Ricciardo wins, Hamilton retires as Mercedes rivals collide at Spa

2014 Belgian Grand Prix summary

Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, Spa-Francorchamps, 2014Daniel Ricciardo took his third win of the season at Spa after a dramatic Belgian Grand Prix which saw Lewis Hamilton retire after being struck by Nico Rosberg.

Rosberg recovered from a broken front wing to finish second and extend his championship lead to 29 points. Valtteri Bottas rounded out the podium in the Williams after a late scrap with Kimi Raikkonen.

There was drama before the race as when the formation lap began, Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari was still up on the jacks in fourth position. The team were able to get the car going before the entire field had passed, allowing Alonso to retake his fourth position, but with the Spaniard inevitably receiving a five second time penalty after the start.

At the start, Hamilton got the better start of the two championship rivals, cruising around Rosberg into the lead at La Source before Sebastian Vettel out-dragged the championship leader on the run to Eau Rouge. But when Vettel missed his braking into Les Combes attempting to take the lead from Hamilton, he ran through the escape road and allowed Rosberg back through into second.

Then came a moment that could possibly prove crucial in the battle of this year’s Drivers’ Title.

Rosberg immediately began to pressure Hamilton for the lead and tried a move around the outside of Les Combes on lap two, but as Hamilton moved across for the left-hander, Rosberg clipped his team mate’s left-rear tyre with his front wing, causing an immediate puncture to his rival and forcing Hamilton to cruise back almost five kilometres to the pits with a rapidly deflating tyre.

This left Rosberg in the lead, albeit with minor damage to his front wing, followed by Vettel and Alonso. Daniel Ricciardo passed Alonso for third on lap four, before passing his team mate for second when Vettel ran wide at Pouhon soon after. Valtteri Bottas passed Alonso for fourth in the DRS zone on lap eight.

On lap nine, Rosberg pitted from the lead, taking the opportunity to replace his broken front wing. As Rosberg rejoined behind Esteban Gutierrez’s Sauber, the Mercedes was struck by what appeared to be tyre debris which hooked around the car’s radio aerial and began flapping around right in front of Rosberg’s helmet.

Vettel pitted from the lead on lap 11, resuming behind Raikkonen’s Ferrari, before Bottas and Alonso pitted from the lead two laps later. After the first round of stops, Ricciardo had assumed the lead, followed by Raikkonen, Vettel, Bottas and Rosberg.

Rosberg attempted to pass Vettel into the Bus Stop on lap 16, but locked up and lost ground to the Red Bull. This allowed Bottas to slipstream the Mercedes out of La Source and cruise past Rosberg in the DRS zone.

With Rosberg complaining of a vibration and losing time to the Williams and Red Bull ahead, Mercedes opted to pit the championship leader on lap 20 for a new set of Medium tyres. At this stage, Hamilton was down in 17th. But while Hamilton questioned whether the team should think about saving his engine, his engineer Peter Bonnington informed him that he was the one of the quickest cars on track.

Clearly much happier with his new tyres, Rosberg immediately set about catching the leaders, passing Button and Alonso in quick succession Ricciardo pitted from the lead on lap 27, resuming just over a second ahead of Rosberg, with Bottas pitting one lap later.

With the front runners having pitted, Ricciardo was once again out front, around 3.5 seconds ahead of Rosberg with Raikkonen third. Vettel and Bottas were now scrapping for fourth behind, with the Williams driver pulling a beautiful move around the outside of the Red Bull at Les Combes to take the position.

As Hamilton struggled to make any serious progress, Rosberg pitted for a third time on lap 35 for a set of Soft tyres in a bid to try and challenge for the win at the end of the race. Rosberg was immediately passed by Bottas in the DRS zone, but was able to re-pass the Williams into Blanchimont and set about trying to catch Ricciardo out front.

With almost no chance of scoring points, Hamilton was called in to retire with just over five laps remaining. Meanwhile, his rival was now eating into Ricciardo’s lead by seconds a lap, but with the gap standing at 11 seconds with four laps to go, it looked increasingly likely that Ricciardo’s third win of the season would be secure.

Behind the leading duo, there was an almighty scrap over fifth between Kevin Magnussen, Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button. Despite the pressure from three world champions, Magnussen was able to aggressively fend off first Alonso, then Button before Sebastian Vettel was ultimately able to slide past.

