Ricciardo scores Red Bull’s 50th win while Mercedes duo clash

Ricciardo Spa 2014

Daniel Ricciardo achieved his third career victory at Spa-Francorchamps, as the Formula 1 championship protagonists Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton collided.

The Red Bull Racing driver made a habit of picking up the pieces when the Silver Arrows trips up, and the Australian produced another flawless race to fend off the recovering Rosberg by just 3.3 seconds to score his second consecutive win.

Rosberg extended his championship lead after a recovery drive to second, while Mercedes team-mate Hamilton posted his third retirement of the season.

Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen looked set to score his first podium of the season, but ultimately lost out to the Williams of Valtteri Bottas in the closing stages of the Belgian Grand Prix.

As for the defending Formula 1 world champion Sebastian Vettel, the Red Bull driver won a thrilling late battle for fifth from the McLarens of Kevin Magnussen and Jenson Button, and Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari.

The Mercedes drivers locked out the front row by some distance in wet qualifying, but collided on lap two, as slow-starting poleman Rosberg attempted to re-pass Hamilton for the lead on the run to Les Combes.

Rosberg had a look around the outside of his team-mate but clipped Hamilton’s left-rear tyre as he backed out of the move and tried to tuck back in.

Hamilton limped back to the pits with a puncture and floor damage from a brief excursion, and spent the rest of his race battling a lack of pace in his W05.

Lewis pleaded with his team to retire his car to save engine mileage. He eventually retired to the pits with five laps to the flag.

Rosberg was told to stay out with a damaged front wing endplate after the incident.

That made the championship leader vulnerable, but he retained the lead as the top six ran in close formation early on, before the German dived into the pits to begin the first round of stops on lap eight of 44 and took a new front wing.

That dropped him behind Raikkonen’s Ferrari, which stopped on the same lap as Rosberg and leapt up from sixth to second as the first round of pit stops played out.

The pit delay ultimately left Rosberg fourth, behind Vettel’s Red Bull, while new leader Ricciardo (who crucially passed his Red Bull team-mate when the reigning Vettel saved a wild moment on the exit of Pouhon on lap five) eased away from Raikkonen at the front.

Rosberg switched to an alternative three-stop strategy over the conventional two, and dived into the pits for an early second stop on lap 17, having failed to pass Vettel and fallen behind the Williams of Bottas.

The Mercedes driver used his second set of medium Pirelli tyres to good effect, despite concerns over a front vibration, and rose back up to second when the other frontrunners made their final stops.

Rosberg had to pit for a third time with ten laps to go, which relieved the pressure on Ricciardo and dropped the Mercedes back to fourth, behind Raikkonen and the Williams of Valtteri Bottas, which slipstreamed past on the run to Les Combes.

Rosberg was quickly back through to third on his fresh set of tyres, passing Bottas at Blanchimont and then nailing Raikkonen easily on the Kemmel straight on the following lap.

The championship leader trailed Ricciardo by just under twenty seconds with eight laps to run and needed to be around 2.5 seconds per lap faster than the Australian to overhaul him, but he ultimately fell short by 3.3 seconds at the finish.

Bottas claimed his fourth podium of the season in third, while Raikkonen recorded the best result for Ferrari in fourth.

Vettel had been in podium contention, but had to come back through the pack after switching to a three-stop strategy.

He took advantage of the battling between Magnussen, Alonso and Button to claim fifth, while Magnussen just held off McLaren team-mate Button for sixth.

But after the Belgian Grand Prix, race stewards have decided the Kevin Magnussen was to aggressive in fending off Fernando Alonso and decided to penalise the McLaren driver with a twenty-second penalty.

Alonso – who incurred a five-second penalty for his Ferrari mechanics being late away from the grid – damaged his Ferrari in the late battling, which included a three-abreast moment at Les Combes, and trailed home eighth after starting fourth.

Sergio Perez and Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat rounded out the points scorers in ninth and tenth, with Kvyat just holding off Perez’s Force India team-mate Nico Hulkenberg by 0.3 second.

The second Williams of Felipe Massa finished a disappointing P13, behind the second Toro Rosso of Jean-Eric Vergne.

So a dramatic race at Spa-Francorchamps with the main talking point over that racing incident between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. The fault lies in the championship leader as he mis-judged the move on his team-mate.

It’s going to be fascinating what Mercedes will do to prevent this incident occurring again. Team orders could come into play but the drivers are still fighting for the title.

