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. Sunday 21 December 2014

  2. Horner: Ricciardo form aided Kvyat promotion 10:14

    Horner: Ricciardo form aided Kvyat promotion

    Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner says that Daniel Ricciardo's form in 2014 aided the squad's decision to promote...

    F1
  3. Grosjean takes podium in Andros Trophy 08:51

    Grosjean takes podium in Andros Trophy

    Romain Grosjean finished on the podium in his one-off outing in the ice-based Andros Trophy in France. Grosjean, who has...

    Misc
  4. Video of the Day: Williams on its 2014 season 05:02

    Video of the Day: Williams on its 2014 season

    Senior Williams figures, including drivers Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas, reflect on the 2014 season.

    F1
  5. Saturday 20 December 2014

  6. McLaren sure it understands test woes 09:17

    McLaren sure it understands test woes

    McLaren Racing Director Eric Boullier says the squad understands the problems which affected the team during its first...

    F1
  7. Video of the Day: Ferrari F1 demo in Bologna 05:11

    Video of the Day: Ferrari F1 demo in Bologna

    Watch highlights of Giancarlo Fisichella's Ferrari Formula 1 demo at the recent Bologna Motor Show.

    F1
  8. Friday 19 December 2014

  9. BayernLB files law suit against Ecclestone 17:31

    BayernLB files law suit against Ecclestone

    German bank BayernLB has confirmed that it has filed a law suit against Bernie Ecclestone in relation to the sale of Formula...

    F1
  10. Ferrari confirms Vergne as test driver 16:40

    Ferrari confirms Vergne as test driver

    Ferrari has confirmed that former Toro Rosso racer Jean-Éric Vergne has joined the team as test driver and will focus on car...

    F1
  11. F1 2014: Biggest controversies of the season 16:17

    F1 2014: Biggest controversies of the season

    Formula 1 was full of talking points both on and off the track in 2014, with team-mate clashes and regulations being...

    F1
  12. Rossi expecting boost for America in 2016 14:19

    Rossi expecting boost for America in 2016

    Alexander Rossi believes that 2016 could turn out to be a positive year for America's involvement in Formula 1, when Gene...

    F1
  13. Campos replaces Hilmer in GP3 line-up 12:09

    Campos replaces Hilmer in GP3 line-up

    Adrian Campos' eponymous team will replace Hilmer Motorsport in GP3 next season. Campos, whose outfit returned to GP2 in...

    GP3
  14. Toro Rosso on upwards trajectory – Tost 09:42

    Toro Rosso on upwards trajectory – Tost

    Toro Rosso Team Principal Franz Tost believes that his squad is on an upwards curve after the outfit recovered from a...

    F1
  15. Nasr chooses 12 as race number 07:44

    Nasr chooses 12 as race number

    Felipe Nasr has confirmed that he will race with number 12 when he makes his Formula 1 debut with Sauber in 2015. Nasr,...

    F1
  16. Video of the Day: Mercedes duo design cars 05:04

    Video of the Day: Mercedes duo design cars

    Mercedes-Benz has celebrated winning both Formula 1 world titles with special models of the AMG SL 63, created by drivers...

    F1
  17. Thursday 18 December 2014

  18. 17:03

    Book F1 tickets and join the action live!

    F1
  19. Ecclestone formally reappointed to F1 board 16:40

    Ecclestone formally reappointed to F1 board

    Bernie Ecclestone has been reappointed to the Formula 1 board and will continue as CEO of the Formula One Group, while Luca...

    F1
  20. New Sauber passes FIA crash tests 16:06

    New Sauber passes FIA crash tests

    Sauber has confirmed that its 2015 Formula 1 chassis, the C34, has passed the first stage of the FIA's mandatory crash...

    F1
  21. Horner: Newey will still attend some races 14:09

    Horner: Newey will still attend some races

    Red Bull team boss Christian Horner says Adrian Newey will still attend a selection of Formula 1 races next season, even...

    F1
  22. Tech 1 signs Aurélien Panis for 2015 season 10:36

    Tech 1 signs Aurélien Panis for 2015 season

    Aurélien Panis, son of ex-Formula 1 driver Olivier, will graduate to Formula Renault 3.5 with the Tech 1 Racing squad next...

    FR 3.5
  23. Lotus approached Alonso over 2015 seat 09:23

    Lotus approached Alonso over 2015 seat

    Lotus owner Gérard Lopez has revealed that the team gave Fernando Alonso "a real option" to consider for the 2015 Formula 1...

    F1
  24. Video of the Day: Ferrari's Christmas lunch 05:09

    Video of the Day: Ferrari's Christmas lunch

    Ferrari recently hosted staff and representatives at its annual Gestione Sportiva Christmas Lunch.

    F1
  25. Wednesday 17 December 2014

  26. Ferrari tyre chief to leave at end of year 15:45

    Ferrari tyre chief to leave at end of year

    Ferrari tyre performance chief Hirohide Hamashima will leave the team at the end of the year, as the Scuderia continues to...

