Sports

Back row to third

Rosberg wins but Hamilton fights back

Nico Rosberg rekindled his world championship ambitions with victory in yesterday's chaotic crash-hit Belgian Grand Prix, as Lewis Hamilton staged an astonishing fightback to finish third.

Rosberg's delight was reduced by his Mercedes teammate Hamilton's damage-limiting and thrilling drive to finish behind Daniel Ricciardo, second in a Red Bull, after starting from the back row of the grid.

"I would definitely have taken that before the race," said Hamilton."I am so happy and proud of everyone.

"I was not expecting it and I had no idea what we were capable of, but I had a positive mental attitude today and it worked."

Rosberg, 31, who started from his third successive pole position, led from start to finish in a 44-lap race fractured by accidents and incidents to secure his first victory in Belgium and his sixth of the season.

Hamilton, who started 21st after being handed 60-grid position penalties for taking three new power-units through the weekend, remains ahead of Rosberg in the title race with 232 points to 223, a lead of nine.

"It's been great to get the win today, but Lewis starting at the back made it easier for me," said Rosberg.

"He'll be back at Monza, as usual, and it will be a great battle and another good weekend."

German Nico Hulkenberg finished fourth ahead of his Force India teammate Sergio Perez, as the Silverstone-based team overhauled rivals Williams in the constructors' championship.

Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari recovered from a first-corner collision with teammate Kimi Raikkonen to take sixth ahead of Fernando Alonso, who had started 22nd on the grid.

Hamilton's podium finish from 21st on the grid was a record for the circuit on a day of incidents.

The race was red-flagged after nine laps in the worst incident when Dane Kevin Magnussen crashed heavily but limped away from his wrecked Renault car with only a damaged ankle.

As the debris settled, the severity of the damage to the barriers required repair and the red flag came out to halt the racing with, remarkably, back-row starters Hamilton and Alonso - with a combined total of 120 grid-place penalties - in fifth and fourth respectively. - AFP.

RESULTS (top 5)

  • 1. Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) 1hr 44min 51.058sec, 2. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) 14.113sec behind, 3. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 27.634, 4. Nico Hulkenberg (Force India) 35.907, 5. Sergio Perez (Force India) 40.660.

STANDINGS

  • Drivers: 1. Hamilton 232pts, 2. Rosberg 223, 3. Riccardo 151, 4. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) 128, 5. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) 124. 
  • Constructors: 1. Mercedes 455 pts, 2. Red Bull 274, 3. Ferrari 252, 4. Force India 103, 5. Williams 101.
Formula 1