Lewis Hamilton has comfortably taken his 89th career Grand Prix win with an emphatic display at Spa-Francorchamps, leading home teammate Valtteri Bottas by 8.4s to collect Mercedes’ 50th 1-2 since they returned to the sport as a constructor back in 2010.
Behind Bottas was Max Verstappen, the Red Bull never offering any signs of a promising attack on the leading pair and even dipped behind Daniel Ricciardo briefly on the opening lap as the field jockeyed only the Kemmel Straight.
Pierre Gasly had jumped his AlphaTauri teammate Daniil Kvyat for P10 in a frantic start for the midfield with Charles Leclerc finding five spots on one lap to run in eighth.
But Gasly seemed to be the man on the charge and he pulled off an incredible inside pass on Sergio Perez for ninth at Eau Rouge just a handful of laps in.
The opening stanza of the race had those on the soft tyre like Ricciardo begin to make inroads on the cars running the more durable medium tyre, but the field soon all boxed for a set of hards on Lap 11 as the race’s only Safety Car was deployed.
A hefty crash involving George Russell and Antonio Giovinazzi spewed debris across the circuit at Turn 12. Giovinazzi had lost control of his Alfa Romeo on the exit of Fagnes and speared into the barriers before rebounding back across the circuit.
In the process, an errant wheel collided with an innocent Russell who was avoiding the incident, ploughing him gracelessly into the wall.
That left Mercedes to double-stack its drivers and Bottas nearly lost out to fast-stopping Verstappen on the exit.
Meanwhile, Sebastian Vettel, who had barely featured in the race was easily overtaken by Kimi Raikkonen despite both drivers using the same power unit. The German struggled to fight back and he ended a disappointing day in 13th.
From there, the field ran in procession as they nursed they ageing tyres to the chequered flag. Verstappen finished some seven-seconds behind Bottas in third while Ricciardo capped off a sublime weekend by finishing fourth and scoring a point for the fastest lap of the race.
The action did pick up on the final lap as Ricciardo’s teammate Esteban Ocon demoted Alex Albon to sixth with a move along the Kemmel Straight as he ran into issues having taken the mediums instead of the hards under the Safety Car.
Behind, Lando Norris put up a late move Lance Stroll for seventh. Norris was the sole McLaren in the field with Carlos Sainz retiring with an exhaust failure on the reconnaissance lap and failed to take the start of the race.
Gasly also overtook Stroll in the dying laps for eighth, with Perez rounding out the points.
Leclerc’s lap one heroics were to no avail as the woeful Ferrari engine saw the Monegasque fall back over the course of the race to finish behind his teammate in 14th, neither Ferrari troubling the scorers today.
Hamilton extends his points lead over Verstappen to 47 while Bottas slims the deficit to the Red Bull and now sits only three points behind in third.
Two more back-to-back Grands Prix are to come for the paddock as they head to Italy and Monza for the Italian GP on September 4-6.