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 19 November 2017

  2. Video: WEC Bahrain 6 Hours highlights 11:38

    Video: WEC Bahrain 6 Hours highlights

    Watch race highlights from the 6 Hours of Bahrain, the final round of the 2017 World Endurance Championship, as several class…

    WEC
  3. 11:13

    Gallery: Alonso participates in LMP1 test

    WEC
  4. Ticktum 'couldn't believe' Macau outcome 10:55

    Ticktum 'couldn't believe' Macau outcome

    Daniel Ticktum revelled in victory at the Macau Grand Prix as he surged forwards from eighth on the grid to triumph at the…

    F3
  5. Sainz Jr. 'starting to feel at home' with Renault 10:26

    Sainz Jr. 'starting to feel at home' with Renault

    Carlos Sainz Jr. says he is beginning to become accustomed to his new surroundings at Renault, following his recent move from…

    F1
  6. Alonso gets first taste of LMP1 in Bahrain 09:45

    Alonso gets first taste of LMP1 in Bahrain

    Fernando Alonso completed his first laps in Toyota's LMP1 car during the World Endurance Championship's rookie test at the…

    LM
  7. 08:22

    Latest F3 photos: Sunday at Macau

    F3
  8. 08:20

    In full: Macau Grand Prix race results

    F3
  9. Ticktum triumphs at crazy Macau Grand Prix 08:19

    Ticktum triumphs at crazy Macau Grand Prix

    Red Bull-backed Daniel Ticktum claimed an incredible victory at the Macau Grand Prix, pulling off a double move for third…

    F3
  10. Video: World's Fastest Gamer - Day 8 05:42

    Video: World's Fastest Gamer - Day 8

    Catch up with the latest from McLaren's World's Fastest Gamer contest as the three finalists visit Carlin's simulator before the…

    F1
  11. Saturday 18 November 2017

  12. Toyota confirms Alonso LMP1 rookie test 20:57

    Toyota confirms Alonso LMP1 rookie test

    Toyota has confirmed that Fernando Alonso will participate for the team in the World Endurance Championship's rookie test at the…

    F1
  13. Video: Macau Grand Prix - Saturday highlights 15:38

    Video: Macau Grand Prix - Saturday highlights

    Watch highlights from Saturday's action at the Macau Grand Prix, which featured victory for Callum Ilott in the F3 qualification…

    Misc
  14. Ricciardo sees 'decent chance' to win finale 15:02

    Ricciardo sees 'decent chance' to win finale

    Daniel Ricciardo believes Red Bull holds a "decent chance" of taking victory at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as he seeks to close…

    F1
  15. Video: Rosberg attends the BAMBI awards 13:15

    Video: Rosberg attends the BAMBI awards

    In his latest vlog, follow 2016 Formula 1 champion Nico Rosberg as he and wife Vivian attend the annual BAMBI awards in the…

    F1
  16. Patrick announces 2018 Indy 500 entry 12:58

    Patrick announces 2018 Indy 500 entry

    Danica Patrick says she will bring her competitive motorsport career to a close next May, after announcing her intentions to…

    Indy
  17. Binder beats Fittipaldi in V8 3.5 swansong 11:52

    Binder beats Fittipaldi in V8 3.5 swansong

    René Binder fended off team-mate and 2017 champion Pietro Fittipaldi to triumph in the last-ever Formula V8 3.5 Series race in…

    World Series
  18. Magnussen: 2017 my 'most fun' season 10:44

    Magnussen: 2017 my 'most fun' season

    Kevin Magnussen has labelled 2017 as his "most fun" season of competition, as he prepares to bring his first year with Haas to a…

    F1
  19. Video: Ilott discusses Macau qualifying win 09:09

    Video: Ilott discusses Macau qualifying win

    Ferrari-backed Callum Ilott talks through his victory at the Macau qualification race on Saturday, having passed erstwhile…

    F3
  20. 09:06

    Latest F3 photos: Saturday at Macau

    F3
  21. Video: World's Fastest Gamer finals - Day 7 05:58

    Video: World's Fastest Gamer finals - Day 7

    Catch up with the latest from McLaren's 'World's Fastest Gamer' programme, as the finalists complete a gruelling Le Mans 24…

    F1
  22. Ilott takes victory in Macau qualification race 02:58

    Ilott takes victory in Macau qualification race

    Ferrari-backed Callum Ilott claimed a commanding victory in the Macau Grand Prix qualification race after overhauling pole…

    F3
  23. Friday 17 November 2017

  24. 17:02

    Follow us on Instagram for the best photos!

