2014 Qualifying & Race Reports: Rounds 7-12
|Choose a Race Report Below|
|Round 7: Canada - Montréal|
|Round 8: Austria - Spielberg|
|Round 9: Great Britain - Silverstone|
|Round 10: Germany - Hockenheim|
|Round 11: Hungary - Budapest|
|Round 12: Belgium - Spa-Francorchamps|
Round 7: Canada - Montréal
This year, Pirelli brought the Soft (Prime) and Super Soft (Option) tyres. It's a 70 lap race and the race start is 1900 local time. Sebastian Vettel in his Red Bull was last years winner beating Fernando Alonso in his Ferrari.
Here we are in Canada, Lewis' playground. Could anybody take pole off him this year? In Q1, Massa, Bottas and Rosberg were the first out of pit-lane. It was Bottas who set the first lap time, a 1:17.696, a few thousandths quicker than his team-mate Massa. Rosberg was next to cross the line as he set a 1:16.690. Hamilton's first flying lap was great but on his second he went fastest, one and a half tenths quicker than Rosberg. Button put in a great lap as he went 5th quickest. Maldonado's terrible run continued as he parked his Lotus down the escape road at the turn three. Ericsson in his Caterham caused a red-flag with seconds remaining as he made a rookie error and put a wheel on the kerb. Gutiérrez didn't even start in qualifying so five drivers were out, they were: Maldonado, Chilton, Bianchi, Kobayashi and Ericsson.
In Q2, Sutil was the first car on-track along with Hülkenberg and Bottas. Massa set the early pace, a 1:15.773, one tenth quicker than his team-mate. Raikkonen kissed the wall at turn four but no damage was done to his car. Rosberg set the 2nd fastest time on the super-soft tyre. Massa was still ahead however Hamilton couldn't beat his time and went 3rd. Magnussen in his McLaren went 9th quickest pushing Vergne into the drop zone. Vettel left it late but eventually went 5th quickest and secured his place in the top-ten shootout. Out of Q2 were: Hülkenberg, Magnussen, Perez, Grosjean, Kvyat and Sutil.
So, the Williams' looked great here but it would take something special to beat Mercedes'. In Q3, Bottas was the first out on-track. He set a time of 1:15.550 and went fastest. Rosberg crossed the line and went quickest, a fraction quicker than Hamilton. Massa slotted into 4th with Vettel in 5th and Alonso in 6th after their first runs. Räikkönen only had one flying lap but it was only quick enough for 8th on the grid. Alonso was one place ahead of him in 7th. After a short time in the garage, both Mercedes' drivers went out for one more flying lap. Rosberg went even quicker, Hamilton meanwhile set the fastest first sector but had a messy middle sector, it was Rosberg who took pole position here in Canada! Hamilton was just 0.079 off Rosberg's time. Vettel nailed his final lap and went 3rd on the grid with Ricciardo in 6th.
Lights out in Canada!! Hamilton got a great start but couldn't overtake Rosberg into the first corner. Hamilton ran wide which allowed Vettel to take 2nd place. After a great display in Monaco, Bianchi ended up in the wall but also hit his team-mate Chilton on the first lap, both Marussia drivers' were out of the Grand Prix. As a result, the safety car had to come out so the marshals could clear all the debris. On lap eight, the race resumed with Rosberg out in front with Vettel behind him. By lap 10, Rosberg had a 1.3 second lead over Vettel. Hamilton though got a great exit from the hairpin and overtook Vettel to climb a place.
On lap 12, Grosjean made an early pit-stop and put on a set of super-soft tyres. On lap 15, Bottas and Button both pitted and rejoined outside the top 10. Maldonado's torrid season continued as he had to retire on lap 22. Hamilton continued to hunt Rosberg down after putting on a new set of tyres. Kobayashi had a spin down into turn one, he continued but soon after he had right rear damage to the car. On lap 26, Rosberg had a massive lock-up into the final chicane as Hamilton continued to close the gap. Rosberg went off-track but no penalty was given out. By lap 28, the gap between the top two was 0.7 seconds. Down in 4th, there was a great battle between Hülkenberg, Vettel and Bottas. Meanwhile, Perez was in 3rd but had yet to stop.
