Belgian F1 Grand Prix 2014 Results: Winner, Standings, Highlights and Reaction
The 2014 Belgian Grand Prix at the legendary circuit of Spa Francorchamps started with controversy and quickly became one of the most dramatic races of the Formula One season, with Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo taking an easy win ahead of the pack.
Nico Rosberg took second, widening the gap with team-mate Lewis Hamilton in the race for the 2014 world title.
Hamilton and Rosberg made contact in the second lap, with both Mercedes cars coming away from the clash with some damage. Hamilton was forced into an early pit stop with a puncture and the bottom of his car got severely damaged, forcing him into a spectator role for the rest of the afternoon.
The Brit had position on Rosberg, who decided to steer to the outside and tried to overtake his team-mate from a risky position.
Commentating for BBC Sport, David Coulthard felt bad for the Hamilton, although he didn't feel any punishment for his team-mate was warranted:
That WAS the worst place possible for Hamilton to get a puncture. I think it was just a situation where Nico knew he had to be aggressive.
I would put it down as a racing incident but on this occasion Nico has to take responsibility within the team for the contact but I don't think there should be any punishment as far as the stewards are concerned.
Lewis will be furious too!
Rosberg clipped his front wing on Hamilton's tyre and somehow got part of Hamilton's tyre stuck on the front of his car, restricting how much he could see from his visor. His early stop resulted in him continuing the race on prime tyres, and he locked up badly trying to pass Sebastian Vettel in Lap 18.
Valtteri Bottas' Williams looked very fast on the straights, but it was Daniel Ricciardo who jumped to an early lead, looking for his second consecutive Grand Prix win.
Kimi Raikkonen showed why he's regarded as one of the world's best technicians, riding a clean race to a strong finish in fourth, the first time this season the Finn was able to finish ahead of Ferrari team-mate Fernando Alonso.
Rosberg needed several laps to get past Bottas and trailed Ricciardo by 19 seconds with less than 10 laps to go, and the German gladly took a second-place finish knowing Hamilton wouldn't score any points on Sunday.
Hamilton quickly lost faith fighting in the background, and after multiple pleas over the radio, the Mercedes officials allowed him to retire from the race to preserve the engine.
The battle for fifth turned into a dramatic affair in the final laps, with Vettel, Kevin Magnussen, Jenson Button and Alonso engaging in a furious battle that lasted all the way to the checkered flag.
Alonso spun into the grass, Button had the door slammed on his nose by Magnussen and Vettel eventually emerged as the victor of a highly entertaining race for fifth.
The clash between Rosberg and Hamilton took the headlines, however. The German was treated to a chorus of boos by the Belgian fans throughout the podium ceremony, and plenty of fans on social media believed Hamilton had every right to be upset with his team-mate.
The Race Weekend on Bleacher Report
The Belgian Grand Prix Live Blog and Report.
Bleacher Report Belgian Grand Prix Expert Predictions.
The full results of the Belgian Grand Prix, per Formula1.com:
Updated Driver Standings
Here's how the updated standings of the driver's championship looks after the 12th race of the season, per Formula1.com:
|3||Daniel Ricciardo||Australian||Red Bull Racing-Renault||156|
|6||Sebastian Vettel||German||Red Bull Racing-Renault||98|
|7||Nico Hulkenberg||German||Force India-Mercedes||69|
|12||Sergio Perez||Mexican||Force India-Mercedes||31|
Updated Team Standings
Here's how the updated team standings look after the 12th race of the 2014 season, per Formula1.com:
Daniel Ricciardo won his third race of the 2014 season, the most convincing performance of his young career. As reported by BBC Sport, he couldn't believe how great the Belgian support was:
I think back home there is a huge following for F1 but this is almost as many Aussie flags as there was in Melbourne so thanks so much. It is a bit different when you lead the race for that long, it's more about composure and trying to keep steady. Once Nico went in I knew he would be quick at the end so I had to keep my pace up to stay ahead of him.
