Both drivers responded to it in strikingly different ways. Nico Rosberg seemed more concerned with ensuring he made it to the end of the race and banked the maximum available points than risking everything in the pursuit of victory.
His decision to accept the time loss involved in changing his front wing reflects this – he was evidently concerned about the extent of the damage following the contact. The radio revealed other examples of Rosberg’s conservative mindset at work: he on was quick to report a suspicious tyre vibration and anxious to make sure his passing moves did not incur the wrath of race director Charlie Whiting.
But he also had positions to make up as well, and made sure race control were aware when he thought Sebastian Vettel was using too much of the run-off at Curve Paul Frere. Shortly afterwards Vettel was warned about track limits, and Rosberg duly took advantage of that to attack the Red Bull driver for position, albeit unsuccessfully.
Hamilton, meanwhile, was quick to decide there was nothing to be salvaged from the day after limping back to the pits with a puncture. He had some justification, as he later explained, being concerned about wasting engine mileage as he is already compromised in that respect relative to Rosberg following his failure in Hungary. The radio messages indicate he repeatedly made the case to park the car to spare his power unit – on laps 20, 27 and 37 – and finally retired shortly after that last message.
But perhaps the most interesting aspect of this is how the radio messages hint that Hamilton’s negative mindset may even have affected the quality of his judgement about the state of his car. Following his enforced early pit stop he was quick to tell the team his tyres wouldn’t reach their target lap. He duly came in one lap before he needed to, only for the team to later advise him afterwards that his tyres had actually been in reasonable condition.
It’s not as if this cost Hamilton a chance to score points, but as with many of these team radio messages it gives a glimpse into the how a driver’s mind works which we otherwise wouldn’t see.
The race highlights video produced by FOM included a few more pieces of radio communication which were not heard during the broadcast. They included Hamilton being told his track position was “safe” at the beginning of lap two, before the contact with Rosberg. After the pair collided, Hamilton said “that’s unbelievable, guys, I can’t believe he hit me”, then asked “was it a racing incident?” and was told it was.
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2014 Belgian Grand Prix team radio transcript
|PR||Brad Joyce||Nico Hulkenberg||So just run through your grid procedure. Got a dummy grid start here into the pit limiter. Make sure you’ve got your start mode on. The two bite-point finds are on the grid. So two bite-point finds as your sat here on the grid.|
|PR||Brad Joyce||Nico Hulkenberg||Only one driver did not start on the soft tyres.
OK Nico, Sutil is on the mediums.
|FL||Peter Bonnington||Lewis Hamilton||So keeping the revs up, keeping the revs up once you come to the corners and working the tyres down this straight. And we’re going to do two burnouts out of turn seven. I’ll remind you when we get there.|
|FL||Unknown||Nico Rosberg||And brakes are looking good, so you can cancel the brake warming. Just do your normal braking around the rest of the lap.|
|FL||Peter Bonnington||Lewis Hamilton||Everything looking good still. Brakes are good. Balance front and rear. Tyres are coming up nicely.|
|FL||Kevin Magnussen||Mark Temple||There are spots of rain, very very light rain.|
|FL||Tony Ross||Nico Rosberg||And your yellow line will be on the right hand side, Nico. Just think about your positioning into your grid slot.|
|2||Tony Ross||Nico Rosberg||Rosberg is behind Hamilton after losing positions at the start
And remember, you won’t get DRS until the next lap. If you’re feeling comfortable, you can go to strat-3
|2||Lewis Hamilton||Peter Bonnington||Rosberg has struck Hamilton, puncturing his left-rear tyre
Nico hit me! Nico’s hit me!
|2||Peter Bonnington||Lewis Hamilton||Diff mid-12. Diff mid-12. Copy that, Lewis. So diff mid-12. Diff mid-12.|
|2||Nico Rosberg||Tony Ross||Rosberg has front wing damage.
