Nico Rosberg wins in Belgium, closes in on Hamilton in title fight

BY foxsports • August 28, 2016

Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg won Sunday's Belgian GP at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium. It is his sixth win of the season and first since the European GP at Baku in June. It is also his first win in Belgium.

Rosberg knew he had a good shot at the win coming into the race, having qualified on pole while Lewis Hamilton was forced to start from the rear due to engine penalties.

The opening laps of the race were chaotic, with a three-wide battle for second in the first turn leading to a collision between Max Verstappen, Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel. Vettel spun while Verstappen and Raikkonen both had to pit for repairs. It wouldn't be the last time Verstappen and Raikkonen would meet, with the Red Bull Racing driver making multiple questionable moves in various battles throughout the duration of the race. Verstappen finished outside the points in 11th.

On Lap 2, debris from various incidents led to a blown tire for Toro Rosso driver Carlos Sainz, while Jenson Button and Pascal Wehrlein were also early retirements due to contact.

On Lap 6, a Safety Car was deployed for a high-speed crash exiting Raidillon for Kevin Magnussen. Fortunately, he was able to limp away from the car. The race was red-flagged on Lap 10 while marshals made repaired to the barriers, allowing the drivers to change tires before the race resumed.

On Lap 11, Rosberg led Daniel Ricciardo, Nico Hulkenberg, Fernando Alonso and Hamilton back to green, despite the fact that Alonso and Hamilton had started on the back row of the grid. Alonso and Hamilton had opted not to pit ahead of the red flag, while other top competitors had, causing them to drop down the order.

Shortly after the restart, Hamilton began to pick off spots, starting with Alonso for fourth and then Hulkenberg for third.

At the halfway point, Hamilton, Hulkenberg and Alonso all pit, with McLaren releasing Alonso alongside Hulkenberg's Force India. The two made contact on pit exit but continued and the stewards took no action.

Having chose one set less of medium tires compared to his competition, Hamilton was forced to make an extra stop to switch from softs to a used set of mediums at the end of the race, dropping him back to fourth behind Hulkenberg. Hamilton quickly got back by the German but wasn't able to run down Ricciardo.

Rosberg led Ricciardo and Hamilton across the line. Hamilton's points lead to Rosberg has now been reduced from 19 points to 9.

Meanwhile, solid finishes for the Force India teammates allowed them to leapfrog Williams for fourth in the constructors standings.

Unofficial race results: