FORMULA 1

LCH BEATS VETTLE IN HIS 200TH GRAND PRIX

LCH celebrated his 200th Formula One race by reducing Sebastian Vettel’s lead to seven points at the Belgian Grand Prix.

Twenty-four hours after Hamilton equalled Michael Schumacher’s all-time pole position record, the Briton led virtually every lap here in the Ardennes to hold off a late challenge from Vettel, who crossed the line 2.3 seconds behind his title rival.

Hamilton’s victory at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit takes him to within seven points of Vettel ahead of next week’s Italian Grand Prix.

 Daniel Ricciardo completed the podium for Red Bull, while Fernando Alonso’s miserable season took yet another miserable twist following his seventh retirement of the year.

Hamilton 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.

But after dominating the vast majority of the race, the 12th round of this see-saw championship nearly turned on its head on lap 29 when the Force India team-mates of Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon collided for the second time in their last five outings.

Perez moved across to cover Ocon’s move on the run-up to Eau Rouge, and in doing so provoked a collision which saw him sustain a right-rear puncture, and his team-mate a damaged front wing.

 “Guys, what the f—?,” an incandescent Ocon yelled over the radio. “Honestly. Idiot.”

As the Force India duo limped back to the pits, the safety car was deployed to clear the debris.