On lap 34, Perez pitted for the first time, he managed a massive stint on the super-soft tyres. He rejoined in 11th place. On lap 37, Hamilton reported a loss of power, on the next lap, Rosberg reported the same issue! Both Mercedes' were lapping around two seconds slower than the cars behind. Hülkenberg was in 3rd and was closing the gap fast. On lap 45, Rosberg pitted from the lead and Hamilton pitted and lap 46, this meant that Massa was leading the Grand Prix. On lap 48, Hamilton had to retire from the Grand Prix as we saw smoke coming out of his car. Perez was closing on Rosberg at more than one second per lap. Towards the end of the race, Ricciardo managed to pass Perez and was hunting down Rosberg and did manage to overtake him to lead the race with just one lap to go. Ricciardo won his first Formula 1 race here in Canada! Rosberg managed to hold off Vettel and finish in 2nd.
View pictures from the Canadian Grand Prix.
Round 8: Austria - Spielberg
This year, Pirelli brought the Soft (Prime) and Super Soft (Option) tyres. It's a 71 lap race and the race start is 1300 local time.
So after an 11 year absence we are back in Austria. In Q1 it was Kvyat the first man out on track. It was Verge though who set the first flying lap, a 1:11.886 but was soon knocked down by his team-mate as Kvyat put in a time of 1:10.854. It wasn't long before Mercedes' were out and Hamilton set his first lap time, a 1:09.514 which was nearly two tenths quicker than Rosberg on his first lap. Out of Q1 were: Sutil, Gutiérrez, Bianchi, Kobayashi, Chilton and Ericsson.
In Q2, Hülkenberg went straight out on-track and produced a time of 1:09.828. His time was set on the super-soft tyres however. Magnussen put in a great lap and went to the top of the timesheet. It seemed Alonso was trying too hard as he ran wide at the exit of turn nine. Both of the Mercedes' drivers were safely through to Q3 but Vettel didn't manage to set a quick enough time, Vettel was out. His team-mate Ricciardo did get into the final shootout. Out of Q2 were: Perez, Button, Vettel, Maldonado, Vergne and Grosjean.
The Mercedes' looked good here but Williams' weren't far behind. Ricciardo was the first out as he was gearing up for his first flying lap. It was Bottas though who set the benchmark, a 1:08.846. Alonso then crossed the line but was four tenths slower. Hamilton was on a great lap as he went purple through the first two sectors but ran wide at turn eight, his lap was voided. Hamilton came back into the pits and would only have one lap to set a time. On his final flying lap however, Hamilton ran wide at turn one and it was all over. Hamilton didn't even set a time in Q3 and as a result, would start from 10th on the grid. Rosberg could only manage 3rd on the grid but it was the two Williams' drivers that locked out the front row, Massa went fastest with Bottas in 2nd. Ricciardo will start the race in 5th with Alonso one grid slot ahead of him in 4th.
Lights out in Austria!! Rosberg launched an attack down into the first corner and managed to overtake Bottas. Bottas though got a great exit and regained 2nd place. Hamilton had a cracking start from 9th on the grid and climbed five places and was soon on the back of Rosberg. By the end of lap one, Hamilton was in 4th place. We then heard on Vettel's team-radio that he had lost drive, it seemed it was all over but suddenly he was off at full speed again. Perez was also climbing up the field and was up to 11th by lap seven. On lap 12, Rosberg pitted and swapped on to the soft tyre. Hamilton stayed out a little longer than his team-mate and pitted on lap 13.
It seemed that Williams' had slightly messed up their strategy as the team left it a few more laps before pitting both cars. Bottas pitted on lap 15, Massa on lap 17. This allowed both Mercedes' drivers to overtake Massa. Perez was now leading the race but he was yet to pit. Rosberg was only 0.5 seconds off Perez in 2nd. Alonso was up to 7th place by lap 19 after making a move on Maldonado. After the issue Vettel had, he was last and Red Bull decided to save parts and retire the car on lap 35.