    F1
  25. Video: Verstappen meets new Aston Vantage 16:12

    Video: Verstappen meets new Aston Vantage

    Red Bull driver Max Verstappen recently joined Aston Martin’s Dynamics Chief Engineer Matt Becker for a taste of how the new…

    F1
  26. Fittipaldi clinches title, Chaves wins on debut 16:03

    Fittipaldi clinches title, Chaves wins on debut

    Pietro Fittipaldi clinched the Formula V8 3.5 title as he followed home impressive debutant Henrique Chaves in the first race of…

    World Series
  27. Vettel still aiming for Ferrari 'domination' 14:38

    Vettel still aiming for Ferrari 'domination'

    Sebastian Vettel has described the 2017 season as "very positive" in Ferrari's push to return to title-winning ways, while…

    F1
  28. Video: Formula E testing behind-the-scenes 14:02

    Video: Formula E testing behind-the-scenes

    Formula E cameras went behind-the-scenes during pre-season testing in Valencia to find out what drivers could say about their…

    FE
  29. Formula V8 3.5 to end after 2017 season 12:02

    Formula V8 3.5 to end after 2017 season

    Formula V8 3.5 will end after the 2017 season, organisers have announced, citing the "continuous and alarming drop" in entries…

    World Series
  30. Video: Schumacher's 2001 title-winning Ferrari 10:37

    Video: Schumacher's 2001 title-winning Ferrari

    Take a closer look at Michael Schumacher's 2001 title-winning Ferrari, which sold for over $7.5 million at an auction in New…

    F1
  31. Schumacher F2001 sells for over $7.5 million 10:33

    Schumacher F2001 sells for over $7.5 million

    Michael Schumacher's 2001 title-winning Ferrari has sold for over $7.5 million at an auction in New York. Schumacher's F2001…

    F1
  32. Video: World's Fastest Gamer finals - Day 6 09:44

    Video: World's Fastest Gamer finals - Day 6

    A day of firsts for the World's Fastest Gamer final six, as they spend the morning in a McLaren simulator, before tackling the…

    F1
  33. 09:12

    In full: Macau Grand Prix qualifying results

    F3
  34. Eriksson beats Norris to Macau GP pole 09:11

    Eriksson beats Norris to Macau GP pole

    Joel Eriksson beat Lando Norris to pole position for the Macau Grand Prix qualifying race, as the European Formula 3 title…

    F3
  35. Video: Ryan Hunter-Reay delivers turkeys 06:00

    Video: Ryan Hunter-Reay delivers turkeys

    IndyCar driver Ryan Hunter-Reay helps to deliver turkeys to those in need during the holiday season, in collaboration with DHL…

    Indy
  36. Foyt Racing signs Leist to partner Kanaan 02:26

    Foyt Racing signs Leist to partner Kanaan

    Indy Lights race winner Matheus Leist will make the step up to IndyCar in 2018, joining fellow Brazilian Tony Kanaan at A. J.…

    Indy
  37. Thursday 16 November 2017

  38. Video: World's Fastest Gamer finals - Day 5 16:24

    Video: World's Fastest Gamer finals - Day 5

    Day five of the World's Fastest Gamer finals action produced mixed feelings for competitors as they spent the morning gaming and…

    F1
  39. 15:57

    Overview: 2018 Formula 1 driver line-ups

    F1
  40. Toro Rosso confirms Gasly, Hartley for 2018 15:55

    Toro Rosso confirms Gasly, Hartley for 2018

    Toro Rosso has announced that Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley will continue with the team into next year, after handing both of…

    F1
  41. Suzuki prioritising engine after test setback 13:10

    Suzuki prioritising engine after test setback

    Suzuki says finalising its 2018 engine is its "most urgent" task after suffering a setback in its preparations when both Andrea…

    MotoGP
  42. Video: Leclerc and Fuoco's Emoji Challenge 11:58

    Video: Leclerc and Fuoco's Emoji Challenge

    Prema's Formula 2 drivers Charles Leclerc and Antonio Fuoco try to guess the motorsport related words in this emoji challenge!

    F2
  43. Norris takes provisional Macau GP pole 10:07

    Norris takes provisional Macau GP pole

    McLaren protégé Lando Norris claimed provisional pole for this weekend's Macau Grand Prix, lapping almost a second quicker…

    F3
  44. Carlin, Charouz, Fortec join expanded F2 grid 09:47

    Carlin, Charouz, Fortec join expanded F2 grid

    Formula 2 organisers have announced that Carlin, Charouz and Fortec will join the field in 2018, with an entry left open for a…

    F2
more news