Belgian Grand Prix 2014 – Recap

Australian Daniel Ricciardo proved that he’s the real deal after winning the 2014 Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps. This is his third win for this year after winning the Canadian and Hungarian Grands Prix earlier. The overall leader for the drivers’ championship this year, Nico Rosberg came in second followed by Valterri Bottas of Williams Renault who finished third.

The Qualifiers

The rivalry between teammates Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton was very obvious even during the qualifying race. Both drivers talked only about their own strategies on how they can win the race. Hamilton once again encountered a brake problem during the qualifiers which caused him to finish it slower than Rosberg’s time. Hamilton later said that he wasn’t totally disappointed to start the race at second and according to him this might even be a blessing in disguise considering the layout of the track at Spa. Overall, the qualifying race proceeded well without any accidents.

Racing Conditions

The Belgian Grand Prix is held on the Spa-Francorchamps, one of the oldest racetracks used in F1 racing. This track originally had a length of about 14 kilometers but in 1979 it was redesigned and shortened to 7.001 kilometers. There are 19 turns in this circuit and also features a long straight to the Eau Rouge section of the track. There are a total of 44 laps in this race and covers a distance of 308.052 kilometers. This race is considered as one of the fastest races in the F1 calendar with the drivers’ going full throttle for about 70% to finish a lap. The weather for this year’s race is sunny which is perfect for racing.

The Grid

1. Nico Rosberg 2. Lewis Hamilton 3. Sebastian Vettel 4. Fernando Alonso 5. Daniel Ricciardo 6. Valtteri Bottas 7. Kevin Magnussen 8. Kimi Raikkonen 9. Felipe Massa 10. Jenson Button 11. Daniil Kvyat 12. Jean-Eric Vergne 13. Sergio Perez 14. Adrian Sutil 15. Romain Grosjean 16. Jules Bianchi 17. Pastor Maldonado 18. Nico Hulkenberg 19. Max Chilton 20. Esteban Gutierrez 21. Andre Lotterer 22. Marcus Ericsson

The Race

Lewis Hamilton made his intentions clear at the start of the race. On lap 1, he overtakes teammate Nico Rosberg on the first corner. But on lap 2, he was forced to give up the lead after his car was punctured after it was hit by Rosberg when he overtook him during lap 1. Hamilton was fuming about it. Meanwhile, Rosberg’s car lost its front because of the incident. Was this an accident or not? The rivalry between the two is really becoming hotter as the season progresses.

But while all this drama was unfolding, Daniel Ricciardo who started in fifth is now on second place after 6 laps. Valterri Bottas also made some big progress as he advanced to third spot after 8 laps. On lap 9, Ricciardo didn’t waste his opportunity to grab the lead from Rosberg after the German made a pit stop. On lap 10, Ricciardo did the fastest lap in the race and on lap 11 he extended his lead after Vettel (who’s now second) made a pit stop.

On lap 15, the leaders are as follows: Ricciardo, Raikkonen, Vettel, Rosberg and Bottas. Hamilton is now in 16th place. On lap 16, Andre Lotterer, a debutante of Caterham and Pastor Maldonado of Lotus F1 are now out of the race after their cars encountered mechanical problems. On lap 21, Hamilton who’s currently on 17th place effectively hoisted the white flag for this race. His car was damaged from the earlier incident with teammate and rival Nico Rosberg. He would officially retire from the race on lap 39.

Ricciardo still leads the race on lap 32. He’s followed by Rosberg and Raikonnen. On lap 34, Romain Grosjean of Lotus F1 retired from the race. Ricciardo takes a commanding 26 lead on the 36th lap. On lap 38, Rosberg narrows the gap to 15.4 seconds. Raikonnen is third and Bottas is on fourth positions respectively on lap 39. Rosberg goes full throttle in his chase for Ricciardo. He further narrows the gap to 10.8 seconds on lap 41 and then to just 6 seconds on lap 43. Unfortunately, his efforts weren’t enough as Ricciardo was still the first to greet the chequered flag after 44 laps. Valterri Bottas came in third.

After Thoughts

Daniel Ricciardo’s win in this race cemented his status as one of the drivers to watch for in F1 racing. His chances to win the drivers’ championship may still be a remote possibility right now but who knows, next year he might be the one who’s in the head to head competition for it. The win here gives him 25 points, so he now has 156 points. He’s still in third spot next to Lewis Hamilton who failed to grab some points in this race after he retired. Lewis who is on second place has 191 points. Nico Rosberg is now 29 points ahead of his teammate with 220 points. With seven races still to go for this year, the title for the best driver is still up for grabs. The next race will be the Italian Grand Prix on September 7.