By lap 45, Hamilton, Rosberg, Bottas and Massa had all pitted for the final time. Rosberg clocked the fastest lap of the race on lap 49, a 1:12.724. Towards the end of the race it looked like Mercedes' had fought off the competition and it was now, yet again, between the two drivers. On lap 57, Rosberg had a 1.7 second lead over Hamilton and this gap kept getting smaller but there was nothing Hamilton could do. Rosberg managed to stay ahead and take the chequered flag here in Austria. Both of the Williams' drivers weren't far behind as Bottas finished in 3rd with Massa in 4th. It wasn't a great day for Red Bull at their home track, Vettel had to retire while Ricciardo could only finish in 8th place. Next up, Hamilton's home race, Silverstone in two weeks time.
View pictures from the Austrian Grand Prix.
Round 9: Great Britain - Silverstone
This year, Pirelli brought the Hard (Prime) and Medium (Option) tyres. It's a 52 lap race and the race start is 1300 local time. Nico Rosberg in his Mercedes' was last years winner beating Mark Webber in his Red Bull.
It won't be a surprise when I say that it was raining when qualifying started. In Q1, drivers wanted to get a lap in quickly just incase the rain got worse. Gutiérrez was the pacesetter ahead of Bianchi and Hülkenberg. Hamilton then crossed the line and went much quicker, his team-mate Rosberg could only manage third fastest. On the team-radio Hamilton said he could switch to the dry tyres if he could get the temperatures up. A few drivers did in-fact switch for the dry, medium tyres. Button, the Marussia's and Caterham drivers all came into the pits, would the gamble pay off? Massa went sixth quickest with Bottas one place ahead in fifth. The next driver to put on the dry tyres was Rosberg, meanwhile it looked like Button's gamble had paid off as he set the fastest time in the first sector in the session so far. A few drivers were caught out as a result of the weather here. Surprisingly, both of the Ferrari drivers were out as well as both of the Williams' drivers! Out of Q1 then were: Bottas, Massa, Alonso, Räikkönen, Ericsson and Kobayashi.
At the start of Q2, the tyre choice went back to the intermediate's as it had rained more during the short break. Rosberg was sitting at the top of the leaderboard and had a two second cushion over everyone else. Hamilton then crossed the line and went six tenths quicker. Shortly after, Ricciardo reported that it was close to switching back to the dry tyres again. Both Mercedes' drivers went back into the pits and did indeed put on a set of the slick tyres as lap times were declining fast. Bianchi went quickest as he set a time of 1:39.712. Hamilton got caught out by the conditions on the slick tyres and ran out of track, he had to put another lap in. Of out Q2 were: Grosjean, Bianchi, Chilton, Gutiérrez, Maldonado and Sutil.
In Q3, Rosberg said that it had started to drizzle down at Stowe. Perez went quickest with Kvyat in second and Vergne in third. Hamilton crossed the line and set a time of 1:39.232 with Rosberg nearly two tenths seconds behind. Towards the end, it seemed Hamilton had secured pole here at his home Grand Prix but suddenly Vettel crossed the line and went quickest! A few moments later, no-one other that Rosberg crossed the line and had in fact put his Mercedes' on pole position here at Silverstone. It was heart-in-mouth stuff. Hamilton dropped to sixth. After qualifying we learned that Hamilton backed off as he thought that his time was quick enough, what he didn't know was that, particularly in the last sector, the track had almost dried out and that is where other drivers managed to claw back a lot of time.
Lights out in Britain!! Rosberg got a good start and led the pack away into the first corner. Down the road, Vettel had a poor start as it looked like he had bogged down a little. Button managed to take advantage and moved into second place. Räikkönen had a massive shunt, he ran wide, rejoined the track but couldn't keep control, he went into the barriers at high speed. As a result, the safety car came out, the race was then stopped as the barriers needed to be repaired. An hour later (yes, the race was stopped for an hour because of a few dents in the barriers!) the race started behind the safety car. Rosberg got a great restart as Button was caught napping. It didn't take long before Hamilton closed up to the back of Magnussen and overtook him.
