5 things we learned from the Belgian Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton halved Sebastian Vettel’s lead at the summit of the Formula One championship with victory in Belgium.

Here are five talking points:

1. Hamilton’s still up against it

Twenty-four hours after matching Michael Schumacher’s pole position record, Hamilton, contesting his 200th grand prix, led virtually every lap to secure his fifth win of the season and reduce Vettel’s title lead. Yet, the Spa-Francorchamps course was supposed to be one which suited Mercedes, and while Hamilton won, he will no doubt be alarmed as to how hard-fought his victory actually was. Vettel did not give Hamilton a moment’s respite, and at a track where Mercedes were expected to dominate, the intensity of the battle, will be of cause for concern.

2. Perez and Ocon feel the Force

Sergio Perez
Force India driver Sergio Perez of Mexico steers his car during the third practice session (Olivier Matthys/AP)

Sergio Perez’s relationship with Esteban Ocon appears beyond repair after they collided twice in Belgium. Ocon called Perez an “idiot” over the radio, then accused his team-mate of trying to kill him during his post-race media commitments, before reiterating his stance on Twitter. “We were having a good race until Perez tried to kill me two times,” the 20-year-old Frenchman wrote. Mexican Perez, seven years Ocon’s senior, then gave his version of events. “I am very disappointed to see his comments that l wanted to kill him,” Perez said. “I am not that type of guy. I just want to tell the truth and move on.”

3. Renault apologise to Max

Max Verstappen
Red Bull driver Max Verstappen adjusts his helmet steps in the pit garage (Geert Vanden Wijngaert/AP)

Four-time champion and Renault chief Alain Prost personally apologised to Max Verstappen after the Dutchman’s failure to finish in Spa. Verstappen, running in fifth, came to a stuttering halt on the Kemmel Straight after his Red Bull-Renault engine expired. It marked his sixth DNF of a season which has become increasingly frustrating for the teenager. The Spa-Francorchamps circuit last week played host to record-breaking crowds, due in part to the large army of Dutch supporters who travelled across the border to cheer on Verstappen. “I am extremely disappointed, not just because of my retirement but for the fans also,” Verstappen said.

4. Luckless Palmer calls for Alonso penalty

Results panel
(PA Graphics)

Renault’s Jolyon Palmer was forced to start a lowly 14th, with team-mate Nico Hulkenberg seventh on the grid. He then failed to make his way through traffic before losing further ground after an altercation with Fernando Alonso. “Alonso forced me off the track,” Palmer said. “I don’t know if he will get a penalty, but he cost me two places.” Palmer finished 13th, while Hulkenberg crossed the line in sixth.

5. Schumacher Jnr rolls back the years.

Mick Schumacher
Mick Schumacher, son of seven-time F1 world champion Michael Schumacher (Stephanie Lecocq, via AP)

Mick Schumacher, the 18-year-old son of seven-time world champion Michael, wowed the crowds with a demonstration of his father’s title-winning Benetton. Mick, who contests the European Formula Three series, completed one lap prior to Sunday’s race in the car which his father won his maiden championship in 1994.