Winners and Losers at the Belgian Grand Prix

Winners and Losers at the Belgian Grand Prix

26 August 2014 – Spa-Francorchamps played host to a captivating and controversial race as Daniel Ricciardo claimed his third win of the season while the two Mercedes drivers collided. Here, GPUpdate.net presents its winners and losers from the 2014 edition of the Belgian Grand Prix.

Winners

On three occasions in 2014, the dominant Mercedes pairing has slipped up. On all three occasions it has been the perennially smiling Daniel Ricciardo who has taken advantage of errors from the Silver Arrows to win the races. Ricciardo's season has been quite extraordinary, considering Red Bull's pre-season nightmare, his unlucky opening few races and the calibre of the man driving the sister car. Despite starting from fifth position following an error at Blanchimont, Ricciardo stayed out of trouble at the start and quickly passed Fernando Alonso, while an error from team-mate Sebastian Vettel at Pouhon gifted him another place – which would later be crucial in the context of the race. Ricciardo consequently lost no time behind Vettel and in getting by so swiftly he was able to close the gap to leader Nico Rosberg, before jumping the German through the first pit stop due to the former's front wing change. Ricciardo pulled away from Kimi Räikkönen across the second stint while in the third he was able to manage his pace sufficiently to fend off a charging Rosberg without ruining his tyres. Whereas before he was the hunter, this time he was the hunted and yet he conducted himself in an equally impressive manner. Despite Red Bull's problems, he's only 64 points off the lead of the championship. He cannot be ruled out.

He got unlucky in Hungary and didn't exactly profit from the conditions in qualifying, but Valtteri Bottas raced in exemplary fashion to collect his fourth podium finish in five races. Bottas was running at the front in Budapest when the timing of the Safety Car scuppered his race and in qualifying at Spa the Williams FW36 wasn't quite up to scratch, meaning that sixth was the best he could manage. But from there his maturity was in evidence as he witnessed Rosberg lock up into Bus Stop and duly profited when the resultant time loss meant the Mercedes driver was slower down the Kemmel Straight than usual. He lost some time behind Sebastian Vettel but later on in the race when presented with an opportunity to get by on the reigning world champion he judged the situation perfectly and placed his car precisely to go around the outside of the Red Bull driver at Les Combes – Nico, take note. From there he cut into Räikkönen's advantage and eased into the podium positions during the final few laps. Bottas naturally has his own ambitions in the championship, but his mature and methodical approach this season may well just net Williams third place in the battle with Ferrari.

It would be fair to say that Kimi Räikkönen's second stint at Ferrari has not so far been the rekindling of a wonderful relationship. Räikkönen has struggled with a recalcitrant F14T, whose front end does not suit Räikkönen's specific driving style. There have also been technical issues, as well as strategic blunders, misfortune and a couple of errors from the driver himself. But at a circuit where the Finn thrives, he put in unarguably his strongest performance of the season so far. Räikkönen made a decent start and was on the back of Alonso and Vettel, persuading Ferrari to adopt an aggressive strategy and stop early. He emerged in a net second place and his pace was good, albeit not rapid enough to prevent Ricciardo from extending his lead. Ultimately there was insufficient speed in the Ferrari for Räikkönen to hold off Rosberg, while he lost third place to Bottas during the closing stages – a drawback of the earlier aggression meant his Prime tyres were seven laps older than those of his compatriot.

Losers

It had to happen at some point, although considering their season it's somewhat of a surprise that the collision between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg didn't happen in more dramatic fashion. However, this was a complete disaster for Mercedes and raises more questions than answers. What went so wrong in Hungary to leave Rosberg with such a sour attitude all weekend? Can the management cope with two drivers whose relationship is surely now beyond repair? How do they sanction their own driver who has a 29 point lead in the championship? Rosberg stuck his nose in to 'prove a point' (although what point he was trying to prove is debatable – trying to show that front wings are sharp?) He did not deliberately eliminate Hamilton from proceedings, but it demonstrated his ruthless streak and adds a different perspective to some previous events of this campaign. This wasn't akin to Prost/Senna in terms of what happened, but was it a move that, if Rosberg wins the title by a small margin, will lead some to claim it's forever tainted? It was simply a racing incident, but Rosberg's alleged admission that it was avoidable will send a shockwave through the Mercedes camp and create an uneasy atmosphere in the garage. Hamilton's post-debrief comments were not said in anger; he was softly and slowly spoken, as if he was stunned by what his team-mate had just revealed. For the Brit, it was another slice of bad luck and one that leaves him again needing to play catch-up.

Fernando Alonso was 'best of the rest' in practice and fourth in qualifying presented the 33-year-old with a prime opportunity to climb up onto the podium. However, while his rivals scampered away on the formation lap, Alonso was still on the jacks due to a battery issue – although Team Principal Marco Mattiacci believed it to be a problem with the starter – and his mechanics were thus still on the grid after the 15 second signal. The indefatigable Alonso nonetheless assumed his original grid slot, although the resultant five second stop/go penalty dropped him into the secondary battle. Alonso consequently spent much of the race batting with McLaren's Kevin Magnussen and the Dane's combative approach was not well received by the Ferrari driver. Eventually Magnussen sustained a penalty for edging Alonso onto the grass on the Kemmel Straight – itself costing the McLaren driver a god haul of points – but the Spaniard cost time and was dragged into a battle with Vettel and Jenson Button; in being edged wide by Magnussen he dropped behind Vettel and then clipped the Red Bull driver, damaging his front wing and losing a spot to Button. Not the best race, but not much of it was his fault.

