Daniel Ricciardo has enhanced his already soaring reputation after he won a dramatic Belgian Grand Prix. It’s Daniel’s third Formula 1 race victory and the first win by an Australian at the admired Spa circuit since Sir Jack Brabham won on the old 14km layout in 1960.
Mercedes was expected to dominate the race but a clumsy move by polesitter Nico Rosberg on Lewis Hamilton, who made a lightning start from P2 to claim the lead, threw the race result wide open. Rosberg clipped Hamilton’s left rear tyre leaving the Briton with a puncture and pouting bottom lip. Rosberg, too, lost momentum when his front wing had to be replaced and opened the door for Ricciardo who was good enough to capitalise on the glimmer of hope that came his way.
Hamilton’s undertray was damaged when he limped back to the pits and proceeded to whinge his way through the grand prix until he finally got his way and the team brought him in to retire with a handful of laps remaining.
Rosberg was able to work his way back to P2, finishing just a few seconds behind Ricciardo, but he wasn’t missed by a loud contingent of race fans who booed him during the post-race podium celebrations. A harsh reaction perhaps, although his own team has Rosberg in its sights. The contact with Hamilton was clearly Rosberg’s, fault but it was much closer to being a racing incident than any deliberate sabotage. Still, the end result saw Rosberg extend his championship lead by 18 points.
Valtteri Bottas drove a relatively quiet race to claim the final podium step, a position he’s made his own in recent times. Kimi Raikkonen showed outstanding pace at times on a track where he was won four times previously and finished P4.
The closing race scrap for positions P5–P8 was breathtaking, with four drivers mixing it wheel-to-wheel and regularly swapping positions. In the end the results fell to Sebastian Vettel, Kevin Magnussen, Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso.
Sergio Perez and Daniil Kvyat rounded out the top 10, not that either were able to attract much camera time. While Andre Lotterer’s F1 debut lasted just one lap.
Ricciardo’s win has cemented his third place position in the drivers’ championship, he’s now only 36 points behind Hamilton, who is 29 points behind Rosberg.
[Pic: Red Bull/Getty Images]
UPDATE: Kevin Magnussen was handed a 20 second post-race penalty from the stewards after forcing Fernando Alonso off track. That pushes Magnussen fro P6 down to P12.
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