Belgian GP: Raikkonen says season-best fourth down to clean race
Kimi Raikkonen says his season-high fourth place finish at the Belgian Grand Prix was simply down to the fact that it was his first clean race of the 2014 campaign.
The Finn, who has endured a troubled season so far for Ferrari, said he has had a “better feeling” in the car for a few races now, and that his fourth-place finish at Spa is more about having a clean race than he and Ferrari finding more speed.
“The race was clean, no issues like in the past, we always had something happen,” he said.
“It was probably the first [clean] race of the year. That helps. We could do our own race, and the result was a bit better.
“At the last few races we had a better feeling, but a lot of things happened in qualifying and the races.
“We had some damage on the wings by getting hit by other cars, and it compromises your race because you can’t run your own speed.
“The main thing is we had a clean race with no issues. We could push. There was still difficulties with the car handling-wise, but we expect that.
“Sure there are things that we have to improve, but the feeling has been there for a while, it’s just been comprised by the mistakes or things happening to us.
“Hopefully we start getting more clean weekends. It would make life easier, and probably the results better.”
Raikkonen added that fourth was the best he could achieve today, and that he did not consider himself to be battling with Valtteri Bottas for third place, given the Williams’s superior straightline speed.
“Not much of a fight, really,” he said. “In a straight line they are much faster. One lap he almost got me, but I could keep him behind, then on the next lap there was no chance. For me, it doesn’t count.
“We are a bit down on power. For sure we don’t have the horsepower or the engine that they have, and the energy recovery that they can achieve, and that’s the bigger problem right now.
“But we’ve improved that, for sure it is better than at the beginning at the year.”
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 Retirements 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
Team-mate Kimi Raikkonen finished the session in eighth place and a full second behind Alonso.
The Finn admitted his final flying lap had been far from perfect.
"The car was pretty OK, but the conditions were quite difficult," Raikkonen said.
"I did quite a few mistakes in the last lap, I had to compromise my out-lap to get clear of traffic, so it was not the best way to start the lap and then I did some mistakes."
Belgian GP: Nico Rosberg takes pole position at wet Spa
Nico Rosberg claimed his fourth consecutive Formula 1 pole position in qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix.
Rain meant that the majority of qualifying was run using intermediate tyres and Rosberg’s first flying lap at the start of Q3, a 2m05.591s, proved to be good enough for pole position.
Although Rosberg did switch to a fresh set of intermediates and made a small improvement, he had already done enough to be sure of top spot. He ended up just over two tenths clear of world championship rival and Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton.
Hamilton, who set a slow time on his first flier, which was compromised by sliding wide at the first corner, leading him to ease off, before improving on his second.
He then pitted for fresh intermediates and got down to a 2m05.819s on his final flier, but it was only enough for second.
Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel was third fastest, over two seconds slower than Rosberg, with Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso fourth.
The pair had held third and fourth after the first runs, but improvements later on served only to defend their positions with the Mercedes pairing out of reach.
Daniel Ricciardo, who had an off-track moment on his final attempt, was fifth fastest ahead of Valtteri Bottas in the best of the Williams cars.
Kevin Magnussen outqualified McLaren team-mate Jenson Button, the duo ending up seventh and 10th.
In between them were Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa, with the Finn the biggest loser after the first runs and being bumped from fifth down to eighth.
Scuderia Toro Rosso pairing Daniil Kvyat and Jean-Eric Vergne were the fastest of those eliminated in Q2.
Kvyat put in a lap that temporarily put him eighth in the closing stages of the session, but he was shuffled down the order by improvements by Magnussen, Button and Vettel, all of which were in the drop zone at times late on.
Sergio Perez was 13th ahead of Sauber driver Adrian Sutil, with Romain Grosjean 15th.
Although Jules Bianchi was slowest in the middle part of qualifying, the Marussia driver was one of the stars of the afternoon after reaching Q2 at Spa for the second consecutive year.
Pastor Maldonado appeared to have made it through to Q2 by improving his time on his final flying lap in a Q1 session that started off wet but improved throughout.
But the Lotus driver was bumped back down to 17th when Sutil also improved in the dying moments, with all the runners by then using intermediate rubber.
This also led to Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg being eliminated as he slipped down to 18th ahead of Marussia’s Max Chilton having been ahead of both Maldonado and Sutil as they started their final laps.
