Ricciardo Swoops To Spa Win Amid Mercedes Muddle

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A dry and overcast day was the weather as Daniel Ricciardo took advantage of a clash at Mercedes to take victory at the 2014 Belgian Grand Prix. Following an incident between the two drivers at Mercedes which had Hamilton coming off the worse for wear and later retiring, Ricciardo pushed on from his strong start from fifth on the grid to overtake Alonso and Rosberg, as well his team-mate Vettel. From here it was a case of keeping it fast and on the track to see the chequered flag first.

Ricciardo has been in the form of his career in his first season with Red Bull. Many expected him to put a fight to his team-mate which would be even at best. The Australian has instead taken three victories with two of them from the last three races. That he has a higher amount of wins than the German Vettel has podiums is an emphatic answering of the question of whether it was right that he was the man promoted from Red Bull’s sister team Toro Rosso to the main team at Red Bull. Ricciardo said after the race that the team had not expected a win and alluded to some upcoming tracks as more shots at victory.

“I see good things ahead if we can collect maximum points around here,” said Ricciardo. “It gives us a bit more hope for the circuits that are going to come later in the season, Singapore, Suzuka, just a couple to mention.

“It is great – we are really motivated right now and it has been a really good day for us on a track where we didn’t expect to get maximum points.

“I’ll keep smiling for a while but I still stay grounded. Monza I know will be tricky again bur the package we bought here was pretty racy, so we’ll try to take something from here to Monza, and Singapore, Suzuka will be pretty good for us.”

Rosberg was unapologetic after the incident

Rosberg was unapologetic after the incident

Nico Rosberg chased down Ricciardo but ran out of laps and had to settle for second on a day when the German was part of his team missing out on an easy win. On lap 2 of the race, Rosberg’s front wing touched Lewis Hamilton’s left rear tyre as Rosberg attempted to overtake Hamilton. The collision forced Rosberg into a front nose change in the pits while Hamilton had a puncture and later retired due to losing a high amount of downforce from the accident which saw a lot of pace lost from his car.

Rosberg stood strong after a crash which many saw as his fault, saying that he doesn’t think it will damage the relationship between the two team-mates but also acknowledging that the clash meant the team missed out on a win.

“I am confident that we can keep it. It is always going to be an intense battle, that was clear from the outset and there will always be difficult moments.

“But after Hungary we had a discussion again, we will discuss this again today, review it and then move on.

“We had a very good discussion after Hungary, it was reviewed and clarified, and then we adapted our agreement to move forward and that was really behind us,” rosberg insisted.

“To be honest I was very relaxed this weekend and looking forward to it with this awesome car.

“My frame of mind was not thinking of the championship, just wanting to win this race with the Silver Arrows.”

“I am very disappointed from a team perspective because we could have done a lot better than finishing in second place as our car was really, really special this weekend,” he said.

Bottas has gone from strength to strength in 2014

Bottas has gone from strength to strength in 2014

Valtteri Bottas has been one of the stars of the season with his Williams using its leading Mercedes engine to third place. It is the Finn’s fourth podium of a stellar year and in his interviews after the race, he said the team is aiming for the top step of the podium.

“The team has done such a good job, we are definitely on the right way: another podium, the fourth one in my career and the fourth one this season.”

“We are still chasing for the highest step but for now, for this season, if we keep like this, it’s OK because it’s the future that matters.”

Fourth place is Raikkonen's highest finish of the season so far

Fourth place is Raikkonen’s highest finish of the season so far

Kimi Raikkonen put in one of the drives of the day at a track where he has either finished on the podium or retired. It was a much-needed result for the 2007 world champion who has been no match for his Ferrari team-mate Fernando Alonso this year, with Alonso currently on 121 points in the driver’s world championship to Raikkonen’s 39. Raikkonen said he was sure that the team is improving but still lacks in many areas compared to its rivals.

“Little by little we’re getting stronger, on every side,” Raikkonen said. “It’s not just the engine and the electronics.

“For sure we don’t have the downforce that some of the other teams have. It’s the package.

“We’re not bad in any of the areas, but we’re not good either. We’re missing everywhere: the car itself, aerodynamic grip, mechanical grip, and the power as well.”

Mercedes missed out on scoring big points due to the early clash

Mercedes missed out on scoring big points due to the early clash

Lewis Hamilton suffered a disastrous race, his clash with his team-mate was the precursor to his retirement, leaving him a further 18 points adrift of his team-mate who leads the world championship. The Briton was astounded at Rosberg’s actions and said that his team-mate said in the post-race team meeting that he had crashed on purpose, adding that the team bosses also heard what was said.

“I didn’t really understand what happened – I felt a big thud at the rear,” said Hamilton.

“I gave the guy space. I don’t really understand it.

“It’s really gutting for the result and for all my team.

“We’ve had such a tough year, not just the guys on my side of the garage, but the whole team in general.

“This is not good for the team. We could’ve easily had a one-two.”

“We just had a meeting about it and he basically 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] and Paddy [Lowe] who are not happy with him as well.”

Wolff was a figure of fury in interviews

Wolff was a figure of fury in interviews

Toto Wolff, the Executive Director of Mercedes and one of the team bosses, was furious and warned that Rosberg could suffer punishment from the team for his actions.

“Today we’ve seen the limits of the slap on the wrist,” he said. “Maybe the slap on the wrist is not enough.

“If Lewis has said that it’s going to be a slap on the wrist, and that there’s going to be no consequence, then he’s not aware of what consequences we can implement.”

“The solution is that we’re going to sit down and hear the boys’ opinion, I think we owe it to them,” he said.

“We aren’t going to point the finger at Nico and say ‘You messed it all up’ because they’re fighting very hard for the championship and it could have been the other way around.

When asked what the team could actually do to rectify the situation, Wolff said: “A lot. But I’m not going to comment on this right now.”

Belgian GP Result

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. Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes        +54.580s
 7. Fernando Alonso       Ferrari                 +1m01.162s
 8. Sergio Perez          Force India-Mercedes    +1m04.293s
 9. Daniil Kvyat          Toro Rosso-Renault      +1m05.347s
10. Nico Hulkenberg       Force India-Mercedes    +1m05.697s
11. Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Renault      +1m11.920s
12. Kevin Magnussen       McLaren-Mercedes        +1m14.262s*
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

* Penalty

Retirements
Lewis Hamilton        Mercedes                 38 laps
Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault            33 laps
Pastor Maldonado      Lotus-Renault            1 lap
Andre Lotterer        Caterham-Renault         1 lap
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