Belgian Formula 1 Grand Prix 2014: Results, Times for Practice and Qualifying

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Belgian Formula 1 Grand Prix 2014: Results, Times for Practice and Qualifying
Luca Bruno/Associated Press

Lewis Hamilton's quest to catch Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg atop the Formula One Drivers' Standings is ready to be reignited at the Belgian Grand Prix, the first race back after this season's summer break.

Rosberg currently sits nine points ahead of the Englishman, who managed to claw a little ground back during the last race in Budapest, where he finished third to the German's fourth.

Aside from Rosberg's retirement at Silverstone, this finish represented the first time he has failed to conclude the race inside the top two this season, allowing his colleague to regain precious ground.

Hamilton's early-season dominance has subsided—he managed to win four consecutive races after retiring during the opener in Australia—but ability to make the podium remains consistent.

In fact, Hamilton has finished at least third across all nine circuits he has seen through to the end. Importantly, his performances have remained sharp since Canada, which saw his brakes blow out during a battle for victory.

Rosberg may be nervous to consider he is yet to win back-to-back races. He admitted to having gained a vital lesson after the Hungarian Grand Prix, which saw Hamilton disobey instructions in order to stay ahead of his team-mate:

"Of course we discussed it after the race, because it's important to review a situation like that and to know how to move forward," said Rosberg, per Andrew Benson of BBC Sport. "I've also learned various things which I will try to adapt for the future."

Daniel Ricciardo is among the chasing pack who will be looking to gain ground on the Mercedes duo at Spa-Francorchamps. The 25-year-old claimed his first win of the season last time out and will want to maintain his 16-point lead over Fernando Alonso.

Alonso is working well with a less-impressive car this season, highlighted by team-mate Kimi Raikkonen's troubled performances since returning to Ferrari. The Finn languishes down in 12th overall heading into the Belgian Grand Prix, his best finish this season coming in at sixth.

Valtteri Bottas, Raikkonen's countryman, has enjoyed a comfortable campaign so far and remains in fifth. While the Williams driver was unable to finish second for a third consecutive race in Hungary—where he came eighth—he remains in the running to be crowned this season's "best of the rest."

At this stage, it seems highly unlikely the dominance of Rosberg, Hamilton and Mercedes will be overthrown. Spa offers a challenging route, one bursting with opportunities to overtake and gain vital speed, but the pack will need to begin gaining ground soon if a Mercedes winner isn't going to be crowned come the end of the season.

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