Skip to content

Belgian GP Paddock Notebook – Sunday

Aug 24, 2014, 3:20 PM EDT

Belgium F1 GP Auto Racing AP

There was I thinking that Friday had been pretty ‘chaotic’ as Marussia played flip-flop with its drivers. Compared to what we have seen on race day in Belgium, that was nothing.

It has been a quite remarkable day at the paddock. What started out as a disaster for Mercedes at Les Combes on lap two of the Belgian Grand Prix has now turned into a full blown civil war. Frankly, this latest fall-out between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg might just be irreparable.

Anyhow, let’s deal with the race winner first: congratulations to Daniel Ricciardo for claiming his third career F1 victory. Yet again, he was there to pick up the pieces when Mercedes faltered. The Australian’s win gives a good news story to an otherwise tenuous weekend.

Here’s the final round-up from the paddock at Spa-Francorchamps.

NEWS FROM THE PADDOCK

THOUGHTS FROM THE TRACK

What a day. As Rosberg extends his championship lead to 29 points, Mercedes stands on the brink of civil war – and it’s hard to see a way back now.

When Hamilton said after the Monaco Grand Prix that he and Rosberg were no longer friends, it was personal; it didn’t involve the team. It was soon patched up with a cute throwback picture on Twitter that made it all better.

This time around? There is no way back. Hamilton and Rosberg are now bitter rivals embroiled in a tight title fight, and boy is it shaping up to be a classic.

Let’s deal with the facts here. Firstly, Nico Rosberg hit Lewis Hamilton on lap two of the Belgian GP, ruining the Briton’s race. Rosberg went on to finish in second place, extending his lead at the top of the drivers’ standings to 29 points. His move was immediately condemned by the powers at Mercedes, but general paddock consensus was that it was a “racing incident”.

Then, a few hours after the race, Lewis Hamilton confirmed to the media that Rosberg had said he had the chance to pull out of the move and avoid the accident, but chose not to. This was then verified by the team’s management and communications department. Rosberg insists that he did nothing wrong, but frankly, it is impossible to lay blame with Hamilton here. Rosberg is 100% at fault. He was never going to find a way past around the outside of the corner. Vettel had tried the lap before, only to take to the run off area, just as Nico should have done.

This incident does put into doubt the assumption that his ‘mistake’ in qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix was indeed that: a mistake. Rosberg was asked in the press conference about the notion of his move today being deliberate; he brushed it off, why of course not. Now we know that it was – to some extent, which I’ll come to – it puts his character into question.

Another fact is that Rosberg did not go into this race planning to hit Hamilton. He went into it stewing over his defeat in Hungary, yes, but then he said on Thursday that he had “moved on”. Rosberg has traditionally been a very cool and collected character. Today, we saw a very different side to him, someone who was feeling the pressure of a fight for the world championship. Hamilton is winning the mind games here.

Nico therefore went into this race not planning to hit Hamilton, but he was not willing to be as subservient to the Briton as maybe he has been in the past. He was not willing to pull out of a move. A month ago, he would have gone on at Les Combes just like Vettel did. This time, he didn’t, and the consequences are clear for everyone to see.

It will be interesting to see how things go at Monza. Rosberg seemed to be the good guy in the past, but now that has changed. He is the villain in this case – will this play on his mind?

Hamilton may leave Spa with a huge points deficit to make up, but Rosberg has his reputation to save in two weeks’ time.

Latest Posts
  1. WATCH LIVE: NASCAR AMERICA has the latest on Tony Stewart saga at 5 p.m. ET

    Sep 16, 2014, 4:45 PM EDT

    Federated Auto Parts 400 - Practice Getty Images

    Also coming up today: What’s more important in winning a Sprint Cup title: Experience or Drive?; rookie phenom Kyle Larson on dealing with the hype; NASCAR pioneer Wendell Scott to be honored next month.

  2. IndyCar’s Mikhail Aleshin released from Indianapolis hospital

    Sep 16, 2014, 4:00 PM EDT

    Mikhail Aleshin AP

    The Russian driver will continue his rehab work in Indy after sustaining multiple injuries in a practice crash on Aug. 29 at Auto Club Speedway.

  3. DA will submit evidence from Tony Stewart/Kevin Ward Jr. case to grand jury

    Sep 16, 2014, 3:00 PM EDT

    Tony Stewart AP

    The three-time NASCAR champion responds that he intends to “continue to provide my full cooperation.”

  4. OAK set for three of last four FIA WEC races

    Sep 16, 2014, 2:45 PM EDT

    Le Mans 24h Race Getty Images

    OAK Racing to return to FIA WEC for three of last four races.

  5. NASCAR: Hall of Fame inductee Wendell Scott to be honored next month at M’Ville

    Sep 16, 2014, 2:30 PM EDT

    Credit: Front Row Motorsports Credit: Front Row Motorsports

    Sprint Cup driver David Ragan and Camping World Truck Series driver Darrell Wallace Jr. will sport special paint schemes honoring Scott during the Martinsville Chase weekend in October.

