Belgian GP: Ricciardo wins as Mercedes’ Hamilton/Rosberg collide
Daniel Ricciardo recorded his second consecutive victory, as Formula 1 championship protagonists Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton collided in the 2014 Belgian Grand Prix.
The Red Bull racer is making a habit of picking up the pieces when Mercedes trips up, and the Australian executed another flawless race to fend off the recovering Rosberg by just 3.3 seconds and record the third victory of his flourishing grand prix career.
Rosberg extended his championship lead after a recovery drive to second, while Mercedes team-mate Hamilton posted his third retirement of the season.
Kimi Raikkonen looked set to score his first podium of the season for Ferrari, but ultimately lost out to the Williams of Valtteri Bottas in the closing stages, while reigning F1 world champion Sebastian Vettel won a thrilling late battle for fifth with the McLarens of Kevin Magnussen and Jenson Button, and Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari.
The Mercedes drivers locked out the front row by some distance in wet qualifying, but collided on lap two of the race, as slow-starting poleman Rosberg attempted to re-pass Hamilton for the lead on the run to Les Combes.
Rosberg had a look around the outside of his team-mate but clipped Hamilton’s left rear tyre as he backed out of the move and tried to tuck back in.
Hamilton limped back to the pits with a puncture and floor damage from a brief excursion, and spent the rest of his race battling a lack of pace in his W05 – and pleading with his team to retire his car to save engine mileage. He eventually retired to the pits with five laps to run.
Rosberg was told to stay out with a slightly damaged front wing after the incident.
That made the championship leader vulnerable, but he retained the lead as the top six ran in a close train early on, before the German dived into the pits to begin the first round of stops on lap eight of 44 and took a new nose.
That dropped him behind Raikkonen’s Ferrari, which stopped on the same lap as Rosberg and leapt up from sixth to second as the first round of stops played out.
The pit delay ultimately left Rosberg fourth, behind Vettel’s Red Bull, while new leader Ricciardo (who crucially passed his Red Bull team-mate when the reigning Vettel saved a wild moment on the exit of Pouhon on lap five) eased away from Raikkonen at the front.
Rosberg switched to an alternative three-stop strategy against the conventional two, and dived into the pits for an early second stop on lap 17, having failed to pass Vettel and fallen behind the Williams of Bottas.
The Mercedes driver used his second set of medium Pirelli tyres to good effect, despite concerns over a front vibration, and rose back up to second when the other frontrunners made their final stops.
Rosberg had to pit for a third time with 10 laps to go, which relieved the pressure on Ricciardo and dropped the Mercedes back to fourth, behind Raikkonen and the Williams of Valtteri Bottas, which slipstreamed past on the run to Les Combes.
Rosberg was quickly back through to third on his fresh set of tyres, passing Bottas at Blanchimont and then nailing Raikkonen easily on the Kemmel straight on the following lap.
The championship leader trailed Ricciardo by just under 20s with eight laps to run and needed to be around 2.5s per lap faster than the Australian to overhaul him, but he ultimately fell short by 3.3s at the finish.
Bottas claimed his fourth podium of 2014 in third, while Raikkonen recorded the best result of his season in fourth.
Vettel had been in podium contention, but had to come back through the pack after switching to a three-stop strategy.
He took advantage of the battling between Magnussen, Alonso and Button to claim fifth, while Magnussen just held off McLaren team-mate Button for sixth.
Alonso – who incurred a five-second penalty for his Ferrari mechanics being late away from the grid – damaged his Ferrari in the late battling, which included a three-abreast moment at Les Combes, and trailed home eighth after starting fourth.
Sergio Perez and Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat rounded out the points scorers in ninth and 10th, with Kvyat just holding off Perez’s Force India team-mate Nico Hulkenberg by 0.3s.
The second Williams of Felipe Massa finished a disappointing 13th, behind the second Toro Rosso of Jean-Eric Vergne.
Results - 54 laps
Pos Driver Team Time/Gap
1. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1h24m36.556s
2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes +3.383s
3. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes +28.032s
4. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari +36.815s
5. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault +52.196s
6. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes +54.262s
7. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes +54.580s
8. Fernando Alonso Ferrari +1m01.162s
9. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes +1m04.293s
10. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault +1m05.347s
11. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes +1m05.697s
12. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault +1m11.920s
13. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes +1m15.975s
14. Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari +1m22.447s
15. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari +1m30.825s
16. Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari -1 lap
17. Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault -1 lap
18. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari -5 laps
Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 38 laps
Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 332 lap
Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 1 lap
Andre Lotterer Caterham-Renault 1 lap
Drivers' championship Constructors' champiuonship:
1. Nico Rosberg 220 1. Mercedes 411
2. Lewis Hamilton 191 2. Red Bull/Renault 254
3. Daniel Ricciardo 156 3. Ferrari 158
4. Fernando Alonso 119 4. Williams/Mercedes 150
5. Valtteri Bottas 110 5. McLaren/Mercedes 111
6. Sebastian Vettel 98 6. Force India/Mercedes 100
7. Nico Hülkenberg 69 7. Toro Rosso/Renault 18
8. Jenson Button 66 8. Lotus/Renault 8
9. Kevin Magnussen 45 9. Marussia/Ferrari 2
10. Felipe Massa 40 10. Sauber/Ferrari 0
11. Kimi Räikkönen 39 11. Caterham/Renault 0
12. Sergio Pérez 31
13. Jean-Éric Vergne 11
14. Romain Grosjean 8
15. Daniil Kvyat 7
16. Jules Bianchi 2