Hulkenberg admitted to making a mistake at the end of his final lap, which cost him a couple of tenths, also complaining of a lack of braking feel.
Esteban Gutierrez did not have the chance for a proper qualifying attempt as his Sauber stopped on his fifth lap while he was still on wet tyres.
This meant that the Mexican did not get to run in the best of the conditions, ending up ahead of only the two Caterhams.
Remarkably, Andre Lotterer outpaced Caterham team-mate Marcus Ericsson to avoid starting his debut grand prix last, with the gap between the two almost one second.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 2m05.591s 2. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 2m05.819s +0.228s 3. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 2m07.717s +2.126s 4. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 2m07.786s +2.195s 5. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 2m07.911s +2.320s 6. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 2m08.049s +2.458s 7. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 2m08.679s +3.088s 8. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 2m08.780s +3.189s 9. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 2m09.178s +3.587s 10. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 2m09.776s +4.185s Q2 cut-off time: 2m09.272s Gap ** 11. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 2m09.377s +2.768s 12. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 2m09.805s +3.196s 13. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 2m10.084s +3.475s 14. Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 2m10.238s +3.629s 15. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 2m11.087s +4.478s 16. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 2m12.470s +5.861s Q1 cut-off time: 2m11.081s Gap * 17. Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 2m11.261s +4.131s 18. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 2m11.267s +4.137s 19. Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 2m12.566s +5.436s 20. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 2m13.414s +6.284s 21. Andre Lotterer Caterham-Renault 2m13.469s +6.339s 22. Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 2m14.438s +7.308s 107% time: 2m16.029s
* Gap to quickest in Q1
** Gap to quickest in Q2
Belgian GP: Valtteri Bottas tops final practice for Williams
Valtteri Bottas went quickest for Williams in a frenzied final few minutes of third practice for Formula 1’s 2014 Belgian Grand Prix, outpacing Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo by 0.268 seconds.
Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg was the best of the title contenders in third.
Many drivers only had the opportunity to run one or two flying laps on the soft Pirelli tyre at the end of the session, and were thwarted by traffic.
After overnight rain a dry line had already formed in some places, thanks to the preceding GP3 qualifying session, as the F1 cars took to the circuit for their installation laps.
With the track temperature still hovering around the 16C mark and the surface still mostly wet, there was little activity for the first 30 minutes as most teams – apart from the tail-enders – elected not to risk their machinery.
Thus Marussia annexed the top two positions for half the session as Jules Bianchi (2m01.823s), Max Chilton (2m05.120s) and Andre Lotterer (2m07.529s) each essayed a tentative lap before reporting back to the pits.
Esteban Gutierrez was the first driver out on slick tyres, half an hour into the session. He instantly took 1.581s out of Bianchi’s time, then improved again by over four seconds as his medium-compound Pirellis came up to temperature, and this provided the cue for others to join the fray.
The track evolved quickly over the final 20 minutes as increased activity broadened the dry line, and Ferrari fans will have been heartened by the sight of Kimi Raikkonen bolting on a set of soft tyres and briefly topping the timesheets with five minutes to go.
Bottas, Ricciardo and Rosberg then went faster using the same tyre choice, but Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso were unable to eclipse their team-mates and finished fifth and sixth fastest.
Sebastian Vettel finished the session outside the top 10 having done all his running on the medium compound.
He has reverted to an older engine after an ignition problem in one cylinder set in motion a failure of his nominated power unit on Friday.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap Laps 1. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1m49.465s 12 2. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m49.733s +0.268s 9 3. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m49.739s +0.274s 13 4. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m49.817s +0.352s 9 5. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m49.817s +0.352s 13 6. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m49.890s +0.425s 9 7. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1m49.893s +0.428s 11 8. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m50.203s +0.738s 11 9. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1m50.423s +0.958s 11 10. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1m50.535s +1.070s 10 11. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m50.592s +1.127s 12 12. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1m50.748s +1.283s 11 13. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m50.814s +1.349s 10 14. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m50.866s +1.401s 11 15. Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1m50.962s +1.497s 12 16. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m51.509s +2.044s 9 17. Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 1m51.610s +2.145s 10 18. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m51.898s +2.433s 15 19. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1m52.457s +2.992s 14 20. Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1m52.984s +3.519s 14 21. Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1m54.294s +3.829s 11 22. Andre Lotterer Caterham-Renault 1m55.008s +5.543s 13
Kimi Raikkonen: “Not the best Friday”
Kimi Raikkonen: “A difficult day, complicated by a series of setbacks which cost us valuable track time. In the morning, I had a brake problem, but once it was sorted, we were able to get through our planned programme for the first session. The new components we brought for this race seem to be working, but only after we have cross-referenced all the data will we be able to work out what is the best package to use for the rest of the weekend. In the afternoon, an electrical problem complicated our work, preventing us from carrying out the race simulation. Tomorrow, we can expect a busy free practice session, in which we will do our best to prepare the car for qualifying and the race.”
