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Hamilton hails poignant win as he edges closer to history

 

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In front: Lewis Hamilton leads the way

In front: Lewis Hamilton leads the way

AP

Lewis Hamilton celebrates his victory

Lewis Hamilton celebrates his victory

AP

In front: Lewis Hamilton leads the way

Lewis Hamilton stormed to another regulation victory at the Belgian Grand Prix to extend his lead in his bid for a record-equalling seventh World Championship.

The Mercedes driver led every lap from pole position to claim his fifth win of an increasingly one-sided Formula One campaign.

Valtteri Bottas took the chequered flag at Spa-Francorchamps 8.4 seconds behind his team-mate, with Red Bull driver Max Verstappen in third.

Hamilton dedicated his win to Chadwick Boseman, the Black Panther actor who died this weekend aged 43 after a battle with cancer.

The Briton performed the film's Wakanda salute, arms crossed over his chest, on the podium and then tweeted pictures of that moment and his pre-race stance in a Black Lives Matter T-shirt along with a written tribute.

"It's been an emotional weekend, I want to dedicate this win to Chad and his family. He was such an inspiration and his legacy will live on," he wrote. "I'm posting this image because we must continue to fight for equality, nothing has changed yet and the battle continues."

British driver George Russell emerged unscathed from a harrowing accident which saw his Williams hit by Antonio Giovinazzi's wheel after he crashed out.

Ferrari completed one of their worst weekends in recent memory with Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc finishing in 13th and 14th respectively.

Daniel Ricciardo was fourth for Renault ahead of team-mate Esteban Ocon, with Red Bull's Alexander Albon sixth and Lando Norris seventh for McLaren.

Hamilton will head to Ferrari's home race at Monza in a week's time with a dominant 47-point Championship lead after yet another crushing victory.

After racing to his 93rd career pole with a scintillating track record of the 4.3 miles that make up this iconic venue deep in the Ardennes, Hamilton will have known the greatest threat to his 89th career win would come on the opening lap.

Hamilton kept Bottas behind at the short run down to La Source before continuing to keep the Finn at arm's length on the long run up through Eau Rouge, along the Kemmel Straight and into Les Combes.

Instead of challenging for the lead, Bottas came under pressure from Verstappen but managed to retain second place.

Hamilton was 1.5 seconds clear of Bottas after the opening lap. Bottas then appeared to ask for an extra engine mode to take the fight to Hamilton, one which was denied by the Mercedes pit wall.

Despite the dominant nature of the win, Hamilton had fears for the state of his tyres in the closing stages.

"It wasn't the easiest of races," he said. "I had a lock-up into Turn 5 which gave me a vibration on the tyre. It was a bit of a struggle. I was nervous we might have a scenario like Silverstone where I had the puncture, so I was nursing it to the end.

"I know it is not what everyone wants to see, but no matter how much success we have we just keep our heads down.

"Back at the office, there are no guys celebrating. It is all about how we can win the next race."

Belfast Telegraph