I might need to box.
|2||Tony Ross||Nico Rosberg||OK. It looks fine on the TV, Nico. Looks fine on the TV.|
|3||Guillaume Rocquelin||Sebastian Vettel||There’s a yellow in Eau Rouge. We have not seen the incident.|
|3||Nico Rosberg||Tony Ross||Rosberg is still leading but with front wing endplate damage
Have you had a good look at my front wing?
|3||Tony Ross||Nico Rosberg||Affirm. Affirm. We’ll keep you advised on it.|
|3||Nico Rosberg||Tony Ross||I’ve lost a lot of front end.|
|3||Tony Ross||Nico Rosberg||We advise you hang it out Nico, we advise you hang it out.|
|3||Peter Bonnington||Lewis Hamilton||Floor’s damaged, right?|
|3||Lewis Hamilton||Peter Bonnington||I need to have a look at some photos, Lewis but thanks for the feedback, I’ll let you know.|
|4||Peter Bonnington||Lewis Hamilton||Having pitted, Hamilton is 19th, a full minute behind
OK Lewis, so no management required. We’re just going to have to push to catch the field.
|4||Lewis Hamilton||Peter Bonnington||Rear is weird. I don’t know if it’s the diff or the floor, but the car’s all over the place.|
|4||Peter Bonnington||Lewis Hamilton||OK Lewis, yeah we can see that on the balance channel. Diff looks to be OK. We’ll get some feedback to you.|
|5||Lewis Hamilton||Peter Bonnington||Left-rear tyre’s not going to last – I’m sliding so much.|
|5||Peter Bonnington||Lewis Hamilton||OK Lewis, thinking about a recovery strategy. We need to try and achieve 15 laps on this tyre, so do whatever you can to manage that rear-left. Fifteen laps. A target laptime will be a 55:7.|
|5||Lewis Hamilton||Peter Bonnington||This left-rear tyre’s not going to go to lap 15, I’m telling you. The rear’s all over the place.|
|5||Peter Bonnington||Lewis Hamilton||OK Lewis we’ll manage it as best we can.|
|7||Nico Hulkenberg||Brad Joyce||I’m losing too much here.|
|8||Tony Ross||Nico Rosberg||So push hard now, Nico, push hard, we’re going to change the front wing.|
|8||Jenson Button||Dave Robson||I gave you feedback on the tyres on the ‘R’-switch.|
|8||Dave Robson||Jenson Button||Understood.|
|8||Tony Ross||Nico Rosberg||Rosberg pits from the lead for a new front wing
Nico let us know. We’re going to change the front wing, so we’re going to use the same flap setting as the last set, OK?
|9||Tony Ross||Nico Rosberg||Rosberg resumes behind Raikkonen’s Ferrari
You’re racing Kimi who’s also stopped, you need to get past him straight away.
|9||Gianpiero Lambiase||Sergio Perez||Box. Pit confirm, Checo. Box and pit confirm.|
|10||Kevin Magnussen||Mark Temple||Rears are starting to struggle more now.|
|10||Mark Temple||Kevin Magnussen||OK, understood. Use the diff to protect it if you can.|
|12||Gianpiero Lambiase||Sergio Perez||Perez pits
OK, you will be racing Jenson. You will be racing Jenson, Checo.
|12||Lewis Hamilton||Peter Bonnington||Hamilton is still in 19th, 54 seconds behind leader Bottas
Is my pace really far off? Please update me.
|12||Peter Bonnington||Lewis Hamilton||OK Lewis, so you’re still catching Grosjean at over a second a lap. The only car faster than you at the moment is Bottas, P2.|
|15||Tony Ross||Nico Rosberg||So Nico, you’re on the opposite car… tyre to the cars in front of you. Push hard now, try and overtake them.|
|16||Tony Ross||Nico Rosberg||So Nico, we will need to pass Vettel to win, we believe.|
|16||Nico Rosberg||Tony Ross||He’s cheating at turn 15! He’s cheating!|
|16||Tony Ross||Nico Rosberg||Copy that, Nico. Copy that.|
|16||Lewis Hamilton||Peter Bonnington||I’ve got nothing guys. The rear end is so bad, I can barely… I have to lift in Eau Rouge.|
|16||Peter Bonnington||Lewis Hamilton||OK, copy that, Lewis. So let’s just see what we can do. We need to stretch these tyres as far as we can. We have to get to the end of the race with minimum stops. Your pace isn’t bad. It’s still there to fight for.|
|17||Guillaume Rocquelin||Sebastian Vettel||Sebastian, respect the track limit at Turn 15. Track limits, Turn 15, please.|
|17||Francesco Nenci||Jules Bianchi||Ericsson is a tiny bit quicker than us, but he’s obviously on new tyres.|
|18||Sebastian Vettel||Guillaume Rocquelin||Think about defence mode, defence mode.|
|18||Guillaume Rocquelin||Sebastian Vettel||Copy. Sebastian respect the track limit in turn 15. Track limits, turn 15, please.|
|18||Guillaume Rocquelin||Sebastian Vettel||OK Sebastian, be careful around [turn] 15. Be careful around [turn] 15. I’m just passing on messages.|
|18||Peter Bonnington||Lewis Hamilton||So once you have a feel for car balance, think about resetting your brake balance. Think about where that needs to be.|
|19||Nico Rosberg||Tony Ross||Check the vibration on the front tyre.|
|19||Tony Ross||Nico Rosberg||Vibration is on the limit, OK.|
|19||Nico Rosberg||Tony Ross||Rosberg pits for new Mediums following this message
Vibration is getting a little bit worse. Keep a close eye. Look at it whilst I’m driving past. Feels just about OK still, but don’t take risks.