You’ve worked with both the drivers that you’re with at the moment quite a lot through your career. Obviously what Fernando is doing this season is fairly clear but can you spell out or put your finger on what’s characterised Kimi’s season so far?
JA: Well, I would say that we have had a car that is not especially easy to drive – that’s certainly true. Particularly in Kimi’s case he doesn’t much like the front end of the car and Kimi’s a driver who likes to have a very strong and predictable front end to the car and then he’s able to make the most of the skill he had. That isn’t something he’s found yet in Ferrari and we haven’t yet provided for him. That’s, I think, what we’re looking at.
Q: (Heikki Kulta – Turun Sanomat) James, as Fernando and Kimi, they have different kinds of driving style. Is it possible to build a car that suits both of them next year?
JA: Yeah, I think so. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t, put it that way. Any driver responds to more downforce, any driver responds to more horsepower, any driver responds to more mechanical grip. We’re putting all of those things into next year’s car and I hope that both the drivers will be satisfied with the outcome. […]
Belgian GP: Lewis Hamilton tops the times in second practice
Lewis Hamilton topped the opening day of practice for the Belgian Grand Prix, outpacing Formula 1 title rival Nico Rosberg by six tenths of a second in the afternoon.
The 90-minute session was interrupted by two red flags during the first half-hour of running, the first caused by a crash for Pastor Maldonado and the second by Esteban Gutierrez’s spin.
But Hamilton was not fazed by these brief stoppages and was already fastest, four tenths quicker than Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso, before the second red flag.
He then switched to the soft rubber for his performance run, heading out at the halfway point of the session.
By the time Hamilton set his best time, on his first flying lap on the faster rubber, he had slid down to seventh, with Rosberg having bumped McLaren driver Jenson Button off top spot moments earlier.
Hamilton then outpaced Rosberg in all three sectors, a massive 0.445s of his advantage coming in the middle sector, helped by the German having a scruffy lap.
Alonso was third fastest ahead of old team-mate Felipe Massa, the Brazilian Williams driver showing that his team would again be a podium threat here.
Button ended up fifth fastest, 1.470s down, but he set the fastest overall time in sector one, suggesting he was trying a set-up that was low downforce, even by Spa standards.
Valtteri Bottas was sixth fastest in the second Williams, ahead of Daniil Kvyat, with both drivers briefly being classified as high as second thanks to completing their qualifying simulation laps before some of the frontrunners.
Daniel Ricciardo was down in eighth place after completing his first soft-tyre run later than most while work was being done on his front brakes in the pits, jumping from 15th and bumping Kevin Magnussen and Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg down to ninth and 10th.
Adrian Sutil was 12th fastest in the improving Sauber, briefly running as high as fourth before being bumped down the order, behind Jean-Eric Vergne’s Toro Rosso, with Sergio Perez down in 13th.
Lotus’ Romain Grosjean complained of the rear end of his car being unpredictable on his way to 14th, just ahead of Kimi Raikkonen.
The Ferrari driver endured a difficult session, with a misfire setting in early on and forcing a lengthy stay in the pits.
He returned to the track in the closing stages of the session, but the car was not able to do any better than 15th.
Marussia driver Jules Bianchi was up in 16th, just 3.587s off the pace, although his position was boosted by several others hitting trouble.
Gutierrez ended up 18th after managing only seven laps before he spun at Blanchimont and being unable to rejoin.
Andre Lotterer continued to impress, ending the session just half-a-tenth off team-mate Marcus Ericsson in 19th place.
Max Chilton, who had yesterday been replaced by Alexander Rossi before earning a reprieve this morning, had sat out the morning session and ended up 20th after his running was hindered by a turbo problem.
Maldonado did not set a time after causing an early red flag when he crashed just after the eight-minute mark.
