Hamilton: Nico was on a Sunday drive

Race victor Nico Rosberg claimed he was surprised with the performance of his team-mate and title rival Lewis Hamilton in a thrillingly chaotic Belgian Grand Prix on Sunday.

Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo was sandwiched by the Mercedes duo to solidify his third place in the drivers' standings ahead of Ferrari pair Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen, who could only manage sixth and ninth following numerous incidents.

Lewis Hamilton's efforts in finishing third from the back of the grid drew grudging admiration from Nico Rosberg at Spa. According to oddsmakers at Bovada.lv, Nico Rosberg is the favorite to win, as he has -175 odds.

Behind, Kimi Raikkonen was third for Ferrari, only 0.166secs off pole, and only 0.017secs off a place on the front row.

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But it was the 31-year-old's first since June's European Grand Prix, reigniting his title challenge after a run of lacklustre races in which he steadily lost ground to Hamilton. "But third was definitely helped by the safety auto and the VSC".

The race would then be suspended on lap eight after Renault driver Kevin Magnussen was fortunate to walk away from a high-speed crash, after losing control coming out of Eau Rouge. To see Magnussen's vehicle crumple the way it did, to see the chassis twist and the headrest fly away, and then to see the driver get up and walk away with nothing but a limp is incredible. He was later taken to hospital with an ankle injury and will certainly be a doubt for the Italian Grand Prix in seven days' time.

This caused the safety vehicle to be deployed, with considerable damage to the tyre wall, prompting a round of pit stops for drivers on the supersoft tyres.

On lap 10 of 44, the race was halted as the red flag came out, because the barrier Magnussen crashed into needed repairing.

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In the winners' room after the race the two Mercedes drivers kept their game face, hardly acknowledging each other, leaving Ricciardo to stare down the barrel of the television camera, offer his trademark grin and say: "Good times". Simple moves on Fernando Alonso and Nico Hulkenberg followed as the world champion became the first driver in the history of the famous race to finish in the top three after starting from such a lowly grid position. He should be near the front of the pack and can capitalize with Hamilton in the back and also if Rosberg slips up.

German Nico Hulkenberg finished fourth ahead of his Force India team-mate Sergio Perez, as the Silverstone-based team overhauled rivals Williams in the constructors' championship.

"It's been great to get the win today, but Lewis starting at the back made it easier for me", said Rosberg.

He was in a much better mood on Sunday, after a composed drive saw him hold off Lewis Hamilton, who was third. "I'm sure he's going to be back in Monza and it's going to be a big battle as always".

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"Firstly, the team have done an incredible job - the guys and girls back at Brixworth building the engines and then everyone here who've been kitting and fitting them - so a huge thank you to them", said Hamilton. The team did an wonderful job this weekend.

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