|19||Tony Ross||Nico Rosberg||OK, copy.|
|20||Lewis Hamilton||Peter Bonnington||Hamilton is questioning whether he should retire to conserve his engine.
Should save this engine guys.
|20||Peter Bonnington||Lewis Hamilton||So Lewis don’t worry it is being discussed but your pace is good, we never know what’s going to happen with Safety Cars or anything later. So let’s just keep plugging away and we will keep discussing it here.|
|20||Peter Bonnington||Lewis Hamilton||Lewis, you may not feel it, but your pace is good. You’re only a tenth off being purple in the middle sector. So anything could happen. We’d be kicking ourselves.|
|21||Peter Bonnington||Lewis Hamilton||Having inspected Hamilton’s tyres from his first proper stint, Mercedes advise him they are in better condition than they thought.
OK Lewis, so tyre wear from that first stint is still good – 65 front, 60 rear. So we’re not suffering from tyre wear, probably just a bit of surface overheating due to the lack of aero. But your pace is good.
|22||Antonio Spagnolo||Kimi Raikkonen||Box at the end of this lap. Box at the end of this lap for the medium.|
|23||Guillaume Rocquelin||Sebastian Vettel||Box, box, box. Torque map one and box.|
|23||Peter Bonnington||Lewis Hamilton||Hamilton has caught Grosjean in 14th
OK Lewis, just remember you have ‘overtake’ available.
|24||Simon Rennie||Daniel Ricciardo||How’s the balance, Daniel? How’s the balance? Cars behind you are starting to stop. We’re just watching the gaps. You’re doing a good job.|
|25||Sebastian Vettel||Guillaume Rocquelin||Vettel questions the team’s decision to pit him to cover Bottas
I was pulling away from Bottas, so if that’s the only car we’re racing, I don’t really get it.
|25||Guillaume Rocquelin||Sebastian Vettel||He could’ve undercut you. He could’ve undercut you easily.|
|25||Nico Rosberg||Tony Ross||Rosberg had just put a straightforward pass on Alonso for third place on the Kemmel straight, but this could have been in reference to another, unseen move.
Just ask Charlie if that pass was OK.
|25||Tony Ross||Nico Rosberg||Yep will do, will do.|
|26||Tony Ross||Nico Rosberg||So situation is, you’re P3 on track at the moment. Bottas and Ricciardo have not stopped yet. Bottas will come out behind you, but we want to do something different to them, so we want you to push as hard as you can to force Ricciardo to box.|
|26||Jenson Button||Tom Stallard||I think we need to see what happens when these guys pull away.|
|26||Tom Stallard||Jenson Button||OK, understood. Feedback when you can.|
|27||Nico Rosberg||Tony Ross||I have a lot of oversteer.|
|27||Tony Ross||Nico Rosberg||Copy.|
|27||Lewis Hamilton||Peter Bonnington||Guys even if I catch the guys in front I have no downforce.|
|27||Peter Bonnington||Lewis Hamilton||OK Lewis message is understoor but you do have good pace and if we had a Safety Car then there is all to fight for. We are not concerned about the engine, just keep your head down and let’s keep plugging away.|
|28||Jonathan Eddollls||Valtteri Bottas||Box this lap, Valtteri, box.|
|28||Marco Matassa||Daniil Kvyat||OK Daniil, no more water button. No more water button. We need to build a bit. We are catching on Perez, so we can attack in a few laps. Keep going like that, very good job mate.|
|28||Tony Ross||Nico Rosberg||So situation, Ricciardo in front is P1, he’s running to the end. Bottas in front of him has not stopped.|
|29||Daniel Ricciardo||Simon Rennie||What tyres does Rosberg have? And how old?|
|29||Simon Rennie||Daniel Ricciardo||Rosberg is on ten lap [mediums]. Ten lap [mediums]. Rosberg may stop again.|
|29||Tony Ross||Nico Rosberg||Gap to Ricciardo 3.5 seconds. So you’re safe P2 now Nico.|
|30||Tony Ross||Nico Rosberg||So we’re still able to win this race. You just need to close the gap to Ricciardo.|
|31||Lewis Hamilton||Peter Bonnington||Guys, what’s going on?|
|31||Peter Bonnington||Lewis Hamilton||We’re just talking through the options now, Lewis, but it won’t be long.|