The Lotus driver drifted onto the grass on the right-hand side of the track run-out of Rivage towards Pouhon and lost control, spearing across the track and heavily into the barrier on the opposite side of the circuit.
But he at least went further than Sebastian Vettel, who was forced to sit out the session as a result of an electrical problem related to the engine in the morning.
This has forced an engine change, which the team did not have the time to do before the afternoon’s running.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps 1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m49.189s 26 2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m49.793s +0.604s 28 3. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m49.930s +0.741s 19 4. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1m50.327s +1.138s 24 5. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m50.659s +1.470s 31 6. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1m50.677s +1.488s 26 7. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1m50.725s +1.536s 25 8. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m50.977s +1.788s 16 9. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1m51.074s +1.885s 31 10. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m51.077s +1.888s 26 11. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1m51.383s +2.194s 26 12. Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1m51.450s +2.261s 29 13. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m51.573s +2.384s 28 14. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m52.196s +3.007s 25 15. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m52.234s +3.045s 18 16. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1m52.776s +3.587s 23 17. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m53.955s +4.766s 7 18. Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1m54.040s +4.851s 18 19. Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1m54.050s +4.861s 30 20. Andre Lotterer Caterham-Renault 1m54.093s +4.904s 24 21. Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault no time 2 22. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault no time
Belgian GP: Nico Rosberg quickest in opening practice session
Mercedes was fastest in first practice for the 2014 Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix, with Nico Rosberg outpacing Lewis Hamilton by 0.097s.
As expected, Mercedes-engined cars dominated the top 10, with the ‘works’ cars trading quickest times in the final half hour.
Rosberg topped the timesheets for the first half of the session with a 1m51.724s lap before Hamilton edged ahead, but Rosberg hit back by going another tenth of a second faster.
Hamilton’s race engineer Peter Bonnington informed him that the time came from Rosberg being quicker through the chicane and picking up more mid-corner to exit speed at Pouhon.
Both Mercedes then returned to the circuit in the final minutes but did not improve their times.
Ferrari arrived at Spa with a revised low-downforce aero package and proved to be the fastest non-Mercedes team. Fernando Alonso was especially impressive, third fastest and just two tenths off Rosberg’s benchmark.
Kimi Raikkonen, so often a Spa specialist, continued to fight his F14 T but finished fifth fastest, albeit a second slower than his team-mate.
The Ferraris sandwiched the McLaren of fourth-placed Jenson Button, who survived a brief scare when his DRS stuck open. Button was a comfortable half second faster than team-mate Kevin Magnussen.
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo was the only other top 10 runner without a Mercedes engine, closing the session in ninth place, behind Magnussen and the two Force Indias of Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg.
Ricciardo’s team-mate Sebastian Vettel was two places adrift after an eventful session. He reported gearshift problems and ran off track at Pouhon, then ran just another handful of laps before returning to the garage with a temperature-related exhaust failure.
Valtteri Bottas was the only Williams driver to finish inside the top 10, seven tenths quicker than team-mate Felipe Massa.
While 1.595s separated P1 from P10, the gap from fastest to slowest on the entire grid was a substantial 6.4s, with the usual suspects propping up the order.
Alexander Rossi, who will not now drive in the grand prix, was over a second slower than Marussia team-mate Jules Bianchi.
It only took F1 debutant Andre Lotterer 10 laps at the wheel of the newly upgraded Caterham to overhaul team-mate Marcus Ericsson, who spun at La Source in response.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps 1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m51.577s 25 2. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m51.674s +0.097s 24 3. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m51.805s +0.228s 16 4. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m52.404s +0.827s 21 5. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m52.818s +1.241s 17 6. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m52.903s +1.326s 24 7. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1m52.922s +1.345s 23 8. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m52.937s +1.360s 22 9. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m52.972s +1.395s 19 10. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1m53.172s +1.595s 20 11. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m53.369s +1.792s 11 12. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1m53.594s +2.017s 21 13. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m53.597s +2.020s 20 14. Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1m53.703s +2.126s 14 15. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1m53.968s +2.391s 20 16. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1m54.189s +2.612s 20 17. Giedo van der Garde Sauber-Ferrari 1m54.335s +2.758s 16 18. Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 1m55.336s +3.759s 21 19. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1m55.782s +4.205s 19 20. Alexander Rossi Marussia-Ferrari 1m57.232s +5.655s 20 21. Andre Lotterer Caterham-Renault 1m57.886s +6.309s 24 22. Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1m57.977s +6.400s 24
Quando a Spa ho scoperto Kimi
Credo fosse il 2001.
