Sebastian Vettel said he timed his move on Lewis Hamilton to perfection as he swooped past the Mercedes to take the lead of the Belgian Grand Prix.
Vettel made a decisive move on Hamilton at the start of the Belgian GP and was forced to fend off the fast-charging Force Indias. Dan Mullan/Getty Images
Vettel went on to win the race by 11 seconds, reversing the result of last year’s race at Spa-Francorchamps when Hamilton was able to keep the Ferrari driver at bay. But this year, Vettel was able to learn the lessons of 12 months ago and passed Hamilton at the very point the Mercedes driver defended successfully defended against him last year.
“On the first lap, I had great start — I’m not sure Lewis saw me — he pushed me quite far to left,” he explained. “But I knew my chance would be later on up the hill, and I think I timed it well. Obviously last year I was always ending up short. It was better this year, we had a bit less wing. Timing is crucial and I managed that perfectly I thought.”
Vettel said he got a scare when Esteban Ocon emerged on his inside at Les Combes, but the Force India driver would have had to risk a collision if he threw his car up the inside.
“Then the Force India came as well, but as soon as I was ahead, I was relieved. With the Safety Car then, it was the other way round [between Lewis and I]. I thought, well I got that done and now I’ve got the Safety Car, but I had a good restart, very good exit of T1, kept it clean, it was tricky with the headwind braking for the first turn.
“After that it was a very smooth race. Lewis pushed hard, especially the first stint towards the end, he was very fast. Second stint, could turn everything down and control the pace. Great weekend.”
Source: ESPN Image: Getty