When you are leading the first thing is you hope everything holds together, mechanically you hope everything gets you to the finish line but certainly when you are in the lead the chequered flag can't come soon enough.
Nico Rosberg tried to downplay the incident with Hamilton, saying he was hoping for a better team result:
I got a good run on Lewis and tried to go round the outside and we just touched in the end unfortunately and it hurt both of our races, but that's just how it goes. I have not seen it yet so it wouldn't be good of me to comment on it, I will have a look at it and then speak about it.
I was pretty confident [we could get a one-two] we had good race speed but unfortunately it didn't work out for us today.
However, Hamilton disagreed with Rosberg, claiming the driver admitted to crashing him intentionally, according to ESPN Formula 1:
'It looked quite clear to me but we just had a meeting about it and he basically said he did it on purpose,' he said. 'He said he did it on purpose, he said he could have avoided it. He said 'I did it to prove a point', he basically said 'I did it to prove a point'. And you don't have to just rely on me, go and ask Toto [Wolff], Paddy [Lowe] and all those guys who are not happy with him as well.
'I was gobsmacked when I was listening to the meeting. You need to ask him what point he was trying to make.'
Hamilton said Rosberg had even tried to blame him initially.
'He just came in there and said it was all my fault. Just came in there...'
Fans and pundits seemed to disagree as well, and even Mercedes executive director Toto Wolff expressed his disappointment with Rosberg for trying to overtake his team-mate in that situation:
Absolutely unacceptable. Lap number two of a long race and a crash between two team-mates, we have often discussed the situation and it happened today. You don't try to overtake with the knife between your teeth in lap number two and damage both cars.
This is a decisive moment in the battle between the two of them and for the team. Lewis is very upset, we kept him out there for a long time with a damaged car. He will recover quickly. It is going to be handled.
Niki Lauda voiced the same sentiment, telling BBC Sport there would be a serious discussion once the dust has settled:
Very simple it is unacceptable that in the second lap Nico hit Lewis, completely unacceptable.
There is going to be a meeting at 16.45 but it is unacceptable. If these things happen at the end of the race, when they are fighting for the win then you discuss it but in the second lap to hand the victory to Red Bull.
I thought they were clever enough to know that but obviously they aren't.
Eddie Jordan disagreed with Mercedes' comments on the incident:
That for me is a boardroom decision, it should never happened, don't blame the drivers. You can't just let people go and do what they want to do. The team has suffered here. What they did is stupid. They are allowing the emotions of the driver in the heat of the moment to take over.
The team are looking for other people to blame and they have to blame themselves.
Daniel Ricciardo continues to impress during the 2014 season, winning his third race in commanding fashion. The young Australian continues to be the only driver capable of challenging the powerful Mercedes cars, and given his current form, he might even have a chance of catching Lewis Hamilton in the standings.
Whether he does or not is irrelevant, however. Ricciardo has overtaken Sebastian Vettel as Red Bull's No. 1, and his Formula One future looks incredibly bright at this point. If Red Bull can bridge the gap between their engines and Mercedes going into next season, Ricciardo could be a surprise contender for the world title.
Say what you want about Williams' Valtteri Bottas, the Finn continues to string together results. He has now made the podium in five consecutive races and comfortably sits in fifth place in the drivers' standings, more than doubling team-mate Felipe Massa's point total.
Yes, Nico Rosberg may have widened the gap between himself and Lewis Hamilton but don't think for one second he's a winner after the 2014 Belgian Grand Prix. The fans' reception was so harsh, Eddie Jordan had to stop his post-match interview of the German on multiple occasions just to ask the crowd to show some respect.
Mercedes' officials are furious, and rightfully so. The team lost as a whole in Belgium: The rift between both racers got even deeper, Red Bull ran away with the win on a track that suited the Mercedes like a glove and public perception of Rosberg couldn't be any lower.
Andre Lotterer made his Formula One debut at Spa Francorchamps, and his Caterham broke down after just five laps. The 32-year-old isn't likely to receive a lot chances to make an impact on this level and battle for a seat in 2015, and he no doubt would have wished for a better start.