Stavo per superare i controlli agli ingressi di Melbourne quando mi accorsi che un addetto al circuito stava questionando con un ragazzo biondino.
Costui pretendeva di entrare, asserendo di essere un pilota della Sauber.
L’addetto ghignava e diceva: inventatene un’altra, babbeo.
Io stavo lì e pensavo che le nuove generazioni erano dotate di enorme fantasia.
In effetti, nemmeno io sapevo chi fosse un certo Kimi Raikkonen.
Invecchiato un po’ (io), una domenica di fine agosto del 2004 stavo ad Atene.
Ultima giornata di una Olimpiade spettacolare, anche se foriera di disastri per gli amici ellenici.
La F1 correva a Spa.
Seguivo la finale del volley (Brasile-Italia) e poi la maratona di Baldini.
Del Gran Premio orecchiavo qualcosa, senza vedere niente.
Alla fine mi dissero: ah, Schumi è matematicamente campione del mondo per la settima volta, però sulla pista che ama di più è arrivato secondo. Dietro il Biondino bloccato ai cancelli di Melbourne.
Penso si sappia cosa penso io di Raikkonen, in termini assoluti.
Nutro sincera comprensione per quanti si ostinano a rifiutare il mero dato di cronaca, nonchè statistico.
Ehi, boys and girls, se in 35 anni, dalla fine del 1979 in poi, ci sono solo due esseri umani che possono dire di aver vinto un mondiale di F1 guidando una macchina rossa, I am sorry, fatevene una ragione, perchè questo resta e resterà, a prescindere dal presente e da chi sia meglio oggi, in pista, con macchina rossa o meno sotto il sedere.
Voglio semplicemente aggiungere quanto segue.
Di Schumi a Spa ho raccontato.
Mi taccio su Senna, perchè a Ayrton ho persino dedicato un libro e non pretendo che i fans di oggi condividano le mie nostalgie.
Di sicuro, a parte i due citati sopra, il tedesco e il brasiliano, io sulle Ardenne non ho mai visto uno andare tanto forte come Raikkonen.
E paradossalmente penso al 2008, cioè a una sconfitta, maturata in extremis per circostanze meteo sufficientemente note.
Dopo di che, è vero.
Nel 2014, sulla stessa Ferrari, stiamo 11-0 per Fernando e doverosamente io ne prendo atto.
But I don’t change my mind about Kimi and Spa.
Raikkonen: “The sport is more straightforward now”
Spa-Francorchamps, 21 August – The Spa circuit is famous for its high speed challenge and, at his usual Thursday meeting with the media in the Belgian paddock, Kimi Raikkonen was asked if he regretted the fact the current cars are a bit slower than in the past. “In a way yes, if you think of F1, you’d think we would have everything possible in the car to make them go faster, as it was in the past,” began the Scuderia Ferrari driver. “But obviously, now the rules have changed aimed at making the cars slower, while improving the show. I think the cars looked nicer in the past and were much more challenging to drive and it was more fun in some ways. On the other side, maybe we have more overtaking now, but sometimes I think it would be nice to go back and race with the cars from the past.” When Kimi made his F1 debut there were concerns voiced about his lack of experience, so he is ideally placed to comment on the story of the day, next year’s arrival of the currently 16 year old Max Verstappen at Toro Rosso. “I did one full year, 23 races in a car before coming to F1,” recalled the Finn. “He has probably done more. I did well; time will tell how he will do. The sport is more straightforward now than in the past, the points are given out to more finishers. So I don’t think he will have problems and I hope he does well.” Kimi’s last win at Spa came at the wheel of a Ferrari in 2009, which at the time he described as “a miracle.” He was asked what a victory would represent on Sunday. “It would be a similar story!” he said. “That year, we were one of the few teams running KERS and that was a good help for us here. Hopefully we can have a good weekend overall and a good race, so that we start improving. But here and Monza are probably not the easiest places for us as we are missing some straightline speed, which is very important at this circuit and the next one. I think that the final part of the season can only be better for us, especially as I’ve had a much better feeling from the car at the last two races.”