Charles Leclerc scored his main Formula 1 victory after withstanding a late-race charge from Lewis Hamilton.
Leclerc led from pole position convincingly ahead of Vettel, who then pitted early when he came under pressure from Hamilton. Leclerc, Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas all ran longer first stints, which elevated Vettel into the lead temporarily.
But Leclerc swiftly caught his team mate and Ferrari wasted no time telling the slower Vettel to let him by. A few laps later Hamilton fought his way past for second, and began his pursuit of Leclerc, though he ultimately had to settle for second. Vettel made an extra pit stop, surrendering third place to Bottas, but was never able to get back on terms with the Mercedes.
Lando Norris spent much of the race in fifth place but was denied the place when he suffered a suspected engine failure on the penultimate lap. That promoted Alexander Albon to fifth, though the new Red Bull driver is under investigation for an incident with Sergio Perez at the end of the race. Perez took sixth.
The other Red Bull didn’t make it as far as lap two. Max Verstappen got away very slowly, then tangled with Kimi Raikkonen at the first corner, and crashed out with damage at Raidillon.
Both Toro Rosso drivers saw the chequered flag in the points, Daniil Kvyat ahead of Pierre Gasly, the pair separated by Nico Hulkenberg. Daniel Ricciardo had to pit for damage inspection at the end of the first lap. Lance Stroll picked up the final point courtesy of Norris’s retirement.
Antonio Giovinazzi was another late-race retirement after crashing out at Pouhon.
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2019 Belgian Grand Prix reaction
- Hamilton: “Unlucky” Leclerc could have three wins already
- Ricciardo: I don’t think any of us wanted to race after Hubert crash
- Wolff suspects Mercedes could have caught Leclerc sooner
- Leclerc says it will take him a few weeks to enjoy his first win
- Perez avoids penalty for “hard racing” last-lap move on Albon
- Vettel pleased to help Leclerc win by holding Hamilton up