On the final lap, Alonso struck the back of Vettel’s Red Bull at the apex of La Source, damaging his front wing and forcing him to cruise around to the chequered flag in eighth.

But out front, Ricciardo duly held on to take his second consecutive win and third victory of the season. Rosberg crossed the line in second with Valtteri Bottas holding on to third for Williams.

Kimi Raikkonen recorded his best finish of the season with fourth, ahead of the battling pack of Vettel, Magnussen, Button and Alonso. Sergio Perez scored two points for Force India in ninth, while Daniil Kvyat rounded out the top ten for Toro Rosso.

Unfortunately, Andre Lotterer’s debut Grand Prix for Caterham ended almost as soon as it began after being forced to retire on the first lap with an engine problem.

2014 Belgian Grand Prix

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187 comments on Ricciardo wins, Hamilton retires as Mercedes rivals collide at Spa

  1. Toto blaming Nico aswell

  2. Neil (@neilosjames) said on 24th August 2014, 14:49

    Rosberg/Hamilton aside… if you’d told Vettel this time last year that he’d be called the “rear gunner” in 2014, I bet he’d have laughed in your face.

  3. Slava (@slava) said on 24th August 2014, 14:50

    Pretty good race. I still think that we shouldn’t put a blame solely on Rosberg simple because there more Hamilton fans. Booing in this case is totally unacceptable.
    Rosberg made the move to avoid contact (he turn left to correct his race line), but Ham closed the door too much. Racing incident. So I am sure this is to blame on Mercedes management.

  4. tmax (@tmax) said on 24th August 2014, 14:51

    That was way unfair on Nico by the crowd. The boos were totally undeserved. It was just a racing incident . It could have gone either way. It could have been that Nico had a puncture and Lewis went on fine. It is a disgrace by the fans. What a cheap set of fans. Last year they were booing for Vettel this year for Rosberg. The fans are spoiling the image of Spa.

    • dno101 said on 24th August 2014, 14:57

      Spoiling the image of spa? Its a race venue, not a dinner party. It isn’t polite to boo, granted. But the drivers are already muted in their responses why should the fans be too? You expect the paying fans not to express themselves? Perhaps you should tell the fans at Monza your suggestion

      • tmax (@tmax) said on 24th August 2014, 15:10

        Spa is my fav track. This was a great race. I am not going to debate anything here. The Spa fans had been disappointing for last couple of years. Everybody knows it is a straight forward racing incident but look at Lewis fans. The funny thing is Lewis’s fans are just like him. Master Whiners !!!!!

        • RBAlonso (@rbalonso) said on 24th August 2014, 17:10

          Booing in F1 is only right in severe circumstances. Alain Prost being booed in Brazil, Vettel being booed at Malaysia are to me understandable. However booing for racing incidents or premeditated booing of one driver is not in line with the values of the sport. We should respect these men for risking everything for our entertainment.

          One thing I would say about the Spa crowd is that it will be full of one-off fans who understand Spa is the best venue on the calendar. Today, I imagine a lot of these fans were British and once one person started it was continued by the rest. I, personally, will never boo a driver unless he is robbing the fans of sporting fairness, see Austria 2002, not over contact between the race leaders.

    • Gideon Hadi (@) said on 24th August 2014, 14:58

      Yeah, I went to give it 10/10, but looking at fans boos i gave 9/10

    • Roberto (@roberto) said on 24th August 2014, 15:57

      While not spoiling the image of spa it surely casts a lot of fans as hypocrites and sore losers. TBH it’s something I would expect from NASCAR fans, not F1 fans.

      • dno101 said on 24th August 2014, 17:31

        We’ll agree to disagree I’ll take the roaring passionate tifosi over quiet clapping any day. I want to see gladiators and chariots. Not drivers thanking their petrol sponsors on the podium

  5. lawrence said on 24th August 2014, 14:51

    50% Rosberg misjudgement
    50% Hamilton trying to bully Rosberg out of the move by using his rear tire

    Result = Disappointment for Lewis and a bit less for Nico.

  6. Nico looking hungrier. Lewis better take focus off his earrings and tattoos if he wants this one.

  7. 72defender (@72defender) said on 24th August 2014, 14:53

    Mercedes AMG F1 2014 reminds me of McLaren 2007. The drivers are going to clash to their own detriment and let a dark horse sneak up and snatch the title.

