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Hamilton branded an ‘idiot’ as Max Verstappen completes 62-year first with victory

Lewis Hamilton has been labelled an “idiot” by former teammate Fernando Alonso, while Max Verstappen tightened his grip on the drivers’ championship with victory in Belgium. 

Hamilton retired on the opening lap at the famous Spa-Francorchamps circuit after a collision with Alpine’s Alonso at turn five.

The pair had made a brilliant start with Alonso leading Hamilton into the chicane in a fight for second place. 

Hamilton, who was on a streak of five-consecutive podium finishes, took too much track when trying to overtake Alonso and made contact with the Spaniard as he turned in on him, sending the back half ot the Briton’s car into the air before a safe landing.

The force of the crash was enough to retire Hamilton and leave Alonso, the Briton’s first F1 teammate, fuming at his rival. 

“What an idiot. Closing the door from the outside,” Alonso said over his team radio.

“This guy only knows how to drive and start in first.”

Hamilton took responsibility for the crash, telling the media that he could not see Alonso.

“He was in my blind spot and I didn’t leave him enough space, so it was my fault today,” Hamilton said. 

Hamilton had to watch his fellow Mercedes teammate George Russell take fourth place.

Verstappen makes it look easy from 14th

While Hamilton had an afternoon to forget, Verstappen drove a perfect race to take his ninth victory of the season, extending his lead in the Drivers’ Championship.

Starting 14th after taking a grid penalty, the world champion seemingly cruised through the field on his way to the front, albeit after being aided by the safety car.

The Dutchman had climbed six places by the end of the first lap when the safety car was deployed due to the retirements of Hamilton and Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas, who was the victim of a separate crash with Nicholas Latifi, that forced him into the gravel.

Verstappen then continued his march to the front, taking the lead of the race on lap 12 of 44 when Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz pitted.

Six laps later, Verstappen took the lead of the race again when he passed Sainz on track and he never looked back.

It was consecutive race wins for Verstappen after starting 10th or lower on the grid, something which has not happened in F1 since 1960.

“It was quite a hectic first lap to try and stay out of trouble, but once we settled in after the safety car, the car was on rails,” Verstappen said.

 “This whole weekend has been incredible.”

Verstappen’s teammate Sergio Perez finished second on Sunday, moving ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in the standings.

Leclerc, who went into the Belgian Grand Prix with an 80-point deficit in the championship, had fifth place secured until his team made a fatal call to pit him with two laps remaining 

With fifth place a certainty, Ferrari called Leclerc into the pits for fresh tyres to try and secure the fastest lap and one extra championship point. 

The move backfired in spectacular fashion with Leclerc speeding in the pit lane and being given a five-second penalty.

This relegated him to sixth behind Alonso.

Ricciardo ends tough week 15th

His pain was matched by that of Daniel Ricciardo.

The Australian’s tough week ended outside of the points as he finished 15th in Belgium.

It was a tough day for both McLaren drivers, with Lando Norris coming home in 12th.

Ricciardo started the race in seventh after several drivers took grid penalties and was battling in the top 10 for most of the race.

However, McLaren prioritised Norris for the final pit stop leaving Ricciardo out on older tyres, a move that ultimately compromised his race.

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