Whereas one Williams driver raced to another podium finish, the other one was mired down in a woeful 13th position. Felipe Massa has not enjoyed a fruitful season in 2014 despite the inherent pace of the Williams FW36 and some golden opportunities. On occasion, he has been at fault courtesy of his erratic style, but in Belgium he was quite frankly unlucky. He started from a lowly ninth place – a combination of traffic and tyre warm-up issues, although Bottas fared better – and during the initial stages of the race he picked up substantial tyre debris from either Hamilton or Jules Bianchi's car. Unfortunately the debris became lodged in Massa's floor and cost him around two seconds a lap compared to team-mate Bottas. It wasn't removed until his second stop on lap 20, by which time he was mired in the midfield. Rob Smedley believes the debris cost his charger around 40 seconds overall – a deficit eminently possible when you look at Massa's lap times – and that was the difference between fourth position and the 13th place which the Brazilian ultimately collected.

Phillip Horton
Twitter: @PHortonF1

related

Comments

Latest News
Full
Compact

  1. Saturday 25 October 2014

  2. Marussia also set to miss United States GP 10:48

    Marussia also set to miss United States GP

    Marussia is set to join Caterham in missing next weekend's United States Grand Prix after Formula 1 supremo Bernie...

    F1
  3. Ricciardo: Austin best of the new circuits 10:21

    Ricciardo: Austin best of the new circuits

    Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo believes that the Circuit of the Americas, the venue for next weekend's United States Grand...

    F1
  4. 08:02

    Latest MotoGP photos: Saturday at Sepang

    MotoGP
  5. Márquez storms to 13th pole in Malaysia 07:59

    Márquez storms to 13th pole in Malaysia

    World Champion Marc Márquez set the fastest ever MotoGP lap of Sepang as he stormed to a record-breaking 13th pole position...

    MotoGP
  6. Video of the Day: Button on road safety 05:12

    Video of the Day: Button on road safety

    McLaren driver Jenson Button lists the components necessary to be safe on the road.

    F1
  7. Friday 24 October 2014

  8. Caterham F1 set to miss next two races 18:01

    Caterham F1 set to miss next two races

    Caterham looks set to skip the next two Formula 1 races after Bernie Ecclestone gave the squad special dispensation for the...

    F1
  9. Video: Behind the scenes at Force India 16:34

    Video: Behind the scenes at Force India

    Take a closer look at the inner workings of Force India's factory at Silverstone in this behind the scenes video, featuring...

    F1
  10. 15:59

    Book F1 tickets and join the action live!

    F1
  11. Grosjean 'very close' to new Lotus deal 15:57

    Grosjean 'very close' to new Lotus deal

    Lotus is just "a few details" away from signing a fresh agreement with Romain Grosjean, according to Deputy Team Principal...

    F1
  12. Caterham handed over to administrators 12:10

    Caterham handed over to administrators

    The Caterham Formula 1 team's management has decided to step back and hand over to administrators, in the wake of a public...

    F1
  13. Video: Mercedes duo in engineering race 09:41

    Video: Mercedes duo in engineering race

    Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg take part in a different kind of battle.

    F1
  14. 09:39

    Latest MotoGP photos: Friday at Sepang

    MotoGP
  15. Pedrosa tops first day at Sepang 09:38

    Pedrosa tops first day at Sepang

    Dani Pedrosa set the standard on the first day of practice for the Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang. The Repsol Honda rider...

    MotoGP
  16. F3 champion Ocon completes Lotus test 07:28

    F3 champion Ocon completes Lotus test

    Formula 3 champion Esteban Ocon has completed his maiden Formula 1 test with Lotus after receiving two days of running in...

    F1
  17. Video of the Day: Pedrosa's Sepang highlight 05:03

    Video of the Day: Pedrosa's Sepang highlight

    Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa picks his fondest Malaysian Grand Prix memory ahead of this year's event.

    MotoGP
  18. Nissany hails 'amazing' F1 test debut 04:16

    Nissany hails 'amazing' F1 test debut

    Roy Nissany described his first experience of Formula 1 machinery as "amazing" after enjoying a day of testing with the...

    F1
  19. Thursday 23 October 2014

  20. Caterham buyer refutes Fernandes claims 19:39

    Caterham buyer refutes Fernandes claims

    Caterham buyer Engavest "strongly refutes allegations" made by Tony Fernandes and Caterham Group CEO Graham Macdonald,...

    F1
  21. Fernandes blames Caterham F1 buyer 15:58

    Fernandes blames Caterham F1 buyer

    Tony Fernandes says the Caterham F1 team's buyer is fully responsible for the ongoing problems at Leafield, claiming that it...

