Ricciardo wins as Mercedes duo clash

Ricciardo wins as Mercedes duo clash

24 August 2014 – Daniel Ricciardo took advantage of a clash between Mercedes duo Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton to record his third victory of 2014, and his second in a row, at the Belgian Grand Prix. Rosberg, who escaped with minor wing damage as Hamilton picked up a puncture and later retired, switched strategy to take second and extend his championship lead. Valtteri Bottas beat Kimi Räikkönen to the final podium spot.

It was Hamilton who enjoyed the smoothest launch, claiming the lead from Red Bull rival Sebastian Vettel and slow-starting team-mate Rosberg.

In a repeat of last season, reigning World Champion Vettel latched onto the back of the leading car through Eau Rouge and attacked Hamilton at the top of the hill, only to run out of room and fall behind Rosberg.

On the following lap, Rosberg attempted the same move on Hamilton, but after failing to find a way past on the entry to Les Combes, he clipped his championship rival's rear-end at the following left-hander element.

Although Rosberg continued with only a small part of his front wing missing, Hamilton suffered a left-rear puncture and plummeted down the order while attempting to crawl back to the pits for a fresh set of tyres.

As Rosberg regained his composure at the head of the field, Ricciardo was on a charge in his Red Bull, firstly picking off Ferrari rival Fernando Alonso before finding a way past team-mate Vettel with similar ease.

With Ricciardo then closing in on Rosberg, the latter pitted early for a change of wing and tyre strategy; while the German swapped to Mediums, the rest of the frontrunners stayed on Softs, putting him out of sync.

This gave Ricciardo the lead of the race and it was one that he would retain through to the chequered flag.

Rosberg's early stop led him to adopt a three-stop plan instead of the conventional two. He made good use of his second set of Mediums, despite picking up a flat-spot, before returning to the Soft compound for a late sprint.

But he could not quite overcome Ricciardo's 20-second lead, with 3.3 seconds between the pair at the finish.

There may not have been a massive battle for the victory, but there was plenty of action behind, beginning with the final podium place. Bottas ultimately took the position from Räikkönen with a DRS-assisted move on the Kemmel straight four laps from the end, marking his and the Williams team's fourth rostrum of the season.

Vettel was in contention for a podium early on, but had to fight back through the field after switching to a three-stop plan, like Rosberg. He came out on top in a mammoth battle with Kevin Magnussen, Jenson Button and Alonso, the latter being hit with a five-second stop/go after his mechanics were late away from the grid.

Sergio Pérez and Toro Rosso rookie Daniil Kvyat rounded out the points, with the latter narrowly fending off Pérez's Force India team-mate Nico Hülkenberg, who started at the rear after his elimination from Q1.

Felipe Massa finished a lowly 13th, with the team reporting that his car picked up damage from debris.

In addition to Hamilton, who retired his car in the closing stages in order to prevent overheating, Lotus duo Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado and Caterham debutant André Lotterer failed to make the finish.

The 13th round of the Formula 1 season takes place at Monza from September 5-7

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