Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix 2014

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo benefited from the in-fighting between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg in the Mercedes camp to claim his third victory of the year at Spa Francorchamps ahead of Rosberg and Williams’ Valteri Bottas in what has to be considered a controversial race in Belgium.

The controversy came courtesy of Mercedes when Rosberg tried to drive around the outside of Hamilton at Les Combes on lap 2, but instead of yielding to the race leader, Rosberg left his nose in a position where it was going to be hit when Hamilton took the racing line. Some will say racing incident; but from my understanding of the rules; the chasing driver has to yield unless he is more than half way alongside the leading driver, in which case, the leading driver needs to give space. Rosberg was not halfway alongside Hamilton; his front wheel was in line with Hamilton’s rear wheel.

The net result is that a certain 1-2 finish went begging as Hamilton suffered a left rear puncture, which ultimately saw him retire from the race with a few laps remaining and Rosberg needed to pit for a new front wing which cost him and Mercedes victory, finishing 3.3 seconds behind Ricciardo.

Williams’ Bottas impressed again with his forth podium in five races, putting his much more experienced team mate Felipe Massa in the shade once more; the Brazilian could only manage 13th place, 10 places behind the young Finnish driver, given a race winning car, Bottas is a future WDC.

In the Ferrari camp; Kimi Raikkonen finished fourth ahead of his more illustrious team mate Fernando Alonso, who could only manage seventh place in Spa. It just wasn’t Alonso’s day, he picked up a penalty immediately as mechanics struggled to get his car started on the grid, meaning his team were still on the grid when the 15 second warning sounded, which earned him a five second stop/go penalty which the Spaniard took during his first pit stop. Alonso did get some luck, getting promoted from eighth to seventh place because of Kevin Magnussen’s 20 second time penalty.

Jenson Button finished solidly in the points in Spa claiming sixth place, which should have been seventh but for McLaren team mate Magnussen’s time penalty which demoted the Dane to 12th. I am a Button fan and have been for a long time; but he really hasn’t impressed that much, he is beating his team mate in the points, but not by a large margin as you would expect from a 15 year veteran.

Sebastian Vettel, team mate of race winner, Ricciardo finished the race in fifth place after a late charge saw him pass, Alonos, Button and Magnussen. The four time world champion has been disappointing this season in general in comparison to relative rookie team mate Ricciardo who has claimed three victories and leads the German by 58 points, which indicates one of two things, either Sebastian was flattered by Red Bull’s previous cars or Daniel really is that great a driver!

I hate to say it Hamilton fans; but I really don’t think this will be his year. The Briton has had an incredible run of bad luck and now seemingly being deliberately taken out by his team mate this weekend. Hamilton claiming Rosberg admitted as much in the team debrief, which seemed to be backed up somewhat by Toto Wolff’s comments, although Rosberg has publicly denied the allegation. Whatever you choose to believe; the fact is that Rosberg has extended his lead over his Mercedes stablemate Hamilton to 29 points with his second place finish and Hamilton’s DNF.

2014 Belgian Grand Prix Results

1. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) 1:24:36.556
2. Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) +3.300
3. Valteri Bottas (Williams) +27.900
4. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) +36.500
5. Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) +51.800
6. Jenson Button (McLaren) +54.500
7. Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) +61.100
8. Sergio Perez (Force India) +64.200
9. Daniil Kvyat (Toro Rosso) +65.300
10. Nico Hulkenberg (Force India) +65.600

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