Nico Rosberg
Nico Rosberg celebrates his win atop of the podium at Spa-Francorchamps Charles Coates/Getty Images

Nico Rosberg triumphed at a hectic Belgian Grand Prix for the first time in his career on Sunday (28 August) to cut Lewis Hamilton's world championship lead to nine points.

In the first race following Formula One's summer break, the German, who was ahead by 43 earlier in the season before his Mercedes teammate came roaring back with six wins from seven, ignored the sheer carnage unfolding behind him and drove faultlessly from start to finish to claim his sixth victory of 2016.

Rosberg had finished as the runner-up at the famous Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in each of the previous two seasons but was simply not to be denied on this occasion.

However, his joy was tempered by Hamilton, starting in 21st after being handed a 55-place grid penalty for a series of engine changes, battling superbly from the back of the grid to eventually take third place behind the Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo.

Nico Hülkenberg tied his best ever finish in fourth, while fellow Force India driver Sergio Pérez was fifth and Sebastian Vettel sixth.

Fernando Alonso, who started behind Hamilton after being hit by his own 60-place penalty, also fought valiantly to take a share of the points in seventh. Valtteri Bottas, Kimi Räikkönen and Felipe Massa also finished inside the top 10.

"It's been a great weekend," Rosberg said after his podium celebration. "Thank you to my team and congrats to Lewis too for P3 from the back. It's been amazing to get the win on such a great, legendary track like Spa."

Kimi Raikkonen
Kimi Räikkönen clashed with Max Verstappen and suffered an early collision with Sebastian Vettel Charles Coates/Getty Images

The beginning of the race was certainly frenetic, with home favourite Max Verstappen, the youngest man ever to qualify for the front row of a grand prix, losing ground to both Räikkönen and Vettel from the start. In trying to win back his position, he forced the former to defend and that led to a collision between the two Ferraris at turn one that left Räikkönen needing to pit with a puncture and a fire on the floor of his SF16-H.

Carlos Sainz Jr suffered an early blow-out and saw his rear wing hanging in a vertical position. The virtual safety car system was deployed and the race was quickly red-flagged in order to clear debris and rebuild the tyre barrier after Kevin Magnussen had veered wide and suffered a heavy smash at the notorious Eau Rouge.

He was able to walk away from the wreckage and Renault's latest update confirmed that the Danish driver, fully conscious and responsive, had visited the medical centre for checks before being taken to a nearby hospital to undergo further examination and treatment to a "small cut" on his left ankle.

Marcus Ericsson retired after starting from the pit lane amid a problem with his cooling system and Jenson Button made an early exit after being hit from behind on turn six of the first lap by Pascal Wehrlein, who also bowed out.

Räikkönen was riled further by the cavalier Verstappen, who dropped from P2 down to a disappointing 11th, after the restart and then appeared to make contact with the Haas of Romain Grosjean. There was almost an incident on the exit to the pits when Alonso and Hülkenberg raced wheel-to-wheel.