Formula 1 Mercedes-Benz Red Bull Racing

2014 Belgian GP: Post-race press conference

2014 Belgian Grand Prix

It’s always great waking up the morning after an Aussie has won a Formula 1 race. One of the pleasures that comes with Daniel Ricciardo’s win at the Belgian Grand Prix is reading the thoughts he gave to the media after the race.

Remarkably, Daniel Ricciardo’s three wins so far this season is only one behind Nico Rosberg’s four victories. And while we do hear a lot from Daniel, of course, the press focused on the contact between Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton. That contact not only ruined Hamilton’s race but gave Daniel a small opportunity to win and, thankfully, he was able to rise to the challenge.

[Pic: Red Bull/Getty Images]

Formula 1 Mercedes-Benz Red Bull Racing

Daniel Ricciardo wins 2014 Belgian GP

2014 Belgian Grand Prix

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.

Formula 1 Mercedes-Benz Red Bull Racing

2014 Hungarian GP: Qualifying report

2014 Hungarian Grand Prix

Nico Rosberg’s charmed run has continued after he claimed pole position for the Hungarian Grand Prix. On his last lap in Q3 Rosberg (1:22.715) snatched pole by a comfortable margin from Sebastian Vettel (1:23.201). Valtteri Bottas (1:23.354) once again has his Williams in the mix and qualified third.

The big story, though, was Lewis Hamilton suffering yet another mishap during qualifying. The 2008 world champion was fastest in all three practice sessions and went into Q1 with justified confidence. Alas, early in the session his car suffered a fuel leak which caused a fire. Making matters worse Mercedes has to build a up a new chassis forcing Lewis to start the race from pit lane.

For only the fourth time in 11 races Daniel Ricciardo (1:23.391) will start behind his Red Bull teammate. He will line up on the second row in P4 and said the lack of tyre temps after the rain shower prevented him from achieving a better qualifying result.

“The car feels pretty good this weekend,” said Ricciardo. “In Q1 and Q2 we were looking good, but when the rain came in Q3 we couldn’t get the temperature back in the tyres quick enough for one timed lap so I’m a bit disappointed not to be further up the grid.

“It would be good to be on the front row, but fourth isn’t a disaster. It’s hard to overtake around this circuit, so we need to aim to make as few stops tomorrow as possible.”

Fernando Alonso (1:23.909) and Felipe Massa (1:24.223) will share the third row. Jenson Button (1:24.294) will start alongside Jean-Eric Vergne (1:24.720). While Nico Hulkenberg (1:24.775) and Daniil Kyvat (1:24.706) round out the top 10.

Kyvat inherits P10 after Kevin Magnussen crashed out early in Q3. Light rain fell in between Q2 and Q3 and the wettest part of the track was Turn 1. On his first flying lap early in Q3 Magnussen misjudged the track and locked his brakes into Turn 1 before skidding into the tyre barriers at pace. He emerged unhurt but his car required signficant work and he will start from pit lane ahead of Lewis Hamilton.

Kimi Raikkonen made headlines too after he failed to progress to Q2, thanks to a last gasp effort from Marussia’s Jules Bianchi. The young Frenchman is signed to the Ferrari Driver Academy and is tipped to progress to the Scuderia when a place becomes available. Which presumably means Kimi needs to raise his game.

Only an outright disaster or car failure will prevent Rosberg from using his sixth pole position for the year to increase his championship lead over the luckless Lewis Hamilton. Indeed, on the tight Hungaroring layout Hamilton will just be happy if he can make the top 10 and claim a championship point.

Formula 1 Mercedes-Benz

2014 German GP: Post-race press conference

2014 German Grand Prix

The champagne from Nico Rosberg’s fourth win for the year will complement his recent wedding celebrations nicely. You can read what he has to say about that and the German Grand Prix after the break, along with the thoughts of Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton.

Before you do, though, here’s the post-race thoughts from a very enthusiastic and positive Daniel Ricciardo who was very happy with his day after that near miss at the first corner.

“That was awesome fun, one of my most enjoyable races I’ve had,” Daniel said. “I mean, not on the first lap, obviously, that was just the wrong place at the wrong time. I wasn’t as worse off as Massa and hopefully he is okay.

