Skip to content

Ricciardo pounces to win at Spa as Rosberg and Hamilton come to blows

Aug 24, 2014, 9:33 AM EST

Daniel Ricciardo AP

SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS, BELGIUM – Daniel Ricciardo has claimed victory in today’s Belgian Grand Prix after capitalizing on a clash between Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg in the early stages of the race.

The two championship rivals touched on the second lap, leaving Hamilton with a puncture that ultimately forced him to retire from the race. Rosberg tried to catch Ricciardo, but could not deny the Australian driver from claiming his third win of the season at a track which Red Bull expected to struggle.

The start saw Hamilton seize the lead from Rosberg after making a great getaway from second place on the grid, but the Briton was soon coming under pressure from Sebastian Vettel in the Red Bull. The defending world champion tried to pass him around the outside at Les Combes, only to run wide and allow Rosberg back up into second place.

As the German driver closed on Hamilton, the race leader defended from him heading along the Kemmel Straight, only for the Mercedes teammates to touch. Rosberg’s front wing popped Hamilton’s left-rear tire, leaving the Briton with a puncture and costing the championship leader his endplate. He did manage to take the lead, though, but Hamilton’s race was already looking bleak as he pitted for repairs. He emerged down in 19th place and with a lot of work to do.

Meanwhile, Daniel Ricciardo had passed both Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel to rise to second position behind Rosberg, and was soon applying pressure to the German driver.

Rosberg soon had to pit for repairs and a fresh set of tires, but his race took a strange turn when a piece of debris got caught on the front aerial of his car. It was soon removed, and he set about recovering the positions he had lost.

Bottas was now on a charge, passing Alonso to move up into third for Williams. The Finn moved into the lead of the race when both of the Red Bull drivers pitted from the top two positions. An early stop for Kimi Raikkonen allowed him to move up into second place behind Ricciardo once all of the front-runners had made their first pit stop.

Vettel came under pressure for third place from Rosberg and Bottas, with the Mercedes driver taking the harder tire on at his pit stop. However, Rosberg could not find a way past Vettel, and eventually lost a position to Bottas after locking up under braking at the final corner.

In order to avoid losing time behind the duelling duo, Rosberg took to the pits a couple of laps after his teammate. However, with Hamilton down in P17, the Briton’s hopes of cutting the gap at the top of the drivers’ standings looked slim.

Vettel moved back up to second place for Red Bull when Kimi Raikkonen took to the pits for the second time. In the sister Ferrari, Fernando Alonso was having less luck, losing out to McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen for fifth place before dropping behind Rosberg. The Mercedes driver was now ahead of Vettel after both had made their second stop.

Rosberg continued to rally, moving up into the top three behind Ricciardo and Bottas, who were both yet to make their second stop. The German was given the call to push in order to force his rivals into pitting, but when Ricciardo did pit, he emerged ahead of Rosberg on track. With fresher tires, the advantage lay with the Australian with 16 laps to go at Spa, and he re-took the lead when Bottas pitted, coming back out in sixth place.

The Finn soon looked to recover the positions he had lost, doing what Rosberg couldn’t by passing Vettel around the outside of Les Combes. When Rosberg pitted for a third time, he entered battle with Bottas, and was unable to keep him back heading down the Kemmel straight. With fresher tires though, the German was soon able to get back ahead of Bottas before passing Raikkonen to move into second place once again. This left the two Finns to scrap over the final podium position, with Bottas eventually winning out thanks to his fresher set of tires.

With five laps remaining, a frustrated Lewis Hamilton pitted from sixteenth position to retire from the Belgian Grand Prix. After coming into this weekend with so much hope and belief, this DNF will come as a bitter blow to the Briton’s title hopes.

Mercedes told its sole remaining driver, Rosberg, to put the hammer down with seven laps to go, and he responded by posting the fastest lap of the race. He continued to carve into Ricciardo’s lead at a rate of over two seconds per lap, setting the stage for a close finish at Spa.

However, it simply wasn’t enough. After seeing the Mercedes drivers falter, Daniel Ricciardo was once again the man to pick up the pieces. He crossed the line with an advantage of 3.3 seconds at the flag to secure his third win of the season.

Bottas completed the podium for Williams ahead of Kimi Raikkonen, who secured his best result of the year at his favorite circuit. Sebastian Vettel finished fifth for Red Bull ahead of the McLaren duo of Kevin Magnussen and Jenson Button, with Fernando Alonso settling for P8 in the end. Sergio Perez and Daniil Kvyat completed the points.

As Mercedes’ title fight boiled over, Ricciardo once again made the most of it. His victory sees him strengthen his grip on third place in the drivers’ standings ahead of Alonso and Bottas.

At the very top, it is Rosberg who will be the happiest man with a 29-point lead, even if he has some tough questions to answer this evening at Mercedes.

Latest Posts
  1. Blast from the past: British video shows what NHRA was like back in 1990

    Dec 17, 2014, 7:23 PM EST

    (AP Photo/NHRA) AP

    Do you like watching old racing videos and programs from the past? If so, you’re going to love this BBC video about NHRA drag racing from back in 1990.

