Ricciardo wins at Spa as Mercedes collide

By on Sunday, August 24, 2014
Red Bull/Getty Images

Red Bull/Getty Images

Daniel Ricciardo claimed victory at an utterly sensational Belgian Grand Prix as Mercedes drivers Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton collided when battling for the lead of the race.

Ricciardo took advantage of the Mercedes woes to record his third win of the year as Rosberg recovered to second while Hamilton dropped to the back of the field due to a puncture.

As a result, Rosberg now leads Hamilton in the Championship by 29 points.

There was drama on the opening lap as Hamilton snatched the lead from Rosberg, while Sebastian Vettel leapt up into second and challenged the Brit on the run to Les Combes. Vettel took the outside line but ran wide and conceded the position to Rosberg.

However, more drama was to come next time around as Rosberg closed on Hamilton along the Kemmel Straight and made a move around the outside of Les Combes. Hamilton closed the door but Rosberg clipped the rear of the sister Mercedes, giving Hamilton a puncture and forcing the Brit to limp back to the pits.

Vettel briefly challenged Rosberg but was soon passed by Red Bull team-mate Ricciardo after running wide at Pouhon.

Rosberg stopped at the end of lap eight for a new front wing and the time lost meant that he came out behind Kimi Räikkönen, who also pitted for fresh tyres on the same lap.

Rosberg’s stop allowed Red Bull to run first and second, with Ricciardo 1.5s ahead of Vettel, who was closely followed by Bottas and Fernando Alonso.

Vettel stopped at the end of lap 10 for a fresh set of Options, while Rosberg circulated further back with tyre debris stuck on his aerial, flapping towards his steering wheel. Räikkönen managed to get the jump on Vettel through the pit phase, while Alonso was hit with a five second stop and go penalty for having his team personnel on the grid at the 15 second signal. The Spaniard had been up on the jacks when the formation lap began and had to work his way back to his original grid slot.

Ricciardo stopped on lap 11 and emerged just 1.5s ahead of a charging Räikkönen. Alonso came in a lap later to serve his penalty and came out in 10th place behind Sergio Pérez, who he passed with a move around the outside of Rivage.

Bottas stopped a lap later, thus meaning that Ricciardo led Räikkönen by 2.4s, with Vettel in third being chased by Rosberg and Bottas.

Ricciardo gradually extended his advantage over Räikkönen, who in turn had a gap back to Vettel. Rosberg had a go at passing Vettel at Bus Stop but locked up, allowing Bottas to cruise past him on the run up to Les Combes.

Räikkönen stopped at the halfway point of the race, while the timing of Rosberg’s stop was such that he jumped the Finn and also got by on Vettel through the pit phase.

Rosberg got through on Alonso and into third place, behind the yet-to-pit Ricciardo and Bottas. Ricciardo eventually pitted on lap 27, allowing Bottas another stint at the head of the field.

Bottas stopped one lap later for fresh Primes and came out in sixth place, while Rosberg set about chasing Ricciardo for the lead of the race. Bottas emerged from the pit lane behind Vettel, but he got through on the Red Bull driver with an exquisite move around the outside of Les Combes.

Ricciardo maintained his lead at 3.5s over Rosberg, while 15 seconds back Räikkönen started to be reeled in by compatriot Bottas.

Rosberg stopped on lap 35 for a fresh set of Options but lost out to Bottas along the Kemmel Straight, although he was immediately back on the Williams driver and passed him into Blanchimont.

Rosberg breezed past Räikkönen and with eight laps remaining had a 21 second deficit to close to race leader Ricciardo.

Rosberg ate into Ricciardo’s lead by around 2.5 seconds a lap but he ultimately fell short as Ricciardo claimed back-to-back wins, 3.3 seconds ahead of Rosberg, with Bottas in third. Räikkönen finished in fourth.

A furious battle raged during the final laps for fifth position as Vettel, Kevin Magnussen, Jenson Button and Alonso traded places, with Magnussen’s defensive driving angering Alonso. The Spaniard fell to eighth after clipping Vettel on the last lap and losing part of his front wing.

Pérez and Daniil Kvyat rounded out the top 10.

Hamilton trundled around at the back of the field and pleaded with his Mercedes team several times to retire. They kept him out in case of rain or a Safety Car, but eventually gave in and retired the car on lap 40 due to the extensive damage.

Pastor Maldonado and Caterham debutant Andre Lotterer were early retirements after parking at the side of the track. Romain Grosjean also failed to make the distance, as did Marussia’s Jules Bianchi, who sustained a puncture on the first lap.

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