Sunday, 24 August 2014
Daniel Ricciardo Wins Incident Packed Belgian Grand Prix As Rosberg Sends Hamilton Crashing
Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo beat Nico Rosberg to win an incident-packed Belgian Grand Prix Today, while Rosberg extended his championship lead over Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton in acrimonious circumstances.
Williams’ Valtteri Bottas was third.
The increasingly strained relations at Mercedes look set to get even worse after Rosberg effectively ended Hamilton's race chances with a risky overtaking move that saw him clip and puncture the Briton's left tyre.
Rosberg was loudly jeered by the Spa crowd when he went onto the podium.
"It's not my position to comment on it at all because I haven't seen it," Rosberg said afterward of the incident. "Of course it's very disappointing from a team's perspective. We could have done a lot better than just finish in second place with the car we have."
Hamilton retired with five laps remaining after his team noticed some further degradation and he appeared to blame Rosberg after the race.
"I'm sure he'll leave here happy," Hamilton told the BBC.
It was a second straight win for Ricciardo after victory at the Hungarian GP last month and the third of an impressive season. The Australian continues to outshine his Red Bull teammate Sebastian Vettel who was fifth. Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen was fourth.
"We're happy with what we're doing," Ricciardo said. "The consistency was there and we're making the tyres last."
Rosberg started from pole for the fourth straight race, but a great start by Hamilton and Vettel saw them both zoom past the German at the first turn.
Just two laps into the race, as Hamilton fixed his racing line, Rosberg tried to pass him on the outside but instead his front wing hit Hamilton's left side, also causing damage to Rosberg's front wing.
"Nico hit me, Nico hit me," an exasperated Hamilton said over the race radio.
Early signs are that the Mercedes team looks like coming down heavily on Rosberg for taking a risk right at the start of the race.
The two drivers have clashed throughout the season. In Hungary, Hamilton refused team orders to let Rosberg past.
At the Monaco GP in May, Hamilton was incensed when Rosberg surprisingly crashed late in qualifying when under no pressure, leading to a safety car coming out and squandering Hamilton's chances of pole.
Today, after pitting for repairs, Hamilton was told to manage at least 15 laps on his new tyres, to which a despondent Hamilton responded "the rear tyre is never going to last."
He had qualified on the front row for the first time in six races.
But once again the 2008 champion needed to carve his way back through the field, just like in the previous two GPS -- Hungary and Germany -- where he qualified 20th and 22nd due to technical problems.
Rosberg's front wing was replaced on lap nine.
Then, in another dramatic turn, some flying debris got attached to the radio aerial of Rosberg's car and blew around in his face. He tried in vain to remove it with his left hand as it flapped around, even catching on the steering wheel.
Meanwhile, a worried Hamilton asked "Is my pace really far off?" as his team reassured him that he was closing the gap.
By now, Rosberg was fourth, with Vettel, Raikkonen and Ricciardo in front after 15 laps.
Two laps later, Rosberg tried and failed to overtake Vettel as smoke billowed from his front left tyre.
Halfway through the 44-lap race, Hamilton was down in 16th and asked his engineers if it would be better to retire and save the engine.
"We are looking at the options now," his race engineer replied. Hamilton then complained about having no downforce on his car but his team insisted he scrap for points.