    F1
  27. Video: Carlos Sainz's title-winning season 13:49

    Video: Carlos Sainz's title-winning season

    Relive Carlos Sainz Jr.'s journey to the 2014 Formula Renault 3.5 title. Next year, the Spaniard graduates to Formula 1 with...

    FR 3.5
  28. Watson takes on expanded Toro Rosso role 12:07

    Watson takes on expanded Toro Rosso role

    Newly-appointed Toro Rosso Team Manager Graham Watson will take on an expanded role following Sporting Director Steve...

    F1
  29. Wolff: Spa clash allowed Mercedes to clear air 09:56

    Wolff: Spa clash allowed Mercedes to clear air

    Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says the clash between Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton at the Belgian Grand Prix allowed him to...

    F1
  30. Video of the Day: Hamilton on his 'greatest year' 05:17

    Video of the Day: Hamilton on his 'greatest year'

    Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton reflects on "the greatest year of my life" after winning the 2014 Formula 1 world title and...

    F1
  31. Tuesday 16 December 2014

  32. Fry, Tombazis to leave Ferrari in reshuffle 18:48

    Fry, Tombazis to leave Ferrari in reshuffle

    Ferrari has announced that Pat Fry and Nikolas Tombazis are to leave the outfit as part of a major reshuffle under new team...

    F1
  33. Stolen Red Bull trophies recovered from lake 15:57

    Stolen Red Bull trophies recovered from lake

    A number of trophies stolen in a burglary at Red Bull's Formula 1 headquarters earlier this month have been recovered from a...

    F1
  34. Ferrari secures backing from América Móvil 15:37

    Ferrari secures backing from América Móvil

    Ferrari has secured a new sponsor in the form of Mexican telecommunications giant América Móvil. The company's arrival f...

    F1
  35. Di Montezemolo: Vettel the right choice for Ferrari 13:12

    Di Montezemolo: Vettel the right choice for Ferrari

    Former Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo says the team made "the right choice" by signing Sebastian Vettel as Fernando...

    F1
  36. Vergne 'very happy' with Formula E debut 12:36

    Vergne 'very happy' with Formula E debut

    Jean-Éric Vergne says he was "very happy" with his debut weekend in Formula E, despite losing a potential victory on the...

    FE
  37. Marussia F1 assets to be auctioned 09:31

    Marussia F1 assets to be auctioned

    The collapsed Marussia Formula 1 team's various assets will begin to be auctioned off by administrators on Tuesday, the...

    F1
  38. Video of the Day: Red Bull's 2014 season review 05:04

    Video of the Day: Red Bull's 2014 season review

    Red Bull Racing takes a look back at its 2014 Formula 1 campaign in the form of a Parallax video.

    F1
  39. Monday 15 December 2014

  40. Gutiérrez named Ferrari reserve driver 14:55

    Gutiérrez named Ferrari reserve driver

    Ferrari has signed Esteban Gutiérrez as its test and reserve driver for the 2015 campaign. Gutiérrez makes the switch a...

    F1
  41. Alguersuari says Formula 1 is 'a big GP2' 14:53

    Alguersuari says Formula 1 is 'a big GP2'

    Ex-Toro Rosso driver Jaime Alguersuari says Formula 1 is now less of a challenge for rookies, describing the top echelon as...

    F1
  42. Frijns officially parts ways with Caterham 11:47

    Frijns officially parts ways with Caterham

    Robin Frijns has officially split from the Caterham Formula 1 team, with his contract expiring on Monday. The Dutchman...

    F1
  43. Video: Race Of Champions highlights 11:02

    Video: Race Of Champions highlights

    Enjoy highlights of the 2014 Race Of Champions, won by ex-Formula 1 driver David Coulthard.

    Misc
  44. Nielsen joins Williams as Sporting Manager 09:11

    Nielsen joins Williams as Sporting Manager

    Williams has appointed Steve Nielsen to a new role of Sporting Manager with immediate effect. Nielsen's switch comes just...

    F1
  45. Button insists multi-year McLaren deal necessary 08:57

    Button insists multi-year McLaren deal necessary

    Jenson Button says that a multi-year deal with McLaren was necessary due to the nature of the squad's new project with...

    F1
  46. Video of the Day: McLaren unveils 2015 line-up 05:02

    Video of the Day: McLaren unveils 2015 line-up

    Go behind-the-scenes at McLaren's Technology Centre in Woking during last week's announcement of its 2015 driver line-up.

    F1
  47. Sunday 14 December 2014

  48. Hamilton wins BBC Sports Personality of the Year 22:28

    Hamilton wins BBC Sports Personality of the Year

    World Champion Lewis Hamilton has added to his post-season accolades by winning the prestigious BBC Sports Personality of...

    F1
more news