On lap four, Hamilton overtook Button down the inside at Brooklands for second place, next up, his team-mate Rosberg. Meanwhile Bottas was having a fantastic race, he was up to ninth place after starting way down the field. By lap six, Hamilton was 5.4 seconds behind Rosberg and was closing the gap slowly. Down into Club corner Alonso made an incredible pass around the outside of Ricciardo for eighth place. On lap 12, Vettel pitted from fifth releasing Bottas and Alonso. On lap 14, Bottas was continuing to storm the field as he passed Magnussen around the outside at Stowe for fourth place. By lap 15, the gap between the two Mercedes' drivers was four seconds. On lap 19, Rosberg pitted and shortly after Hamilton's engineer said on team-radio "OK Lewis, three tenths faster in sector one - it's hammer time." Hamilton though stayed out rather than pitting a few laps later, it seemed both drivers were again on different strategies.
On lap 21, Rosberg reported a gearbox issue. The team looked into the issue. On the next lap however, Rosberg was lapping around four tenths quicker than Hamilton, had the gearbox issue been resolved? On lap 24, Hamilton pitted but yet again it was a slow pit-stop, 4.1 seconds. On lap 28, Rosberg on team-radio said "There's a problem with the upshift. Consider slowing me down just to get me to the finish line." Hamilton took the lead of the British Grand Prix and the crowd were on their feet! Rosberg was out of the Grand Prix! On lap 31, Hamilton had a 24 second lead over Bottas in second place. On lap 35, Alonso pulled yet another great move as he overtook Vettel into Copse for fifth place. By lap 40, Hamilton was cruising and had a 41 second lead over Bottas. Just in case of tyre wear issues, Hamilton pitted on lap 42 and rejoined on a new set of hard tyres. On lap 48, Vettel finally overtook Alonso through Woodcote to take the place. However, down the road it was Hamilton who took the chequered flag here at Silverstone! Bottas had a fantastic race and finished in second with Ricciardo on the last step on the podium. Hamilton is now only four points behind Rosberg, he's back in the fight!
View pictures from the British Grand Prix.
Round 10: Germany - Hockenheim
This year, Pirelli brought the Soft (Prime) and Super Soft (Option) tyres. It's a 67 lap race and the race start is 1300 local time. Sebastian Vettel in his Red Bull was last years winner beating Kimi Räikkönen in his Lotus-Renault.
The track this weekend was very hot and looking after the tyres would play a big part here in Spain. The track temperature was 55 degrees. In Q1, Button was the first to set a lap time, a 1:20.264. Bottas was next as he set a time of 1:18.215, four tenths quicker than Hamilton. After winning at his home race, Hamilton's bad luck resumed as he crashed and put his Mercedes' into the wall. Hamilton was out and would start in 15th place. It was a brake issue Mercedes' later confirmed. The session was stopped and five minutes later, the session resumed. Rosberg finished top in Q1. Out of Q1 were: Sutil, Bianchi, Maldonado, Kobayashi, Chilton and Ericsson.
In Q2, Massa and Hülkenberg were the first to hit the track. Hülkenberg clocked a 1:18.270. Rosberg then crossed the line and went two tenths quicker than Bottas in his Williams'. Vettel popped into third place, half a second off Rosberg while Ricciardo went 7th. As the session ended Perez put in one final lap and it was fast enough to knock Button into the drop-out zone. Out of Q2 were: Button, Räikkönen, Vergne, Gutiérrez, Grosjean and Hamilton.
In Q3, it looked like it was Rosberg's pole to lose. He set a time of 1:16.540, that was a great time and would take some beating. Bottas in his Williams' went second, half a second off Rosberg. At his home race, Vettel set the fourth fastest time while his team-mate Ricciardo was two places behind him in sixth. However, it was Rosberg who took pole position here at the German Grand Prix with Bottas starting alongside him. Massa went third with Magnussen putting in a great performance in fourth. Ricciardo yet again outperformed his team-mate and would start in 5th place.
