Nico Rosberg has cruised to a dominant victory at a drama-filled Belgian Grand Prix ahead of Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo and Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton who made an excellent recovery from the back to complete the podium.
Nico Rosberg produced a faultless drive from start to finish to win an action-packed and controversial Belgian Grand Prix at the historic Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps after the two Ferrari’s of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Räikkönen and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen clipped each other on the opening lap at the first corner of La Source.
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo avoided the chaos earlier on and finished in second place, meanwhile Lewis Hamilton made an excellent recovery from the rear of the field following his engine penalties to take third, meaning that the Briton still holds a nine-point lead over Mercedes team-mate Rosberg in the World Drivers Championship.
When the 44 lap race began, Rosberg got off to a great start to ensure he made it to La Source first, but the Red Bull of Verstappen suffered wheel-spin and fell back into the path of the Ferrari’s.
Whilst trying to recover from that horrid start, Verstappen dived up the inside of both SF16-H racers of Vettel and Räikkönen, but the Ferrari duo clipped each other with Räikkönen stuck in the middle and squeezed into Verstappen’s path.
All three drivers went straight into the pits at the end of lap one to put on a new set of tyres meanwhile Räikkönen and Verstappen also changed their damaged front wings after their collision.
Rosberg maintained his lead from Force India’s Nico Hülkenberg and Ricciardo in the early part before Renault’s Kevin Magnussen suffered a nasty crash as the rear of his RS16 racer snapped away as he went through the fast Raidillon.
Magnussen came out of the shunt unscathed but was seen limping away from the scene with the help of some marshals and after the first Safety Car period, the race officials called for the red flag on lap 10 to stop the race so the barriers could be repaired.
Magnussen was taken to hospital after suffering an ankle injury following his nasty crash.
Four drivers also ended their race early on with Manor’s Pascal Wehrlein ramming the rear of Jenson Button’s McLaren into Les Combes, Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz Jr. suffered a puncture on the Kemmel Straight and spun-out over the kerbs destroying the rear of his STR11 and Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson retired due to technical problems.
During the red flag situation and under the current rules, all drivers could change their tyres, which gave the entire field a ‘free’ pit-stop and stopped some strategic play in it’s tracks.
When the race was restarted after the Safety Car went in, Rosberg charged away from Ricciardo and built up a solid gap again, in which the German secured perfectly after the final round of pit-stops to come out comfortably with a 10 second gap to the Australian.
Hülkenberg was running well in second after the chaotic early stages, but dropped behind Ricciardo when he switched his red-marked Super Soft compounds and the German could not keep a faster Hamilton behind him to hold third.
Hülkenberg still achieved his best result of the season by finishing fourth and ahead of team-mate Sergio Pérez who rounded out the top five, as Force India move in-front of Williams into fourth in the Constructors Championship.
Vettel made a great recovery to finish in sixth place after his first lap drama with team-mate Raikkonen and Verstappen.
The German made up some late passes on Williams Martini’s Felipe Massa on his second attack at the Brazilian and McLaren-Honda’s Fernando Alonso.
Alonso put on a great performance from the back of the pack, setting decent lap times in the closing stages of the race to finish seventh and keep the other Williams of Valtteri Bottas and Ferrari’s Räikkönen behind him.
Massa completed the top 10 for Williams and took the final point for the Grove-based squad, as the Brazilian pace continued to fade in the closing stages with Verstappen finishing outside the top 10 in 11th position.
Verstappen was once again involved in an early battle with Räikkönen and put on some questionable defensive blocking which left Räikkönen furious over the radio.
The Haas pairing of Esteban Gutiérrez and Romain Grosjean finished in 12th and 13th respectively ahead of 13th placed Toro Rosso of Daniil Kvyat and the 14th placed Renault of Jolyon Palmer the last of the drivers to finish on the lead lap.
Manor’s new kid on the block Esteban Ocon finished a lap down on his debut in 16th place as the other Sauber of Felipe Nasr ended the race at the back of the field after receiving a five-second time penalty due to exceeding track limits.
The Full 2016 Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix Results Classification
|1||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes||44 laps|
|2||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||+14.11|
|4||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||+35.90|
|5||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||+40.66|
|11||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||+1:11.13|
|14||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||+1:27.09|
|16||Esteban Ocon||Manor/Mercedes||+1 Lap|
|17||Felipe Nasr||Sauber/Ferrari||+1 Lap|
|DNF||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||Retirement|
2016 World Driver’s Championship – Top 5
- Lewis Hamilton – 232 Points.
- Nico Rosberg – 223 Points.
- Daniel Ricciardo – 151 Points.
- Sebastian Vettel – 128 Points.
- Kimi Raikkonen – 124 Points.
2016 World Constructors Championship Standings
- Mercedes AMG F1 – 455 Points.
- Red Bull Racing – 274 Points.
- Scuderia Ferrari – 252 Points.
- Force India F1 Team – 103 Points.
- Williams Martini Racing – 101 Points.
- McLaren-Honda F1 – 48 Points.
- Scuderia Toro Rosso – 45 Points.
- Haas F1 Team – 28 Points.
- Renault Sport F1 – 6 Points.
- Manor Racing Team – 1 Point.
- Sauber F1 Team – 0 Points.
Round 14 of the 2016 FIA Formula One World Championship heads straight to another historic circuit next weekend, the Autodromo Nazionale Monza for the Formula 1 Gran Premio Heineken D’Italia 2016 from September 2-4.