Spa, Belgium – Sebastian Vettel from Red Bull added to his points lead in the Formula One world championship by winning Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix with a superb performance.
Vettel, the three-time defending F1 titleholder, overtook Mercedes driver and pole sitter Lewis Hamilton for the lead on the opening lap. He was untouchable for the remainder of the 44-lap race at the 4.352-mile Spa-Francorchamps circuit. Vettel gave up the top spot very briefly when he pitted for the first time on lap 15. The 26-year-old German crossed the finish line 16.8 seconds ahead of his closest competitor, Fernando Alonso from Ferrari.
It was the 31st career victory for Vettel, which placed him in a tie with Nigel Mansell for fifth on F1's all-time grand prix winners list. Five of Vettel's wins have come this season.
"It was a fantastic race for us from start to finish," said Vettel, who also won the Belgian GP in 2011. "We had very good tactics, and it helped on the first lap to be able to pass Lewis. Once I passed him, we had incredible pace. We could really control the race until the end."
Vettel's lead is now 46 points over Alonso, who moved up to second in the championship battle following his runner-up finish.
"We had to recover in some places that we were not okay yesterday (in qualifying)," Alonso said. "Everything went okay from the start. The car had some speed to overtake other cars, and then it was a little bit boring after we got into second place. I was far from Sebastian, and there was no big threat behind me."
Hamilton, who won the previous grand prix in Hungary four weeks ago, fell 58 points behind Vettel after finishing third in Belgium.
"We had a tough race, and these guys (Vettel and Alonso) were a little bit faster, but the team did a great job throughout the weekend," Hamilton said.
Lotus' Kimi Raikkonen dropped from second to fourth in the championship standings after retiring with 19 laps to go. Raikkonen experienced brake failure and ran off course in the final chicane. He had scored at least one point in each of his last 27 grand prix.
Nico Rosberg from Mercedes finished fourth, while Vettel's teammate, Mark Webber, took the fifth spot.
McLaren's Jenson Button, who won the Belgian GP one year ago, placed sixth, followed by Felipe Massa from Ferrari and Lotus' Romain Grosjean. Adrian Sutil from Force India and Toro Rosso's Daniel Ricciardo completed the top-10.