a good start and held his line at the first turn into La Source turn, Vettel moved into the slipstream of his Mercedes and surged past him down the Kemmel straight.

Alonso, meanwhile, looked like he was on a mission as he carved through the field, zooming past last year's Spa winner Jenson Button and Rosberg to move into third.

GROSJEAN BEHAVES

After earning a one-race ban for reckless driving at the 2012 race, where his dangerous driving sent three drivers off the track at the first turn, Romain Grosjean made a noticeably conservative start and seemed desperate to avoid even the slightest contact.

Shortly after, Sergio Perez was given a drive through penalty for forcing Grosjean wide. Grosjean said:"He pushed me completely off the track."

Hamilton was the first of the front-runners to pit for new tyres, followed by Alonso. Vettel stayed out three laps longer than Hamilton, who was held up by traffic when he came out, enabling Alonso to move past him into second.

VETTEL DOMINATES THROUGHOUT THE RACE

Halfway through the 44-lap circuit — the longest in F1 at 7km and the most difficult along with Monaco — Vettel led Alonso by more than eight seconds.

Raikkonen, second overall heading into the race, had to abandon on lap 26 with smoke coming from his front right brake, ending his remarkably consistent run of scoring points in 27 consecutive races. Shortly after, Paul di Resta and Pastor Maldonado crashed into each other.

The nose of Maldonado's Williams nudged into di Resta's Force India, sending it spinning off the track. Maldonado continued after minor repairs and was given a ten-second stop and go penalty.

Alonso pitted for the second time shortly after, and Vettel made his second tire change a couple of minutes later.

GREENPEACE PROTEST

Before the race, protesters from the environmental group Greenpeace staged a brief demonstration against race sponsor Shell's plans to drill in the Arctic.

Two paragliders flew over the circuit, trailing a banner, and others then climbed onto the grandstand roof and unfurled a 20-meter long banner that read "ARCTIC OIL? SHELL NO!"

Greenpeace international executive director Kumi Naidoo said: "I was a fan of Grand Prix racing when I was growing up, but I am not a fan of what Shell is doing in the Arctic.

"Right now we are in the race of our lives against Shell, a company that sees the melting of the Arctic as a business opportunity, rather than a warning."

Click here for the 2013 Belgian grand prix race results!

Qualifying
Third practice
Second practice
First practice

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