  6. PWC: 25th Anniversary and Season Recap Videos (VIDEO)

    Sep 16, 2014, 2:00 PM EDT

    WC

    Videos from the Pirelli World Challenge championship celebration highlight 25 years, and the 25th year (2014) of the championship.

  7. Everything you need to know about the 2014 Chasers at New Hampshire

    Sep 16, 2014, 1:30 PM EDT

    SYLVANIA 300 Getty Images

    All the notes and numbers to keep in mind as NASCAR enters the second race of the Chase’s Challenger Round.

  8. Australian GP may have a new contract, but it also posted a record loss in 2014

    Sep 16, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT

    Australian F1 Grand Prix - Practice Getty Images

    Reports from Australia peg the season-opening race having posted an A$60 million loss in 2014.

  9. IndyCar: CFH to make major team announcement on Wednesday

    Sep 16, 2014, 12:25 PM EDT

    CFHlogo

    CFH Racing reveals logo and will reveal a part of its 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series program on Wednesday.

  10. Big weekend for Chevy upcoming in Austin

    Sep 16, 2014, 12:00 PM EDT

    CorvetteCOTApre Getty Images

    Corvette Racing and Corvette DP teams look for Austin win encore this weekend.

  11. Renault’s Taffin: Fuel consumption could well be an issue in Singapore

    Sep 16, 2014, 11:15 AM EDT

    Lotus F1 Formula One driver Grosjean drives in the pit lane during the qualifying session of the Singapore Formula One Grand Prix Getty Images

    Expect the 100 kg fuel limit to enter the equation this weekend, says Renault’s head of track operations.

  12. Perez seeks to continue Singapore points streak this weekend

    Sep 16, 2014, 10:28 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Great Britain Getty Images

    Sergio Perez looks to go 4-4 in Singapore scores.

  13. Michael Waltrip premieres to less than critical acclaim on “Dancing with the Stars”

    Sep 16, 2014, 9:52 AM EDT

    MWslaterdance1 Getty Images

    Michael Waltrip and partner Emma Slater look to avoid being eliminated after first dance effort on DWTS.

  14. Tony Stewart awaits District Attorney’s review of Kevin Ward Jr. case

    Sep 15, 2014, 10:54 PM EDT

    tony stewart chicagoland 2014 Getty Images

    Tony Stewart is expected to learn later this week if he will not face charges or may be indicted in last month’s Kevin Ward Jr. tragedy. A noted attorney with extensive experience in death and catastrophic injury cases explained to MST the legal process in Stewart’s case.

  15. NASCAR America (video): Aric Almirola needs a good showing in New Hampshire

    Sep 15, 2014, 9:36 PM EDT

    Aric Almirola Chicagoland 2014 Getty Images

    In his first-ever race in the Chase for the Sprint Cup, Aric Almirola suffered a blown engine at Chicagoland Speedway for the first time in his three-year career.

  16. NASCAR America (video): Dale Jr., Jimmie Johnson struggle in first Chase race

    Sep 15, 2014, 9:31 PM EDT

    jj dale jr. 2014 Getty Images

    On Monday’s edition of NASCAR America, we recap how Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmie Johnson struggled in the first race of the Chase.

  17. WATCH LIVE: NASCAR America at 7 pm ET — Chase race recap, RPM’s heartbreak, Ganassi’s drivers

    Sep 15, 2014, 4:01 PM EDT

    140915-NASCAR-AMERICA

    Monday’s edition of NASCAR America recaps all the highs and lows of Sunday’s opening race in the Chase for the Sprint Cup, from Brad Keselowski’s win to Aric Almirola’s heartbreak.

  18. Great piece from Indy Star: John Paul Jr. keeps fighting

    Sep 15, 2014, 3:00 PM EDT

    Indycar logo

    John Paul Jr. keeps fighting despite Huntington’s disease.

  19. Parker Kligerman weighs in on Indy Lights test (VIDEO)

    Sep 15, 2014, 2:00 PM EDT

    kligerman Getty Images

    Parker Kligerman recaps his Indy Lights test at IMS.

  20. After heartbreaking Chase opener, Almirola already in must-win situation

    Sep 15, 2014, 1:55 PM EDT

    Almirola Chicagoland 2014 Getty Images

    Aric Almirola came into Sunday’s opening race of the Chase for the Sprint Cup with high hopes of being perhaps the Cinderella of the playoffs, someone who would fly under the radar all the way to the final four season-ending battle at Homestead.

Top 10 NASCAR Driver Searches
  1. J. Johnson (1569)
  2. K. Busch (1527)
  3. J. Gordon (1325)
  4. J. Logano (1239)
  5. B. Keselowski (1222)