“I was on the outside and the collision happened, I had to avoid it and went pretty far down the field, I don’t know exactly how far back. From then on I just got on to the radio and said let’s make an amazing recovery and make ourselves proud today. And I think we did that, we fought hard and we didn’t leave anything on the table.

“These are the moments and battles that I personally thrive off and enjoy. Fernando is known to be a tough racer and I thought who better to have a good fight with. I was on the Primes and he was on fresher Options and I gave it the best fight I could and, well.., nearly!”

What a guy!

Formula 1 Mercedes-Benz

Nico Rosberg wins 2014 German GP

2014 German Grand Prix

Nico Rosberg has capped of a great few days by winning his home grand prix for the first time. He did it in a canter, too, with a 20.7 second margin over Valtteri Bottas in P2. Lewis Hamilton couldn’t quite make it a 1-2 for Mercedes, but should be happy with third after starting the race from P20.

Since the disappointment of his gearbox failure in British Grand Prix Rosberg has signed a lucrative contract extension, got married and seen his country win the World Cup. Not a bad run of results and don’t forget he’s also extended his world championship lead over Hamilton to boot.

Hamilton’s charge through the field might have yielded an even better result had he not suffered front wing damage after making his way past former teammate Jenson Button. In the end he didn’t quite have enough pace to get past Bottas.

Sebastian Vettel finished fourth, ahead of a desperately close late stoush between Fernando Alonso and Daniel Ricciardo. Alonso crossed the line less than a tenth ahead of Ricciardo, having overtaken him just a few laps prior.

Nico Hulkenberg continued his run of points-winning results in every race so far this year with P7. Jenson Button led home his junior teammate Kevin Magnussen. While Sergio Perez rounded out the top 10.

Another spectacular first lap incident ended the race of Felipe Massa after he clipped Magnussen at the first corner, sending both cars off track. Massa’s car flipped before ending on its wheels and the Brazilian emerged unscathed.

Ricciardo had made a clean start off the line but was forced off track to avoid the Massa-Magnussen incident and rejoined the track well down in P15. Clearly, Daniel could have done better than P6 today; he displayed flashes of brilliance at times while charging through the field and especially late when defending against a much quicker Alonso.

Other incidents attracting attention was a fire to Daniil Kvyat’s Toro Rosso and a late race spin at the last corner from Adrian Sutil, which left his Sauber stricken on the main straight. It took some time to move his car off the track and you have to wonder why a Safety Car was not deployed to allow marshalls increased safety while dealing with the car.

We back up again next week for the Hungarian Grand Prix and let’s hope that race offers some of the excitement and close racing we saw at Hockenheim.

Formula 1 Mercedes-Benz

2014 German GP: Qualifying report

2014 German Grand Prix

Nico Rosberg will start tonight’s German Grand Prix from pole position after his teammate Lewis Hamilton crashed out due to a brake failure in Q1. In his first lap of Q3 Rosberg laid down a marker (1:16.540) that nobody could match. It’s his fourth pole in the last five races.

In the first serious hit out since the teams ditched the FRIC suspension the order we have come to expect in 2014 remained largely in tact. Perhaps we’re not used to seeing both Williams drivers in the top three, but their form has been on the improve in recent times and seeing Valtteri Bottas (1:16.759) almost challenge for pole was not a total surprise, nor was seeing Felipe Massa (1:17.078) in the frame as well.

In P4 was Kevin Magnussen (1:17.214) who claims McLaren has benefitted from the recent suspension changes. Once again Daniel Ricciardo (1:17.273) has qualified ahead of Sebastian Vettel (1:17.577) and the Red Bull pair will start from P5 and P6 respectively.

“It wasn’t too bad today, we would like to be further forward than fifth, but the lap I did was pretty good,” Ricciardo said. “I made quite an improvement in Q3 from Q2 so I can’t really argue with the lap I did, but as a team we are still a bit off.

“We know the Mercedes is strong, but the Williams was also continually showing their pace today and the McLaren with Kevin was good, so we have to keep working but we did what we could.

“I think the race will be close between the top eight tomorrow and it will be a battle for the final podium spot.”

The top 10 was rounded out by Fernando Alonso (1:17.649), Daniil Kvyat (1:17.965), Nico Hulkenberg (1:18.014) and Sergio Perez (1:18.035).

