Sebastian Vettel eats into Lewis Hamilton’s championship lead with great win at Belgian Grand Prix

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Sebastian Vettel celebrates a dominant victory at Spa Francorchamps. (AFP)
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Updated 26 August 2018

Sebastian Vettel eats into Lewis Hamilton’s championship lead with great win at Belgian Grand Prix

  • German reduces Hamilton's lead in world title race to 17 points after brilliant win in Belgium.
  • Fernando Alonso involved in horror crash at start of famous race.

Sebastian Vettel made a crucial early overtaking move on Lewis Hamilton to win the crash-marred Belgian Grand Prix on Sunday and trim his rival’s overall lead.
Hamilton started from pole position for a record fifth time at Spa, and a record-extending 78th in Formula One, with Vettel second on the grid.
But Vettel has a knack for quick starts, and nudged his Ferrari past Hamilton’s Mercedes on the first lap with a smart move down the left.
“I had a great start. I knew my chance would come,” Vettel said. “Timing is crucial and I managed that perfectly I thought.”
It came moments after Fernando Alonso’s McLaren flew through the air and landed on top of Charles Leclerc’s Sauber. Leclerc, unharmed, was likely spared a head injury by the protective halo device surrounding the cockpit area of F1 cars.
Vettel finished about 12 seconds clear of Hamilton, with Red Bull driver Max Verstappen an impressive third after starting seventh.

Fernando Alonso was at the center of a horror crash at the start of the race. 

Vettel’s 52nd career win closes the gap to Hamilton to 17 points heading into next weekend’s Italian Grand Prix at Monza — Ferrari’s home.
Moments after his victory, Vettel removed his steering wheel and held it aloft, almost like a trophy, as he stood on his car to celebrate. Then he jumped into the arms of his mechanics and grabbed a Ferrari flag. With eight races remaining, it was a crucial win to halt Hamilton’s momentum.
It also moved Vettel one ahead of four-time F1 champion Alain Prost for third in all-time wins behind Hamilton (67) and Michael Schumacher (91).
“He drove past me like I wasn’t even there on the straight,” Hamilton said, expressing concern for Ferrari’s greater speed. “Congratulations to Seb.”
Hamilton’s teammate Valtteri Bottas, starting near the back after being penalized for too many engine changes, overtook Sergio Perez late on to place fourth.
Vettel’s Ferrari teammate, Kimi Raikkonen, and Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo both retired.
Hamilton initially held his lead, but Vettel overtook him sharply as they headed onto the Kemmel Straight. Vettel then held off Perez, who had jumped up from fourth to third by overtaking his Racing Point Force India team teammate Esteban Ocon.
The heavy crash at the start happened when Hulkenberg bumped into the back of Alonso, sending Alonso’s McLaren spinning and then flying up in the air.
It led to a safety car coming out on track.
Under safety car rules, drivers have to hold position and are not allowed to accelerate.
Starting from sixth place, Raikkonen lost his rear right tire after being clipped by Ricciardo — who retired later after running a lap down because of time he lost while his team repaired the damage on his car picked up during the chaotic start.
Vettel has been sloppy recently, crashing in the rain while leading the German GP and then losing position in qualifying for the Hungarian GP, once again in the rain.
This time the rain stayed away, and Vettel looked more composed.
When the race re-started, on lap four of 44, the German driver smartly blocked an overtaking attempt by Hamilton.
“I had a great re-start, I kept it clean,” Vettel said. “After that it was a very smooth race.”

It was a dominant performance from the German, who is now only 17 points behind Lewis Hamilton in the race to be world champion. 

Verstappen, meanwhile, displayed his usual slick overtaking by getting past Ocon and making light work of catching Perez to move into third — delighting the orange-clad Dutch fans congregated around the seven-kilometer Spa track nestled in the Ardennes forest.
Raikkonen was the previous Ferrari driver to win here, back in 2009, but his quest for a first F1 win since the season-opening Australian GP in 2013 ended with a mechanical failure on lap 9 — the third time the Finnish driver has failed to finish this season.
Up ahead, his teammate led Hamilton by 3.5 seconds at the halfway stage, when Hamilton pitted for new tires.
Vettel came in moments later and his stop was clean enough to see him regain the lead, but only a narrow 1.3 seconds ahead of Hamilton.
Ferrari’s greater speed on the straights helped him pad that advantage out within a few laps, and he coasted home.
Both drivers have five wins this season as they seek to win a fifth F1 title and move level with Argentine great Juan Manuel Fangio, and move within two of Schumacher’s all-time record.


Luis Suarez suspected of cheating on Italian exam

Updated 22 September 2020

Luis Suarez suspected of cheating on Italian exam

  • The Italian exam was a first step required in order to receive a passport ahead of a possible transfer to Juventus
  • Juventus coach Andrea Pirlo said a proposed deal for Suarez was unlikely to go ahead because of delays in the Uruguayan’s bid to get an Italian passport

ROME: Barcelona forward Luis Suarez is suspected of cheating to pass his Italian language test with the help of his teachers, the Perugia prosecutor’s department in charge of the investigation said on Tuesday.
The Italian exam was a first step required in order to receive a passport ahead of a possible transfer to Juventus.
“The investigation showed that the subjects discussed during the exam were agreed beforehand with the candidate and that the grade was awarded to him even before the test,” the prosecutor’s department said in a statement.
Local prosecutor Raffaele Cantone, a former head of Italy’s National Anti-Corruption Authority, had been carrying out an investigation since February into University for Foreigners officials over various irregularities. Suspicions over Suarez were aroused by an overheard conversation.
“But what do you think, that we’re going to fail him? Today I have the last lesson (with Suarez) and I have to prepare it because he barely speaks a word” of Italian, Stefania Spina, one of the people targeted by the investigation, is claimed to have said according to prosecution documents cited by Italian media.
Asked by a colleague what level Suarez “should pass” in Italian, Spina reportedly replied: “He should not, he must, he will pass, because with a salary of 10 million (euros) per season, you can’t make him fail” his exam, “even if he doesn’t know how to conjugate verbs and speak in the infinitive.”
Juventus coach Andrea Pirlo said last week a proposed deal for Suarez was unlikely to go ahead because of delays in the Uruguayan’s bid to get an Italian passport.
The Italian champions cannot recruit Suarez otherwise because they have already reached their quota for non-EU players.