Lights out in Spain!! Rosberg got a good start but it was Magnussen who got a great start as he tried to overtake Massa into the first corner but clipped him and Massa flipped over. Hamilton, from the back, was picking off drivers and was up to 14th place by lap three. On lap six, Rosberg clocked the fastest lap of the race increasing his lead to 3.2 seconds over Bottas in his Williams'. On lap 16, the leader Rosberg pitted and rejoined the track in 2nd place. Meanwhile his team-mate Hamilton was up to 2nd place thanks to Bottas who pitted. Vettel was in 4th with Alonso behind him in 5th.
On lap 19, Bottas passed Hamilton but both drivers were on different strategies. After a flurry of pit-stops Rosberg still led the race from Bottas by 9.2 seconds with Hamilton in 3rd and Vettel in 4th. On lap 27, Hamilton pitted for another set of soft tyres, he rejoined in 8th behind Ricciardo. Hamilton was still pressing hard and down into the hairpin made contact with Button in his McLaren, Hamilton broke his front-wing slightly but a complete new nose wasn't required. On lap 31, Hamilton overtook Button and as he was passing raised his hand as an apology. By lap 34, Rosberg was leading by 14.1 seconds from Bottas. Vettel was another 11 seconds down the road.
On lap 37, Alonso set the fastest lap of the race, he was in 4th with Hülkenberg in 5th. On lap 41, Bottas pitted from 2nd and rejoined the track in 3rd, seven seconds behind Hamilton. On the next lap, Rosberg pitted and put on another set of soft tyres. On lap 44, Hamilton pitted, the crew made a small front wing adjustment, swapped on to the super-soft tyres and rejoined in 5th. Kvyat's Toro Rosso went up in flames on lap 47, the Russian was coming up to the hairpin when his car caught alight. On lap 48, Hamilton was catching Alonso at an alarming rate thanks to his brand new set of super-soft tyres and did overtake him on the next lap. Sutil span at the final corner and then stalled. Hamilton had to pit again for another set of super-soft tyres, the team reacted to Sutil's spin to cover the possibility of a safety car. However, it was Rosberg who won the German Grand Prix with Bottas in 2nd and Hamilton putting in a great effort finishing in 3rd place. Vettel finished in 4th with Alonso in 5th and Ricciardo in 6th.
View pictures from the German Grand Prix.
Round 11: Hungary - Budapest
This year, Pirelli brought the Medium (Prime) and Soft (Option) tyres. It's a 70 lap race and the race start is 1300 local time. Lewis Hamilton in his Mercedes' was last years winner beating Kimi Räikkönen in his Lotus-Renault.
In Q1, Hamilton's qualifying woes continued as his car caught alight five minutes into the session. Could you believe it, Hamilton was out of qualifying. Maldonado was also out as he rolled to a stop on-track without setting a lap time. At the front though, it was Rosberg who was quickest ahead of Ricciardo, Vettel and Bottas. Towards the end of the session, Räikkönen was only one place above the drop-zone but was in the pits. Bianchi pulled off an incredible lap and went ahead of Räikkönen pushing him into the drop-zone. Vergne was the fastest car in Q1. Out of Q1 were: Räikkönen, Kobayashi, Chilton and Ericsson. Hamilton and Maldonado didn't set any lap times.
In Q2, it was Perez who was the first out of the pits. Bottas crossed the line and went quickest with a 1:24.001, half a second quicker than his team-mate Massa. Rosberg then went quickest with a 1:23.310 which was three tenths quicker than Vettel. With four minutes to go, everyone was in the pits. A clean lap from Massa put him in fifth, Button meanwhile was down in 16th. With one minute in Q2 remaining, Kvyat span and that ended his hopes of making it into the top 10 shoot-out. Out of Q2 were: Kvyat, Sutil, Perez, Gutiérrez, Grosjean and Bianchi.
