Ricciardo wins the Belgian Grand Prix
Hamilton collides with Nico Rosberg in dramatic race
Nico Rosberg rode his luck to open up a clear 29-points championship advantage over Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton on Sunday when he finished second behind triumphant Australian Daniel Ricciardo in the Belgian Grand Prix.
Ricciardo, of Red Bull, won with a bold and well-judged drive in a dramatic race that saw Hamilton lead from the start, but suffer a second-lap puncture following a collision with Rosberg.
It was Red Bull’s 50th win in Formula One and a beaming Ricciardo was hailed with cheers, while Rosberg was booed by the crowd at the end of the race. It appeared that Hamilton was the victim of a misjudged passing move by the German.
The damage wrecked his race and may have ruined his title bid with seven of this year’s 19 races remaining.
“I have apologised to Lewis… A bad result for Lewis and a bad result for the Mercedes team,” said Mercedes team chief Niki Lauda.
After struggling to regain his momentum, the 29-year-old Briton retired with four of the 44 laps remaining leaving Rosberg content to take his first podium finish in Belgium at the eighth attempt. He came 3.3 seconds behind the beaming Ricciardo.
It was Ricciardo’s third win in six races in his first season with Red Bull since succeeding fellow Australian Mark Webber as teammate to four-time champion German Sebastian Vettel, who came home fifth.
Finns Valtteri Bottas of Williams and Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari came home third and fourth ahead of Vettel, Danish rookie Kevin Magnussen and his McLaren team-mate Briton Jenson Button who were all engaged in a furious final tussle for positions.
On a welcome dry, if cool, afternoon in the Ardennes, Rosberg made a poor start from his 11th career pole position and Hamilton, from second on the grid, pulled alongside and outside to lead as they surged round the hairpin at La Source.
The 2008 world champion pulled clear on the entry to Eau Rouge and up the hill towards Radillon where a charging Vettel, who had taken second place, attacked without success and ran off track, falling back into third behind Fernando Alonso.
The Spaniard, who had struggled to leave the grid for the formation lap and required assistance to start, was handed a five seconds penalty – to be added to a pit stop – for the misdemeanor, but raced with great elan and determination.