The major drama from qualifying was Hamilton’s crash in Q1. He is okay, although he was a bit shaken and has bruised knees after making heavy contact with the tyre barrier. Immediately afterwards Lewis claimed a brake failure caused him to lose control. Mercedes later confirmed a front right disc failed.

Mercedes has changed the discs on Lewis’ car and will now most likely start the race from the pit lane.

Nico Rosberg explained in the press conference he knew he could not be affected by the same problem as he runs different brake components to Lewis. Which is an interesting discussion point on its own.

Rosberg will be hoping to cap-off a great start to his home grand prix with a win, something made that little bit easier by Hamilton’s woes. Perhaps, things are just going to go Nico’s way this year.

Caterham F1 in pictures Ferrari Lotus McLaren Mercedes-Benz Red Bull Racing Toro Rosso

2014 British Grand Prix in pictures

2014 British Grand Prix

Everyone loves a winner, but the British love British winner more than anyone else. Thankfully, for them, Lewis Hamilton came up trumps at Silverstone and gave the likes of David Croft and countless others cause for unabated nationalism.

I’m not sure us Aussies would be as bad if Daniel ever wins in Melbourne.

Formula 1 Mercedes-Benz Red Bull Racing

2014 British GP: Post-race press conference

2014 British Grand Prix

Here’s the transcript from the post-race press conference at the British Grand Prix. We’ll start with a few words from Daniel Ricciardo who explained a one-stop strategy wasn’t his original plan.

“We chose to restart on the prime,” Daniel said. “It didn’t seem like the best thing to do at first because we were really slow at the restart. Valtteri and Fernando got past me pretty easily and pulled away and I was coming on the radio basically saying ‘let’s see if we can try something a little bit different’ as we didn’t really have the pace as we hoped.

“Once we came in for the option, we just ran and pushed pretty much for the whole stint. I didn’t intend on doing a one-stop when I started on that tyre but laps ticked off and we were still able to keep the pace. The team said ‘do you think you could do another 15–20 laps’ and I was like ‘at the moment, yeah, I think we can’, so we stayed out and just held on at the end. It was awesome.

“I think all three of us had a bit of redemption on our plate today. It was a pretty dismal Saturday for us. I think we’re all pretty happy. This is definitely one of my best podiums this year.”

[Pic: Red Bull/Getty Images]

Formula 1 Mercedes-Benz Red Bull Racing

Lewis Hamilton wins 2014 British GP

Lewis Hamilton wins 2014 British Grand Prix

On the weekend Silverstone celebrated its 50th anniversary Lewis Hamilton delighted the home crowd by winning the British Grand Prix. It’s his 27th career win and brings him alongside Sir Jackie Stewart to equal seventh on the all-time list.

In even better news for Lewis he has reduced the championship title race to just four points after teammate Nico Rosberg was forced to retire with gearbox issues. Rosberg led the race up until his Lap 28 retirement. Lewis, though, was only too happy to assume the lead which he held comfortably until the chequered flag.

Valtteri Bottas achieved his best grand prix result by finishing second, improving one step at a time after his third place in Austria. It was an impressive result after starting from P14 and using a one-stop strategy to climb twelve places. Daniel Ricciardo also employed a one-stop tyre strategy to elevate himself from a P8 starting position to finish in third place.

An opening lap crash by Kimi Raikkonen brought out a red flag. Raikkonen ran wide into Turn 5 and when he rejoined the track on Wellington Straight he ran over a bump which caused him to lose control and crash head-on into an armco barrier. The impact spat him back across the track and Felipe Massa, in his 200th grand prix, clipped Raikkonen’s Ferrari while trying to avoid contact.

Both drivers were forced to retire from the race and concerns over Raikkonen’s immediate health were eased when he emerged from his car. He later complained of ankle pain and will be monitored after Ferrari later revealed the impact of the crash was registered at 47G.

Jenson Button finished fourth after also opting for a one-stop strategy. Button was closing in fast on third place as the race drew to an end. Perhaps with another lap or two he may have been able to overtake Ricciardo for P3.

