Lewis Hamilton fought his way back from the back row of the grid to finish third in a frenetic Belgian Grand Prix won by Nico Rosberg.
While pole-sitter Rosberg enjoyed the easiest of victories to move to within nine points of Hamilton in the title battle, Formula One’s return to action following its traditional mid-season break will live long in the memory following a frenetic race which saw Kevin Magnussen taken to hospital following a jaw-dropping 180mph crash.
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo finished second while his team-mate Max Verstappen, roared on by an army of Dutch fans, could manage only 11th following a first-corner collision involving the Ferrari duo of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel.
“It has been a great weekend and I am very happy with that result of course”, said Rosberg who was subjected to a number of boos on the podium. “Congrats to Lewis. From last place to third must have been pretty impressive.
“Of course, Lewis starting from the back made it a lot easier this weekend and I am sure he is going to be back in Monza and it is going to be a big battle as always.”
Hamilton, who in contrast to his rival was given a warm welcome by the huge crowed here, added: “I just want to say a big thank you to everyone who supported me today. The team did an amazing job this weekend. It was just a remarkable day. Beautiful weather, great crowd and a great race.”
Hamilton was thrown to the back of the grid after serving an engine penalty, but by the end of lap eight he had incredibly navigated his way up to fifth following a dramatic opening to the Spa-Francorchamps race.
Rosberg retained the lead on the short run down to La Source, but it was utter chaos behind the German.