Reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton produced a masterclass display at Spa-Francorchamps to record victory number 39 and thereby extending his lead in the championship from Nico Rosberg to 28 points.
The Mercedes driver made a good start from the grid and held off the challenge from Sergio Perez in the Force India at Les Combes to lead.
Rosberg was slow off the grid, dropping down to fifth, and though he recovered to second and started closing the gap to Hamilton, he was unable to get close enough to challenge.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel was on course to complete the podium, after attempting a one-stop strategy that required a 29-lap stint on the mediums, but a right-rear tyre failure with a few laps to go ended his race.
That allowed Romain Grosjean, who had been chasing Vettel, to give Lotus its first podium of the season – a big boost considering uncertain future and legal battles inside the team.
The start was initially aborted when Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg suffered mechanical issues on the grid, waving his hands to signal he would be unable to get away.
The field went round for a second formation lap while Hulkenberg was pushed into the pits where he retired the car.
At the second start, the field got away with Perez battling Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo into La Source and coming out on top to take second.
Red Bull ran its low downforce setting at Spa, which allowed Daniil Kvyat and Ricciardo to attack on the straights.
Kvyat charged to fourth after going out of sequence on tyre strategy, but last year’s winner Ricciardo was in contention for a podium, running third early on, before slowing and retiring on the exit of the Bus Stop. A brief virtual safety car was required while the Red Bull was taken away.
Perez secured his best result of the season with fifth in the Force India ahead of Williams’s Felipe Massa and Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen, who rescued some points after starting P16.
Max Verstappen tried a move on Raikkonen at Les Combes on the last lap but ran out of space and had to settle for eighth, ahead of Valtteri Bottas, whose race unravelled when Williams mistakenly fitted his car with three soft tyres and a medium, which earned him a drive-through penalty.
Sauber fitted the 2015-spec Ferrari engine to its cars for the first time this season with Marcus Ericsson benefiting from Vettel’s late tyre failure to snatch the final point with tenth, one position ahead of team-mate Felipe Nasr.
Vettel was classified P12 for his first non-scoring finish of the season.
McLaren’s Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso made brilliant getaways, on a weekend when drivers had to find their own clutch bite point under new rules.
Alonso climbed from last to P12 while Button rose from P19 to P14, but duo struggled on the high-speed Spa circuit and finished P13 and P14 respectively.
Carlos Sainz Jr pulled into the pits after the formation lap, citing a loss of power, and though Toro Rosso managed to get him going, he retired with 11 laps to go.
Lotus’s Pastor Maldonado was unable to take advantage of his top ten start as he parked the car early in the race with a mechanical problem.
So another Mercedes one-two with the championship leader winning at Spa-Francorchamps for the first time.
Congratulations to Lotus in scoring a podium finish with Romain Grosjean. Finally a positive result considering the future of the Enstone-based team.
Belgian Grand Prix, race results after 43 laps:
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1h23m40.387s
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 2.058s
3 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Mercedes 37.988s
4 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull-Renault 45.692s
5 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 53.997s
6 Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 55.283s
7 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 55.703s
8 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso-Renault 56.076s
9 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1m01.040s
10 Marcus Ericsson Sauber-Ferrari 1m31.234s
11 Felipe Nasr Sauber-Ferrari 1m42.311s
12 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari Tyre
13 Fernando Alonso McLaren-Honda 1 Lap
14 Jenson Button McLaren-Honda 1 Lap
15 Roberto Merhi Marussia-Ferrari 1 Lap
16 Will Stevens Marussia-Ferrari 1 Lap
– Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso-Renault Retirement
– Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault Retirement
– Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Mercedes Retirement
– Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes Not started
1 Lewis Hamilton 227
2 Nico Rosberg 199
3 Sebastian Vettel 160
4 Kimi Raikkonen 82
5 Felipe Massa 82
6 Valtteri Bottas 79
7 Daniil Kvyat 57
8 Daniel Ricciardo 51
9 Romain Grosjean 38
10 Max Verstappen 26
11 Sergio Perez 25
12 Nico Hulkenberg 24
13 Felipe Nasr 16
14 Pastor Maldonado 12
15 Fernando Alonso 11
16 Carlos Sainz 9
17 Marcus Ericsson 7
18 Jenson Button 6
19 Roberto Merhi 0
20 Will Stevens 0
1 Mercedes 426
2 Ferrari 242
3 Williams-Mercedes 161
4 Red Bull-Renault 108
5 Lotus-Mercedes 50
6 Force India-Mercedes 49
7 Toro Rosso-Renault 35
8 Sauber-Ferrari 23
9 McLaren-Honda 17
10 Marussia-Ferrari 0
Next race: Italian Grand Prix, Monza. September 4-6.