Spa-Francorchamps: Lewis Hamilton overcame a late slip to win the Belgian Grand Prix and regain the overall lead of the Formula One championship on Sunday.
Hamilton ran wide with nine laps to race but recovered to keep the lead and edge second-place Mark Webber of Red Bull. Webber dropped to second in the standings after failing to defend his pole position out of the start.
Jenson Button`s title hopes took a hit after the defending F1 champion was knocked out of the race when Sebastian Vettel crashed into him during a failed overtaking maneuver.
Hamilton`s 14th career win gave the Briton 182 points — three more than Webber — as the top two opened up a gap over the other title favorites.
Vettel stayed third with 151 points, Button is fourth with 147 and Fernando Alonso of Ferrari abandoned the race after spinning out to remain fifth on 141. Six races remain with the Italian GP next on Sept. 12.
Robert Kubica of Renault was third in the race ahead of Felipe Massa of Ferrari, while Force India`s Adrian Sutil completed the top five.
Hamilton`s victory means nine of 13 races have been won by drivers not on the pole. Red Bull has taken the pole for 12 of the 13 races.
Hamilton jumped into the lead as Webber started slowly to sit fifth behind Kubica, Button, Vettel and Massa.
Button overtook Kubica to put McLaren in the driver`s seat, while Alonso dropped into 18th after surviving Rubens Barrichello`s crash into him on the second lap, with the safety car deployed and rain falling. Barrichello didn`t return to complete his record 300th GP.
Vettel pushed ahead of Kubica into third behind the McLarens and Webber got past Massa for fourth when the safety car came in and the sun came out.
But the circuit was still slick and Vettel skidded into the side of Button.
"It`s a massive blow, a massive blow," Button told the BBC. "It was looking really good. I don`t know what happened with Sebastian."
After knocking Button out of the race, Vettel`s drive-through penalty knocked him into 13th and a punctured tire eventually saw him drop out of the points to finish 15th.
Rain fell over the close of the race with Hamilton losing the line and going into the gravel at Rivage. But the 2008 champion, who picked up his first win here, avoided the wall and his 12-second lead allowed him to stay in front.