In Q3, it started to rain very lightly but drivers risked it and went out on the soft tyres. However, on his first flying lap, Rosberg locked up into the first corner and ran wide. Magnussen who was a few seconds down the road from Rosberg also locked up but went straight on into the barriers. The red flag was brought out as repairs were needed. After a short stoppage, Q3 was underway again. Rosberg was the first to set a time but it was a cautious attempt, his lap time was 1:26.488. The lead kept changing, Bottas was fastest and then it was Vettel but it was Rosberg yet again who claimed pole position. Rosberg's lap was nearly half a second quicker than Vettel's lap in 2nd. Bottas managed 3rd on the grid with Ricciardo in 5th and Alonso in 5th.
Firstly, the track was wet and drivers were on the intermediate tyres. Lights out in Hungary!! Rosberg got an average start as Vettel and Bottas followed closely behind. Into the first corner, Bottas went around the outside of Vettel to take 2nd place. At the second corner, Hamilton span but carried on! Meanwhile, nearer the front, Button was up to 5th place after mastering the track conditions. The track was drying though. By lap five, Hamilton was up to 16th place after passing Maldonado, Chilton and Kobayashi. Rosberg led the race by 6.7 seconds by lap five. Hamilton was having a busy race as he ran wide and was reporting to his team that the rear end felt loose. Hamilton passed Räikkönen on the straight for 13th place. On lap nine, Ericsson hit the wall and the safety car was called out.
Rosberg didn't pit but Button, Ricciardo and Hamilton did. On the next lap. Rosberg did pit along with Bottas, Vettel and Alonso. McLaren however decided to take a risk with Button as he stayed on the intermediate tyres. The safety car was due to come in but Grosjean crashed and the safety car stayed out. On lap 14, the safety car went back into the pits. Ricciardo was leading but Button pulled alongside him and overtook, Button was leading the Grand Prix! The race was action-packed and on lap 40, after many pit-stops, Hamilton was leading the race, he pitted and rejoined in 5th place. On lap 47, Hamilton was told that Rosberg was only one second behind him, had to make another stop and to give the position up. By lap 49, Ricciardo led the race from Alonso followed by Hamilton.
On lap 51, Rosberg on team-radio said "Why is he not letting me through?", the team asked Hamilton to let Rosberg pass on the straight. Hamilton didn't let Rosberg through, he was 1.5 seconds behind Hamilton, why would he let him pass? Ricciardo led the race from Alonso by 15.4 seconds. On lap 54, Ricciardo pitted from the lead and rejoined in 4th place. Towards the end of the race we had Alonso in 1st, Hamilton in 2nd and Ricciardo in 3rd. On lap 67, Ricciardo did pass Hamilton around the outside at turn two. On the next lap, Ricciardo then passed Alonso into turn one and led the Grand Prix! Alonso's and Hamilton's tyres had gone as Rosberg was closing the gap in 4th due to his much fresher tyres. However, it was Ricciardo that won the Hungarian Grand Prix with Alonso finishing in 2nd and Hamilton in 3rd. It's now the summer break and if you'd have said to Hamilton after qualifying that he would close the gap to Rosberg, he'd think you were crazy but that's what he's done! Spa next in four weeks time.
View pictures from the Hungarian Grand Prix.
Round 12: Belgium - Spa-Francorchamps
This year, Pirelli brought the Medium (Prime) and Soft (Option) tyres. It's a 44 lap race and the race start is 1300 local time.
In Spa, the weather can be so unpredictable and that was, yet again the case. Around 30 minutes before qualifying it rained hard, hailstones were present in fact. However, when Q1 started the rain had stopped but the track was still wet in places. First out were both of the Marussia drivers. Kvyat set the first time, a 2:14.966, moments later Bottas went faster and set a time of 2:10.750. Hamilton, on the inters ran wide at the chicane but still managed to set the fastest time of the session so far. Cars through Eau Rouge looked immense as drivers tried to go flat-out but in the conditions found it difficult. Maldonado span at the last corner and couldn’t manage to get himself into the top 16. Rosberg was the fastest in Q1. The drivers out of Q1 were: Maldonado, Hulkenberg, Chilton, Gutierrez, Lotterer and Ericsson.