|31||Brad Joyce||Nico Hulkenberg||You will be racing Gutierrez on exit.|
|32||Peter Bonnington||Lewis Hamilton||OK Lewis, so give us a balance check. We’re going to go back to the medium tyre. Let us know if there’s anything we need to do, I know it’s a real handful.|
|32||Peter Bonnington||Lewis Hamilton||Copy Lewis. Box box, box box, pit confirm, we’re going to the [medium] tyre.|
|32||Marco Matassa||Daniil Kvyat||Very good throttle application. Very good throttle application. Focus on that. You’re doing a very good job. It’s super-important, tyre management. Perez in front Is fighting with Button.|
|33||Guillaume Rocquelin||Sebastian Vettel||Sebastian do you think your tyres will last until the end? Do you think the tyres will last.|
|33||Sebastian Vettel||Guillaume Rocquelin||Well it’s difficult to say. They don’t feel very good now.|
|34||Ayao Komatsu||Romain Grosjean||OK Romain we will retire so box, Romain, box.|
|34||Andrew Murdoch||Felipe Massa||Felipe, you think it’s possible to make it to the end on this last set? Do you think it’s possible to make it to the end?|
|34||Felipe Massa||Andrew Murdoch||Nope. We can’t do it.|
|37||Lewis Hamilton||Peter Bonnington||Guys, you need to stop me and save my engine. I don’t even have a car to get past people if there is a Safety Car.|
|37||Peter Bonnington||Lewis Hamilton||Message understood Lewis. We’ve currently got eight laps to go. Engine isn’t a concern, but don’t worry, we are talking about it.|
|38||Simon Rennie||Daniel Ricciardo||Need to be as fast as possible until the end of the race, now.|
|38||Tony Ross||Nico Rosberg||Rosberg is chasing down Ricciardo for the win with fresh Soft tyres
So you’re due to catch Ricciardo right at the end.
|38||Craig Gardiner||Esteban Gutierrez||Esteban Adrian is on [softs[, a different strategy, need to not hold him up.|
|39||Peter Bonnington||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes finally retire Hamilton’s car.
OK Lewis we are seeing degradation in the aero data here. Looks like we may have something coming adrift on the car. We need to box at the end of this lap. Got Ricciardo race leader 16 seconds behind. Cool the car, cool the car.
|39||Gary Gannon||Max Chilton||[Unclear] is still over a lap away so use the ERS close the gap.|
|41||Tony Ross||Nico Rosberg||To catch Ricciardo at the end of the race you need to keep pushing hard. So you’re only just going to catch him Nico, so just any tenth will make a difference.|
|VL||Christian Horner||Daniel Ricciardo||Attaboy! Fantastic! Unbelievable drive, unbelievable!|
|VL||Simon Rennie||Daniel Ricciardo||Straight in the pit lane, mate, straight in the pit lane. Fail five fail, fail five fail, straight in the pit lane. Absolutely awesome drive, how did you do that? Absolutely amazing. See you in a second.|
|VL||Daniel Ricciardo||Simon Rennie||Woo! Ah, thanks guys.|
Lap: Refers to lap message was broadcast on. There may be a delay between messages being said and being broadcast. PR = pre-race; FL = formation lap; VL = victory lap.
Message: Repetitive or irrelevant messages omitted. Notes in italics. Highlights in bold.
NB. Due to a technical problem a small number of radio messages were omitted.
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Belgian Grand Prix data
- 2014 Belgian Grand Prix tyre strategies and pit stops: Aggressive two-stop plan helps Raikkonen to fourth
- 2014 Belgian Grand Prix lap times and fastest laps: Why Mercedes didn’t retire Hamilton sooner
- 2014 Belgian Grand Prix tyre strategies and pit stops: Aggressive two-stop plan helps Raikkonen to fourth
2014 Belgian Grand Prix
- Rosberg says he chose to apologise for Spa crash
- Third win, second Driver of the Weekend for Ricciardo
- Spa serves up another race to remember
- 2014 Belgian Grand Prix team radio transcript
- Hamilton: “We both made mistakes”
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Image © Daimler/Hoch Zwei