A stoush between Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso provided entertainment as they diced wheel-to-wheel. Both drivers got on the radio to complain about poor standards from the other and in the end Vettel came up trumps finishing in P5, Alonso in P6. Although, Vettel will be sour after he started the race on the front row, while Alonso will feel better about his day after starting form a lowly P16.

The top 10 was rounded out by Kevin Magnussen, Nico Hulkenberg and the Toro Rossos of Daniil Kvyat and Jean-Eric Vergne.

Caterham F1 in pictures Ferrari Lotus McLaren Mercedes-Benz Red Bull Racing Toro Rosso

2014 Austrian Grand Prix in pictures

2014 Austrian Grand Prix

Nico Rosberg was the first to spray champagne at the revamped Red Bull Ring after he won the 2014 Austrian Grand Prix. It seems fans, teams and anyone connected to the race has been drinking Didi’s kool-aid, because they can’t stop saying how much they love this place. We’ve even assembled our biggest gallery of the year so far to remind you of what went down in Spielberg.

Formula 1 Mercedes-Benz

2014 Austrian GP: Post-race press conference

2014 Austrian Grand Prix

We’re sorry to Valtteri Bottas that we can’t get a photo of him on the podium, but he’ll have to have a crack at Williams for being so tight with the images they release to the little people like us.

Meanwhile, Daniel Ricciardo explained a mistake at Turn 1 was responsible for a difficult day.

“It’s never nice going backwards on the first lap,” said Daniel. “Off the line, it was actually one of our better starts this year, although I think Kevin (Magnussen) on the inside got a better one.

“I tried to hang around on the outside, which was the wrong thing to do, because you basically lose too much on the exit. So I then got swamped on the long straight. We already struggle on the long straights as it is, but even more when you get a poor exit. So I was frustrated with myself and I will have to look if maybe I could have cut to the inside and done anything better.

“The last lap move put a little smile on my face, but other than that it wasn’t a great race for us—we’ve got a bit of work to do.”

The full transcript from the first three drivers is available after the break. It was nice to see Mark Webber doing the podium interviews, too. Although, we reckon it would have been better to see him racing in the Nürburgring 24 Hour race instead.

Formula 1 Mercedes-Benz

Nico Rosberg wins 2014 Austrian GP

2014 Austrian Grand Prix

Nico Rosberg has won his third grand prix of the season after taking out the Austrian Grand Prix overnight. His victory margin of 1.9 seconds over Mercedes AMG teammate Lewis Hamilton sees the German extend his world championship lead to 29 points.

Hamilton started from P9 but put in a sterling opening lap to be fighting for fourth by the second lap. He did have some minor concerns with overheating brakes again, as did Rosberg, but they were still too fast for everyone else.

In third place was Valtteri Bottas for Williams. That’s the Finn’s best result in Formula 1 to date and as you’d expect he was very happy with his day, despite starting the race from P2.

Felipe Massa came home fourth and may have hoped for more after making a clean start from pole position. In the end the Mercedes pair had too much race pace and both were able to get ahead of the Williams duo during routine pit stops.

Fernando Alonso just went about his business as usual for Ferrari and put in another honest and reliable performance to finish fifth. The dual world champion has had an unspectacular year by his standards, but continues to achieve the best results available to him it would seem.

Sergio Perez collected good points for Force India with P6.  Thanks to an alternate tyre strategy he led the race for a while, too, which he would be happy with after starting from P15.

McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen was seventh, his best result since he inherited P2 from Daniel Ricciardo at the Australian Grand Prix in the season’s opening race.

Ricciardo was the sole flickering light on a dirty day for Red Bull at its home track. Daniel finished eighth thanks to a last lap pass on Nico Hulkenberg.

Sadly for Red Bull, though, everything else went pear shaped. Sebastian Vettel momentarily lost power in the opening laps and seemed to be headed for retirement. His car did right itself for some time, but he was called into the pits to retire at around half-race distance.

Red Bull-owned Toro Rosso fared worse, with both cars retiring from the race without making any impact.

After a brief moment of respite from Ricciardo in Canada and Williams locking out the front row for this race, the status quo of a Mercedes one-two result has returned. Crucially, though, Nico Rosberg now enjoys the luxury of championship lead greater than a race win.

Well, that’s until we get to the double points race in Bahrain to end the year.