  2. NASCAR America: Kurt Busch testifies in protection order hearing (video)

    Dec 17, 2014, 6:38 PM EST

    (AP Photo/Terry Renna, File) AP

    Kurt Busch got the chance to tell his side in the legal battle with former girlfriend Patricia Driscoll. We break down what Kurt said in court on NASCAR America.

  3. Kurt Busch calls ex-girlfriend’s allegations a ‘fabrication’

    Dec 17, 2014, 5:16 PM EST

    Kurt Busch and Patricia Driscoll in happier times at the 2013 NASCAR Awards Banquet in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Eric Jamison, File) AP

    Kurt Busch testified Wednesday he asked former girlfriend Patricia Driscoll numerous times to leave his motorcoach on the night she claims the NASCAR driver struck her head several times.

  4. Daytona Rising begins race to finish line of Phase 1

    Dec 17, 2014, 3:03 PM EST

    daytona rising logo

    The race to the finish line of Phase 1 of Daytona Rising at Daytona International Speedway kicked into high gear Wednesday, with a record 1,002 construction workers on-site.

  5. Insight: Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup’s presence in F1, and America

    Dec 17, 2014, 3:00 PM EST

    Photo: Porsche Photo: Porsche

    Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup’s status grew in 2014. We caught up with the series manager during Austin F1 weekend.

  6. Expect IndyCar’s Hinch, RHR in Rolex 24 rides

    Dec 17, 2014, 1:30 PM EST

    James Hinchcliffe, Ryan Hunter-Reay AP

    At least two IndyCar stars will join the Rolex 24 lineup, but teams are TBD.

  7. Ben Kennedy, great-grandson of NASCAR founder Bill France Sr., signs with Red Horse Racing

    Dec 17, 2014, 1:23 PM EST

    (Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images) Getty Images

    Ben Kennedy, the great-grandson of NASCAR founder Bill France Sr. and 2014 Camping World Truck Series Rookie of the Year, will race for Red Horse Racing in 2015, the team announced Wednesday.

  8. NASCAR: Top drivers of 2014 – No. 14 Greg Biffle

    Dec 17, 2014, 12:46 PM EST

    (David Becker/Getty Images) Getty Images

    As we continue our series on the top 30 drivers of the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, next up is series veteran Greg Biffle.

  9. IndyCar: Hinchcliffe completes “get to know you” first test with SPM

    Dec 17, 2014, 12:10 PM EST

    Road America Getty Images

    James Hinchcliffe tests Tuesday at Sebring with Schmidt Peterson.

  10. Top NASCAR stories of 2014: No. 14 – Matt Crafton doubles up in the Trucks

    Dec 17, 2014, 12:00 PM EST

    NASCAR Nationwide and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Banquet Getty Images

    Crafton made history in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series this year as its first back-to-back champion.

  11. NASCAR: Top drivers of 2014 – No. 13 A.J. Allmendinger

    Dec 17, 2014, 11:00 AM EST

    GoBowling.com 400 - Practice Getty Images

    Allmendinger propelled his single-car team into the Chase with a win at Watkins Glen.

  12. IndyCar: Coyne makes first offseason announcement with new shock engineer

    Dec 17, 2014, 9:00 AM EST

    Shell Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston - Day 3 Getty Images

    No drivers, but DCR’s shock/damper program should be good in 2015.

  13. NASCAR AMERICA: The end is coming for the Sprint era (VIDEO)

    Dec 16, 2014, 8:04 PM EST

    Ford EcoBoost 400 Getty Images

    It’s not an ideal situation for NASCAR, but as the NASCAR AMERICA gang explained today, it’s not a hopeless one either.

  14. Kurt Busch’s ex-girlfriend testifies in protection order hearing

    Dec 16, 2014, 7:14 PM EST

    kurt busch sonoma Getty Images

    Patricia Driscoll broke down on the stand during the hearing in Dover, Delaware.

  15. F1: Gene Haas among possible bidders at ongoing Marussia auction

    Dec 16, 2014, 5:30 PM EST

    Gene Haas Formula One Press Conference Getty Images

    A two-day website auction on the assets of the former F1 outfit began today.

  16. WATCH LIVE: NASCAR AMERICA breaks down Sprint’s decision at 5 p.m. ET

    Dec 16, 2014, 4:30 PM EST

    Food City 500 Practice Getty Images

    Coming up: What will Sprint’s departure in 2016 mean for NASCAR’s future?; Steve Letarte revisits his final race as a crew chief; more on the health of Brian Vickers; the inspiring story of the NHRA’s Jay Blake.

Video from NASCAR America

Can next sponsor invigorate NASCAR?
Top 10 NASCAR Driver Searches
  1. K. Busch (2062)
  2. D. Suarez (1992)
  3. M. Tifft (1739)
  4. J. Boston (1647)
  5. A. Self (1556)
  1. K. Larson (1515)
  2. D. Kwasniewski (1408)
  3. S. Heckert (1342)
  4. J. Haley (1198)
  5. C. Coughlin (1197)