  8. Kimi’s first time ahead of Alonso this year. He had amazing pace on the softs. Sadly not enough for podium.

    Whatever happened to Massa? Did he have issues with the car? Him finishing P13 whilst his teammate is on the podium is quite ugly and not great at all for Williams’ championship points.

  9. Ron (@rcorporon) said on 24th August 2014, 15:04

    Great result from where I’m sitting!

    Ric wins!
    Vet does well!
    Kimi does great!
    Ham whines like a baby and destroys his car in a fit of rage!
    Bottas gets podium again!

    I really couldn’t ask for more. Loved hearing Ham whining and asking to be retired. I could listen to that all race.

  10. StefMeister (@stefmeister) said on 24th August 2014, 15:07

    To be honest I don’t really think either driver deserves to be slammed, booed or anything.

    It was a pure racing incident, Nico saw an opportunity to pass Lewis & he went for it & it didn’t pay off.
    Its called racing & sometimes in racing stuff like that will happen.

    Its also not as if Lewis hasn’t made similar misjudgements in the past.

    • Roberto (@roberto) said on 24th August 2014, 15:15

      Yes I agree and we’ve also seen many such accidents in the past where the person losing the wing ended up worse off. Nico made a mistake, yes, but he didn’t do it on purpose to take Hamilton out. Booing him for it is incredibly unfair.

      Hamilton was also extremely unlucky to get a puncture out of that contact. Alonso hit Vettel a lot worse in the last lap and Vettels tires survived.

  11. Nick (@npf1) said on 24th August 2014, 15:09

    Back when Schumacher retired in 2006, my interest in F1 took a major nosedive because there were no other drivers I felt really good towards. I rated Alonso and Raikkonen highly, but wouldn’t call myself a fan back then. As I slumped from 2006 to 2009, I came back to F1 full time when Schumacher returned. Kimi and Alonso did become my favorite drivers, but when Schumacher retired again, I thought I’d have a hard time like 2006-2009, but races like today are really reeling me towards some of the younger drivers.

    Hulkenberg has won me over many times over the years, but this year has really opened my eyes to Ricciardo and Bottas. With drivers like them, I’m sure I’ll be able to enjoy F1 for many years.

    If only we keep on having more races like this one!

    • I’m the same, really, after Schumacher left I wasn’t enjoying 2013 that much. But now we have Hülkenberg, Bottas, and Ricciardo! A new chapter is beginning.

    • kpcart said on 24th August 2014, 15:22

      I really enjoyed Kubica. I still enjoy Alonsos driving talent, and loved Vettel in past 3 seasons, he was pure speed and talent. I also always enjoyed Webber, and now im a big fan of Ricciardo – 3 wins in 6 races for him.

  12. kpcart said on 24th August 2014, 15:20

    will Mercedes get a penalty for pitting Hamilton to retire? it is obvious they did it to preserve an engine, but are they allowed to do this if the car is still safely driving with no mechanical fault? they put on a dodgy message to Hamilton to pit because they were worried about the floor damage, but if they were worried about the floor damage, they would have pulled him in on lap 3.

  13. ResultantAsteroid said on 24th August 2014, 15:22

    +1
    :-S

  14. As for Magnussen pushing Alonso and Button off, I don’t think he’ll get a penalty for that. As much as I dislike it, when you’re ahead of another driver in a corner, you’re allowed to squeeze them off simply because you have the racing line.

  15. matt90 (@matt90) said on 24th August 2014, 15:33

    On an entirely different note, I thought Vettel’s swerve towards Magnussen on the start straight on the final lap was very silly.

    • kpcart said on 24th August 2014, 15:41

      he was doing one of two things, 1- letting Magnussen know he wasnt happy with his driving, or 2 (more likely) trying to force Magnussen to the wall so he would be left with less angle to turn in to next turn. it wasnt dangerous.

      • matt90 (@matt90) said on 24th August 2014, 16:21

        I’m of the opinion that lunging towards another driver strongly enough that the other has to react is indeed dangerous and quite foolish. I don’t believe that trying to make another driver move while on a straight should be a legitimate tactic.

    • Roberto (@roberto) said on 24th August 2014, 15:54

      That was extremely smart driving from Vettel. There was heaps of space on the right for Magnussen, so it wasn’t like what Shumi did to Barichello in Hungary 2010. It was purely to psych Magnussen and it worked. Great driving and I wan’t to see more of it.

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