Rahul Sharma

2014 Belgian Grand Prix

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Date  24 August 2014
Course length  7.004 km (4.352 mi)
2014 Belgian Grand Prix
Official name  2014 Formula 1 Shell Belgian Grand Prix
Location  Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps Stavelot, Belgium
Course  Permanent racing facility
Distance  44 laps, 308.052 km (191.415 mi)

The 2014 Belgian Grand Prix (formally the 2014 Formula 1 Shell Belgian Grand Prix) was a Formula One motor race held on 24 August 2014 at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in Spa, Belgium. It was the twelfth round of the 2014 Formula One season, and the 70th Belgian Grand Prix. The 44-lap race was won by Daniel Ricciardo for the Red Bull team, after starting from fifth position. Nico Rosberg finished second in a Mercedes, with Valtteri Bottas third for the Williams team.

Contents

The victory was Ricciardo's second consecutive win; he started from fourth on the grid to win the Hungarian Grand Prix four weeks prior. Rosberg's second place increased his gap to Hamilton in the Drivers' Championship to 29 points. Mercedes established a 157-point lead over Red Bull team in the Constructors' Championship, with seven races of the season remaining.

Background

The Grand Prix was contested by eleven teams, each of two drivers. The teams, also known as constructors, were Red Bull, Mercedes, Ferrari, Lotus, McLaren, Force India, Sauber, Toro Rosso, Williams, Marussia and Caterham. Tyre supplier Pirelli brought four different tyre compounds for the race; two dry compounds, the medium "primes" and the soft "options" and two wet-weather compounds, the intermediate and full wet. The drag reduction system (DRS) had two activation zones for the race; one was on the start/finish straight from the final to first corners, and the second on the straight between turns four and five.

Going into the race, Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg led the Drivers' Championship with 202 points, ahead of team-mate Lewis Hamilton with 191 points and Daniel Ricciardo with 131. Fernando Alonso was fourth with 115 points while Valtteri Bottas was fifth with 95 points. In the Constructors' Championship, Mercedes were leading with 393 points and Red Bull were second with 219 points. Ferrari with 142 points and Williams with 135 points contended for third place, with Force India fifth with 98 points. Mercedes had so far dominated the championship, winning nine out of the eleven previous races, with Ricciardo winning the Canadian and Hungarian Grands Prix. Kevin Magnussen, Bottas and Alonso had each gained second-place finishes, and Vettel, Jenson Button and Sergio Pérez had achieved third place podium finishes.

There were two driver changes heading into the race. Having been in one of the two Caterham cars since the first race of the season in Australia, Kamui Kobayashi was replaced by three-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner André Lotterer. The second driver change was Alexander Rossi who was drafted into Marussia to replace Max Chilton. Chilton had part of the team since the first round and was sidelined for Belgium, as a result of "contractual issues". Marussia later announced on 22 August that Chilton's race seat was reinstated, and Rossi only took part in the event's first practice session.

Practice and qualifying

Three practice sessions were held before the race; two 90 minute sessions on Friday and one lasting an hour on Saturday. Rosberg was the fastest driver in the first practice session, ahead of Hamilton and Alonso. Hamilton was fastest in the second session, ahead of Rosberg, Alonso and Felipe Massa – although the Mercedes driver had run wide during the practice session. The session was disrupted by incidents as Pastor Maldonado struck the barriers and Esteban Gutiérrez spun off – both incidents requiring a suspension as marshals needed to clear the track of both cars.

The qualifying session on Saturday afternoon was wet. Rosberg took his seventh pole position of the season, and his first at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, with a time of 2:05.591. Hamilton qualified behind him in second, complaining of glazed brakes. This was Hamilton's first front row start since the 2014 Canadian Grand Prix five races previously, having suffered a string of various qualifying issues.

Race

The race started at 14:00 local time (UTC+1). The conditions on the grid were dry before the race. Alonso's car stalled on the grid, and later got off the grid to retake his starting position. The race was made controversial when on lap two, the two Mercedes drivers collided going into Les Combes, puncturing Hamilton's tyre and damaging Rosberg's front wing. The incident was later deemed Rosberg's fault by the Mercedes team.

Post-race

The race result left Rosberg leading the Drivers' Championship with 220 points. Hamilton, who failed to score in Belgium, was second with 191 points, 35 points ahead of Ricciardo and 70 ahead of Alonso. Bottas was fifth with 110 points. In the Constructors' Championship, Mercedes maintained their lead with 411 points, Red Bull retained second with 254 points, and Ferrari remained in third with 160 points, with seven races of the season remaining.

Shortly after the race, Hamilton accused Rosberg of deliberately crashing into him; Hamilton stated that Rosberg "said he did it on purpose, he said he could have avoided it. He said "I did it to prove a point." Rosberg initially denied any wrongdoing, saying that "I gave it a go. I didn't see any risk in trying to overtake, so why should I not try?" Mercedes executive director Toto Wolff said that "We had a collision that could have been avoided, a second-lap collision. It was Nico who attacked and he shouldn't have done it." At that point, it appeared that the team was letting the rivalry between Rosberg and Hamilton grow out of control, following a prior incident at the Monaco Grand Prix.

Race

^1  — Kevin Magnussen originally finished sixth but had 20 seconds added to his race time for forcing Fernando Alonso off track.

Championship standings after the race

  • Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.
  • References

    2014 Belgian Grand Prix Wikipedia


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