Belgian Grand Prix race results, after 44 laps:

1. Daniel Ricciardo      Red Bull-Renault        1h24m36.556s
2. Nico Rosberg          Mercedes                +3.383s
3. Valtteri Bottas       Williams-Mercedes       +28.032s
4. Kimi Raikkonen        Ferrari                 +36.815s
5. Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault        +52.196s
6. Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes        +54.580s
7. Fernando Alonso       Ferrari                 +1m01.162s
8. Sergio Perez          Force India-Mercedes    +1m04.293s
9. Daniil Kvyat          Toro Rosso-Renault      +1m05.347s
10. Nico Hulkenberg       Force India-Mercedes    +1m05.697s
11. Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Renault      +1m11.920s
12. Kevin Magnussen       McLaren-Mercedes        +1m14.262s*
13. Felipe Massa          Williams-Mercedes       +1m15.975s
14. Adrian Sutil          Sauber-Ferrari          +1m22.447s
15. Esteban Gutierrez     Sauber-Ferrari          +1m30.825s
16. Max Chilton           Marussia-Ferrari        -1 lap
17. Marcus Ericsson       Caterham-Renault        -1 lap
18. Jules Bianchi         Marussia-Ferrari        -5 laps

*Twenty-second penalty for forcing a driver off track


Lewis Hamilton        Mercedes                 38 laps
Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault            332 lap
Pastor Maldonado      Lotus-Renault            1 lap
Andre Lotterer        Caterham-Renault         1 lap

Drivers’ championship:

1. Nico Rosberg         220
2. Lewis Hamilton       191
3. Daniel Ricciardo     156
4. Fernando Alonso      121
5. Valtteri Bottas      110
6. Sebastian Vettel     98
7. Nico Hülkenberg      70
8. Jenson Button        68
9. Felipe Massa         40
10. Kimi Räikkönen       39
11. Kevin Magnussen      37
12. Sergio Pérez         33
13. Jean-Éric Vergne     11
14. Romain Grosjean      8
15. Daniil Kvyat         8
16. Jules Bianchi        2

Constructors’ champiuonship:

1. Mercedes               411
2. Red Bull-Renault       254
3. Ferrari                160
4. Williams-Mercedes      150
5. McLaren-Mercedes       105
6. Force India-Mercedes   103
7. Toro Rosso-Renault     19
8. Lotus-Renault          8
9. Marussia-Ferrari       2
10. Sauber-Ferrari         0
11. Caterham-Renault       0

Next race: Italian Grand Prix, Monza. September 5-7.

Rosberg masters wet conditions to take Spa pole

Rosberg Spa 2014

Championship leader Nico Rosberg achieved his fourth consecutive Formula 1 pole position in qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix.

Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton had to settle with second position after suffering braking problmes in Q3. Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel was the best of ‘division two’ in third, but was over two seconds adrift of the Silver Arrows.

Rain meant that the majority of qualifying was run using intermediate tyres and Rosberg’s first flying lap at the start of Q3, a time of two minute, 05.591 seconds, proved to be good enough for pole.

Although Rosberg did switch to a fresh set of intermediates and made a small improvement, he had already done enough to be secure the top spot. Nico ended up just over two tenths clear of his championship rival and Mercedes team-mate.

Hamilton set a slow time on his first flying lap, which was compromised by sliding wide at the La Source hairpin, leading him to ease off, but Lewis improved on his second attempt.

He then pitted for fresh intermediates and got down to a two minute, 05.819 seconds on his final Q3 lap, but this was only for second position.

Red Bull Racing’s Sebastian Vettel was third quickest, over two seconds slower than Rosberg, with Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso in fourth.

The champion duo had held third and fourth after the first runs, but improvements later on served only to defend their positions with the Mercedes drivers out of reach.

Hungarian Grand Prix winner Daniel Ricciardo, who had an off-track moment on his final attempt, was fifth fastest ahead of Valtteri Bottas in the Williams.

Kevin Magnussen outqualified McLaren team-mate Jenson Button, the duo ending up seventh and tenth.

In between the McLarens were Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa, with The Iceman losing out big time following his first run which meant he was bumped down from fifth to eighth place.

The Scuderia Toro Rosso pairing of Daniil Kvyat and Jean-Eric Vergne were the fastest of those eliminated in Q2.

Kvyat put in a lap that provisionally put him eighth in the closing stages of the session, but he was shuffled down the order by improvements by Magnussen, Button and Vettel, all of which were in the drop zone at times late on.

Sergio Perez was P13 ahead of Sauber driver Adrian Sutil, with Romain Grosjean P15.

Although Jules Bianchi was slowest in the middle part of qualifying, the Marussia driver was one of the stars in the wet qualifying session at Spa, reaching Q2 for the second consecutive year.

