This is an open discussion, summary, and statistics listing following the 2014 Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps. Obvious spoilers below...
The race began with Nico on pole, Lewis alongside, and the two Red Bulls in close observation from the row behind. Lewis got off to a great start, taking Nico into turn 1, as did Vettel who split the Mercedes W05s.
Rosberg eventually got around the 4-time champion, now setting his sights on his teammate. The battle unfolded at Le Combes, Nico gaining on the back straight and planning to overtake Lewis and regain his grid position.
What happened next has turned into quite the scandal. Some say it was just a racing incident, but others, including the Mercedes AMG team boss Toro Wolff, are blaming Nico wholly.
Nico Rosberg aims to take his teammate's W05 into Les Combes, Lewis keeping an eye and leaving room for Nico. They get through the first corner unscathed, but Nico then clips Lewis' left rear into the second corner, deflating the Brit's tire to the point of crippling home and ripping Nico's own front wing endplate off.
See for yourself:
This incident allowed the field to close up on the usual Mercedes lead.
Whatever your take on the incident, fault of Nico's or racing incident, it is no doubt is a great spectacle for Rosberg and a harrowing toll on Lewis' aim for his second world drivers' championship.
That incident set up the rest of the race to be a blood battle for the podium and potential victory that would undoubtedly be close to escape from the Mercedes clutches.
Daniel Ricciardo began his trek through to the front, overtaking his sideways teammate, Sebastian Vettel, and the ailing W05 of Nico Rosberg in the process.
Lewis Hamilton got his W05 back to the pits relatively safely, but was not seen again the points paying positions and ultimately decided to retire the car.
The laps winded away, but a battle was brewing for the finish between Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Rosberg, the latter who had gotten his W05 back onto fresh softer tires with around 10 laps to go.
The delta between the Aussie and the German wound down from 20 odd seconds with ten laps to go, to 10 odd seconds with 5 laps to go. The race looked as though it would turn into a nail-bitter for the last lap, perhaps even the last corner, but alas Nico's tires did not average him the over 2 seconds a lap advantage he needed to pull off a win, and Daniel Ricciardo drove his RB10 to a brilliant victory, safe from Nico by 3.3 seconds.
Unfortunately I can't get to every pass or recount every corner, so I'll leave that in your safe hands. What great stories did you see play themselves out at Spa-Francorchamps this weekend?
|1.||Red Bull||Daniel Ricciardo||1:24:36.556||5|
|2.||Mercedes||Nico Rosberg||+3.3 secs||1|
|3.||Williams||Valtteri Bottas||+28.0 secs||6|
|4.||Ferrari||Kimi Raikkonen||+36.8 secs||8|
|5.||Red Bull||Sebastian Vettel||+52.1 secs||3|
|6.||McLaren||Kevin Magnussen||+54.2 secs||7|
|7.||McLaren||Jenson Button||+54.5 secs||10|
|8.||Ferrari||Feranando Alonso||+61.1 secs||4|
|9.||Force India||Sergio Perez||+64.2 secs||13|
|10.||Toro Rosso||Daniil Kvyat||+65.3 secs||11|
|11.||Force India||Nico Hulkenberg||+65.6 secs||18|
|12.||Toro Rosso||Jean-Eric Vergne||+71.9 secs||12|
|13.||Williams||Felipe Massa||+75.9 secs||9|
|14.||Sauber||Adrian Sutil||+82.4 secs||14|
|15.||Sauber||Esteben Gutierrez||+90.8 secs||20|
|16.||Marussia||Max Chilton||+1 Lap||19|
|17.||Caterham||Marcus Ericsson||+1 Lap||22|
|18.||Marussia||Jules Bianchi||+5 Laps||16|
|19.||Mercedes||Lewis Hamilton||Retired Lap 38||2|
|20.||Lotus||Romain Grosjean||Retired Lap 33||15|
|21.||Lotus||Pastor Maldonado||Retired Lap 1||17|
|22.||Caterham||Andre Lotterer||Retired Lap 1||21|
|3.||Daniel Ricciardo||Australian||Red Bull||156|
|6.||Sebastian Vettel||German||Red Bull||98|
|7.||Nico Hulkenberg||German||Force India||69|
|12.||Sergio Perez||Mexican||Force India||31|
|13.||Jean-Eric Vergne||French||Toro Rosso||11|
|15.||Daniil Kvyat||Russian||Toro Rosso||7|