Formula One 2016

Easy does it: Nico Rosberg cruises to comfortable victory in Belgian Grand Prix

German rekindles his bid for the drivers’ world championship in crash-hit Formula One race at the Spa-Francorchamps track, as Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton battles to third from back of the grid

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 28 August, 2016, 10:31pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 28 August, 2016, 11:49pm

Nico Rosberg rekindled his bid for the drivers’ world championship by steering his Mercedes to a convincing victory in Sunday’s chaotic crash-hit Belgian Grand Prix, as Lewis Hamilton fought back to finish third.

Rosberg’s delight was reduced by his Mercedes team-mate Hamilton’s damage-limiting and thrilling drive to finish on the podium after starting from the back row of the grid.

Australian Daniel Ricciardo finished second in his Red Bull.

The 31-year-old Rosberg, who started from his third successive pole position, led from start to finish in a 44-laps race fractured by accidents and incidents to secure his first victory in Belgium and his sixth of the season.

Jump-start: another triumph for Lewis Hamilton as he reigns in Germany after Nico Rosberg cops penalty

“It was a great weekend and I’m very happy with the result,” said Rosberg after the race. “I understand some of you [fans] are disappointed and you wanted [Max] Verstappen here but he is only young, his time will come.

“Congratulation to Lewis. From last to third must have been pretty impressive. It is great to get the win, it is a legendary track. Lewis starting at the back made it a lot easier and I’m sure he will back at Monza.”

Hamilton, who started 21st after being handed 60 grid position penalties for taking three new power-units through the weekend, remains narrowly ahead of Rosberg in the title race with 232 points to his 223.

Hamilton said: “A big thank you to this crowd, they have been incredible and a big thank you to everyone for supporting me. I have changed three engines so we are ahead of the others and that is great. It has been a remarkable day and a great race.”

Ricciardo was delighted with third and even more delighted after compatriot Mark Webber driank from his shoe.

“I think we just made our country even prouder,” said a giggly Ricciardo. ““It was cool. We took damage on the first corner but came back out and it was a race by myself but to keep Lewis behind was great.”

German Nico Hulkenberg finished fourth ahead of his Force India team-mate Sergio Perez, as the Silverstone-based team overhauled rivals Williams in the constructors’ championship.

Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari recovered from a first-corner collision with his own team-mate Kimi Raikkonen to take sixth ahead of Fernando Alonso, who had started 22nd on the grid.

Valtteri Bottas was eighth for Williams ahead of Raikkonen and Brazilian Felipe Massa.

The race was halted in the early stages when Dane Kevin Magnussen crashed heavily, but he limped away from his wrecked Renault car with only a damaged ankle.