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Lewis gets a jump start in title race; WORLD OF SPORT ALL THE ACTION But Hamilton still blasts race stewards after safety car controversy in Belgium.

Byline: KYE NEWTON sport@dailyrecord.co.uk

LEWIS HAMILTON breathed a huge sigh of relief after claiming stewards nearly cost him victory in his 200th Grand Prix.

The Englishman held a two-second lead over title rival Sebastian Vettel in Belgium but was left fuming when the safety car was deployed late in the race after a crash between Force India duo Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon.

That brought the field back together with the raging Mercedes ace claiming it was only designed to make the race more exciting.

Over the team radio, Hamilton moaned: "There's no debris anywhere" before saying it was a "BS call from the stewards" to deploy the car which remained on track for three laps.

As all the drivers pitted, Ferrari put the fastest ultra-soft tyres on Vettel while Mercedes put Hamilton on softs.

From the restart, Hamilton appeared to be in trouble as Vettel lined up to pass the Mercedes. But Hamilton used all the power advantage of his car to fend him off then put in two stunning laps to pull 1.4 seconds clear and roar to a vital victory.

His triumph cut Vettel's lead in the championship to just seven points but Hamilton still wasn't happy.

He said: "It felt a bit like NASCAR where they keep pulling out the safety car for no reason.

"The wing was clear after we slowed down. They could have done a virtual safety car - but they wanted a race so they called out the safety car."

Vettel admitted that without the safety car it would have been "difficult to get in range".

He said: "I was fairly healthy - 15 laps to go, I would probably have finished like that. With the safety car I felt I had a chance - but it was not a good enough chance."

The victory was Hamilton's fifth success this year and 58th of his career.

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LEAP CHEER Hamilton celebrates huge win

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Aug 28, 2017
Words:323
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