Record-equalling Lewis Hamilton hails "special day" after Belgium pole position

"I have always admired him and I still do today". I want to achieve a lot with Ferrari and think it's the same on the other side.

Hamilton said after the race that he relished the battle with a strong Vettel and Ferrari, and even thought he may get passed at the restart such was the German's pace.

Hamilton is contracted to Mercedes until the end of 2018.

Each has won four races and their rivalry has been characterised by mutual respect with a "road rage" flare up in Azerbaijan where Vettel banged wheels with Hamilton after hitting the back of his auto while the safety vehicle was deployed, although Vettel subsequently apologised.

Ferrari clinched its last drivers' title in 2007 - when Raikkonen won in his first stint there - and its last constructors' title the year after.

Max Verstappen, cheered on by a large army of Dutch fans who have made the journey across the border to Belgium, and his Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo finished fourth and fifth respectively, with Valtteri Bottas sixth. "The team is in a very, very good union".

Vettel will continue his partnership with Kimi Raikkonen after it was revealed earlier this week that the Finn will be retained by Ferrari for at least one more season. The restart is maybe why I am not entirely happy. "It is a good way of working but obviously I am not the one who decides".

Speaking about his new record, Hamilton said, "It's a special day". He would not be in the position he is now in terms of how this team operate if he was here.

The Briton trails Sebastian Vettel by 14 points ahead of the Belgian GP but Spa represents an opportunity to close the gap with the circuit appearing to play to Mercedes' strengths. I'm here to stay.

Immediately after the race he suggested the safety auto deployment had been a bit "like NASCAR where they keep pulling out the safety cars for no reason".

"Sebastian put a great fight on, but I did what I came here to do", Hamilton told Mark Webber after stepping off the top step of podium.

"I know he doesn't want to be my team mate", Hamilton added with a smile.

"If I'm really honest, knowing that nothing will probably happen anyway until 2019, it feels too far away to start thinking".