    F1
  22. Ramon Aurin to be Pedrosa's new crew chief 15:00

    Ramon Aurin to be Pedrosa's new crew chief

    Ramon Aurin will replace Mike Leitner as Dani Pedrosa's Race Engineer next season. The Repsol Honda rider confirmed...

    MotoGP
  23. Buyer says Fernandes still owns Caterham F1 13:21

    Buyer says Fernandes still owns Caterham F1

    The consortium that purchased Caterham F1 at the end of June has insisted that Tony Fernandes did not transfer the relevant...

    F1
  24. Caterham F1 staff locked out of factory 11:54

    Caterham F1 staff locked out of factory

    Further doubt has been cast over Caterham's ability to contest the remainder of the 2014 Formula 1 season after staff...

    F1
  25. MotoGP reveals 25-bike entry list for 2015 10:55

    MotoGP reveals 25-bike entry list for 2015

    The International Motorcycling Federation (FIM) has published a provisional entry list for the 2015 MotoGP season, with the...

    MotoGP
  26. Fong completes first F1 test in Valencia 10:13

    Fong completes first F1 test in Valencia

    Adderly Fong completed his maiden Formula 1 test on Wednesday, getting behind the wheel of Sauber's two-year-old C31 in...

    F1
  27. Massa on Austin Fans' Forum line-up 09:43

    Massa on Austin Fans' Forum line-up

    Felipe Massa, Sergio Pérez and Esteban Gutiérrez have been confirmed on the line-up for the upcoming Austin Fans' F...

    F1
  28. Video of the Day: Racing without a driver 05:08

    Video of the Day: Racing without a driver

    A driverless Audi RS 7 was recently sent out to tackle the Hockenheim circuit. Find out how it fared.

    Misc
  29. Félix da Costa to make FE debut in Malaysia 04:47

    Félix da Costa to make FE debut in Malaysia

    Amlin Aguri has confirmed that António Félix da Costa will partner Katherine Legge for the second round of the Formula E s...

    Formula E
  30. Wednesday 22 October 2014

  31. Caterham F1 bosses threaten to quit 19:37

    Caterham F1 bosses threaten to quit

    Caterham's new bosses have warned that they could be forced to step away from the F1 team, claiming that Tony Fernandes...

    F1
  32. Haas: First five years revolve around survival 17:06

    Haas: First five years revolve around survival

    Gene Haas is under no illusions about the task his Formula 1 team faces when it joins the grid, stating that he will be...

    F1
  33. Background: The Toro Rosso candidates 15:57

    Background: The Toro Rosso candidates

    New Toro Rosso recruit Max Verstappen will become the youngest driver in F1 history when he takes to the grid aged 17 next...

    F1
  34. Video: Hamilton's Stars & Cars invitation 15:12

    Video: Hamilton's Stars & Cars invitation

    Mercedes-Benz will stage the once annual 'Stars & Cars' event at its Stuttgart museum on November 29. Lewis Hamilton, who...

    F1
  35. Sam Michael set to leave McLaren 13:15

    Sam Michael set to leave McLaren

    McLaren Sporting Director Sam Michael is to leave the team at the end of the season. A McLaren spokesperson has confirmed...

    F1
  36. Lotus expects to keep Grosjean for 2015 11:12

    Lotus expects to keep Grosjean for 2015

    Lotus team owner Gerard Lopez says he expects to retain Romain Grosjean for the 2015 season, despite admitting that the...

    F1
  37. 09:43

    Photos: Márquez, Pedrosa visit Indonesia

    MotoGP
  38. Pérez on brink of new Force India deal 09:34

    Pérez on brink of new Force India deal

    Sergio Pérez says he is likely to sign a fresh Force India deal "in the next week", a move that would complete the outfit's...

    F1
  39. Video of the Day: Wolff on F1 title success 05:15

    Video of the Day: Wolff on F1 title success

    Mercedes boss Toto Wolff discusses the brand's maiden Formula 1 Constructors' success.

    F1
  40. Tuesday 21 October 2014

  41. Silverstone senior executives suspended 13:55

    Silverstone senior executives suspended

    The British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC) has taken "a closer role" in the day-to-day running of Silverstone following the...

    F1
  42. Caterham insists team not threatened 12:25

    Caterham insists team not threatened

    Caterham has dismissed media reports suggesting that Caterham Sports Limited (CSL) being placed into administration will...

    F1
  43. Lotus mourns death of Total chief 11:08

    Lotus mourns death of Total chief

    Lotus says it has been left "shocked" and "deeply saddened" by the death of Christophe de Margerie, Chairman and CEO of team...

    F1
  44. Spa to fight Nissan's use of Eau Rouge name 09:50

    Spa to fight Nissan's use of Eau Rouge name

    The Spa-Francorchamps circuit says it will contest an application from car manufacturer Nissan to trademark "Eau...

    F1
  45. Video: Miami welcomes Formula E 09:30

    Video: Miami welcomes Formula E

    Watch as the track layout for the Miami ePrix, scheduled to take place on March 14 next year, is revealed.

    Formula E
more news