In Q2 the track was still damp as more rain loomed on the horizon. Grosjean was the first to set a time in Q2, a 2:13.974. Next it was Bottas across the line and he managed a time of 2:08.591 but then Alonso, Rosberg and Hamilton all went quicker. With three minutes left the six in danger were Bianchi, Grosjean, Sutil, Perez, Vergne and Kvyat. Towards the end the Mercedes’ duo were still leading and there was a one second gap between Rosberg in 2nd and Alonso in 3rd. Hamilton clocked a 2:06.609 which further improved his position at the top. Out of Q2 were: Kvyat, Vergne, Perez, Sutil, Grosjean and Bianchi.
So the Mercedes’ drivers looked very fast here even in the wet conditions, again the question was what Mercedes’ driver would get pole position here. Hamilton headed straight out followed by Vettel and Alonso. On his first lap, Alonso had a moment at Les Combes corner, it’s still slippery out there. Hamilton then ran wide at La Source but it was no big drama. Rosberg got us off the mark with a 2:05.698 while Vettel’s first effort was a 2:08.141. Hamilton improved his time and moved to within 0.6 seconds of his team-mate Rosberg. Vettel’s time was good enough for 3rd while Alonso’s time was good enough for 4th. However, it was Rosberg who took pole position here at the Belgium Grand Prix with Hamilton in 2nd, 0.2 seconds behind. It’s going to be a brilliant race tomorrow as we all know Hamilton will try his hardest to try to overtake Rosberg.
Lights out in Belgium! Hamilton got a great start and overtook Rosberg into the first corner. On the second lap the two Mercedes’ made contact. Hamilton was on the racing line and Rosberg clipped Hamilton’s rear tyre which resulted in a puncture. Hamilton made his way back to the pits for new tyres but came out of the pits in 19th place. Rosberg got front-wing damage. On lap eight, Rosberg pitted for new a new wing and tyres. He came back out in 15th place. Alonso received a five second stop and go penalty as, when all cars were lining up ready for the formation lap, his car wouldn’t move. During his first pit-stop Alonso took his penalty, put on some new tyres and came out of the pits and produced a fine move on Perez at Rivage. By lap 16, Ricciardo was leading the race followed by Vettel. On lap 17 Rosberg tried to overtake Vettel at the Bus Stop chicane but locked his tyres.
Rosberg reported a big vibration of his front-left tyre due to the big lockup on the previous lap. On lap 20, Rosberg pitted, put on a new set of the medium tyres and was on his way again. He came out in 11th place. By lap 21, Hamilton was still down in 17th place and suggested to the team that they save the engine for future races. He continued racing however. With his new tyres on, Rosberg was storming the field as he overtook Perez for 7th place. He then overtook Button but gave the place back. Meanwhile Vettel pitted to put on some medium tyres and came back out in 8th place. On lap 28, Ricciardo pitted from the lead and came out in 2nd place. Bottas was now in the lead. On lap 29, Bottas pitted and rejoined in 5th place.
On lap 32, Hamilton pitted for some medium tyres and rejoined the track in 16th place. By lap 37, his team-mate Rosberg was the fastest man on track as he clocked a 1:51.338. On lap 39 Hamilton was told to box the car, Hamilton was out of the Grand Prix. Bottas got the better of his fellow Finn Kimi Räikkönen as he overtook him down Kemmel Straight. Ricciardo still led the race 10 seconds ahead of Rosberg with four laps to go. Ricciardo was on the medium tyre and Rosberg was on the soft tyre. With two laps to go, Alonso tried to overtake Magnussen at Rivage but ran wide which allowed Vettel to overtake him. However, it was Ricciardo who won the Belgium Grand Prix with Rosberg in 2nd and Bottas in 3rd place. The gap between first and second was only 3.3 seconds at the finish line. Not a great day at all for Hamilton then as the gap between him and Rosberg increased in the standings. Is it all over for Hamilton now? I’d say it is. Rosberg needs rotten luck and it seems, at the moment, Hamilton’s getting it all. Next up, Monza in two weeks time.
View pictures from the Belgian Grand Prix.