Pastor Maldonado appeared to have made it through to Q2 by improving his time on his final flying lap in a Q1 session that started off wet but improved throughout.

But the Lotus driver was bumped back down to P17 when Sutil also improved in the dying moments, with all the runners by then using intermediate rubber.

This also led to Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg being eliminated as he slipped down to P18 ahead of Marussia’s Max Chilton having been ahead of both Maldonado and Sutil as they started their final laps.

Hulkenberg admitted post-qualifying that he made a mistake at the end of his final lap, which cost him a couple of tenths. In addition, the ‘Hulk’ complained of a lack of braking feel.

Esteban Gutierrez did not have the opportunity to do a proper qualifying run as his Sauber stopped on his fifth lap while he was still on wet tyres.

This meant that the Mexican did not get to run in the best of the conditions, ending up ahead of the Caterhams.

Remarkably, Andre Lotterer outpaced his Caterham team-mate Marcus Ericsson to avoid starting his debut Grand Prix last, with the gap between the two almost one second.

Qualifying times from Spa-Francorchamps:

1. Nico Rosberg          Mercedes              2m05.591s
2. Lewis Hamilton        Mercedes              2m05.819s
3. Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault      2m07.717s
4. Fernando Alonso       Ferrari               2m07.786s
5. Daniel Ricciardo      Red Bull-Renault      2m07.911s
6. Valtteri Bottas       Williams-Mercedes     2m08.049s
7. Kevin Magnussen       McLaren-Mercedes      2m08.679s
8. Kimi Raikkonen        Ferrari               2m08.780s
9. Felipe Massa          Williams-Mercedes     2m09.178s
10. Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes      2m09.776s
11. Daniil Kvyat          Toro Rosso-Renault    2m09.377s
12. Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Renault    2m09.805s
13. Sergio Perez          Force India-Mercedes  2m10.084s
14. Adrian Sutil          Sauber-Ferrari        2m10.238s
15. Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault         2m11.087s
16. Jules Bianchi         Marussia-Ferrari      2m12.470s
17. Pastor Maldonado      Lotus-Renault         2m11.261s
18. Nico Hulkenberg       Force India-Mercedes  2m11.267s
19. Max Chilton           Marussia-Ferrari      2m12.566s
20. Esteban Gutierrez     Sauber-Ferrari        2m13.414s
21. Andre Lotterer        Caterham-Renault      2m13.469s
22. Marcus Ericsson       Caterham-Renault      2m14.438s

107 per cent time: 2m16.029s

Codemasters announce F1 2014 and F1 2015 video game

F1 2014 video game

Video games developer Codemasters have announced details on their upcoming Formula 1 games based on the 2014 and 2015 world championship.

The latest title will feature this year’s rules and regulations, in particular the new power units. F1 2014 will be released on October 17th on the seventh generation video game platforms.

As for the eighth generation, namely the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, Codemasters will take the unusual route of releasing F1 2015 before the actual new season starts thanks to live digital updates.

In the meantime, gamers will make do with F1 2014 on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC format, which will include all the updated teams, drivers and circuits.

Details on F1 2014 can be seen from the Codemasters blog:

Coming October 17th is F1 2014 on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC. Drawing upon all our experience in developing Formula 1 titles down the years, F1 2014 recreates this year’s incredible season featuring all the seismic changes to the sport, including new turbocharged cars, new circuits plus all the driver moves.

The game also includes refined handling on a pad and a new driver evaluation system that tunes game settings to your skill level to increase accessibility – we want all of our players to race competitively, more quickly. Of course, all the veterans of the series will be able to experience the true challenge of racing this year’s stunning generation of cars, featuring more explosive power delivery but less downforce, by customising your options and turning off all the assists.

Scenario mode has been expanded, we’ve refined career mode options and there’s more info to come, but for now we’ll let Stephen Hood, our creative director on F1, introduce you to some of the headline changes in the sport and the game.

There’s been a dramatic shift in the sport; the largest shake up in the rules and regulations for a very long time and the new power units provide a very different kind of challenge, for both driver and team. By delivering all of these changes, F1 2014 will make for an exciting and refreshingly different experience.

Additionally, with the new driver evaluation system analysing each player’s skill level and suggesting appropriate game settings, plus re-graded difficulty levels including a brand new Very Easy setting, we aim to deliver a thoroughly rewarding F1 experience for players of all abilities, from the novice to the seasoned pro.

All sounds very promising and after watching the teaser trailer, I certainly cannot wait to give these new turbo-powered racing cars a spin.