August 25th, 2013 (F1Plus / Chris Cameron-Dow) - Lewis Hamilton's 2013 season is becoming a series of struggles to convert pole positions into victories. So far he's started from pole five times this year and only managed to win one race - in Hungary.
At Spa this afternoon, he made a good start from pole position, but just could not keep Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso behind as the race went on.
Hamilton was pleased with his own performance and said, "I got everything that I could out of the car today but we just weren't as quick as Sebastian and Fernando. I made a nice start and it felt like the exit out of turn one was good, too. But Seb just caught me on the run out of Eau Rouge and there wasn't really much I could do to defend.
"I moved once, like we are allowed to, but then I just had to watch him glide by. From that point, it was very difficult to hold on to him, and the same thing happened with Fernando, too, later in the race."
After appearing to be off the pace early in the weekend, third and fourth for Mercedes is a strong result, even if they would have preferred to come away from Spa with a victory.
Hamilton expressed his satisfaction: "We have done a good job this weekend but Spa and Monza are always unique tracks because of the low-drag requirements and I expect we will be more competitive in Singapore again.
"It's still a great team result to finish third with Nico right behind me in fourth, so we will take the positives from this afternoon into the next races."
Hamilton moved ahead of Kimi Raikkonen in the Drivers' Championship, but fell further behind championship leader Sebastian Vettel, who won the Belgian Grand Prix comfortably. Hamilton is now 58 points - more than two race victories - behind Vettel and 12 points behind second-placed Fernando Alonso.
In the Constructors' Championship, Mercedes have held on to second place, but are now 77 points behind leaders Red Bull. A few strong results could reduce that deficit significantly, but if Vettel carries on winning it will soon become very difficult for Mercedes to mount a serious challenge for either championship.
In recent days, senior Mercedes personnel have played down the chances of a Mercedes championship victory in 2013, perhaps due to the ominous form of Red Bull.