Ricciardo is a contender after Belgium Grand Prix

Ricciardo wins Belgium Grand Prix

Red Bull driver Daniel Riccardio won his third race of the year last weekend in the Belgium Grand Prix.  In his first year at Red Bull, he has become their number one driver over four time champion Sebastian Vettel.  A fan favorite, Ricciardo has become a respected driver in the paddock and now a legitimate contender for the 2014 FIA Formula One Championship.  While he has a long way to go to catch the Mercedes drivers, fans remember his teammate rattled off a Formula One record 9 straight victories to finish the 2013 season.  Ricciardo has now won two in a row with seven to go.

Ricciardo wins

Ricciardo wins third race of 2014 in Belgium

Following the race, the drivers championship shapes up as follows (through the Belgium Grand Prix):

1 Nico Rosberg German Mercedes 220
2 Lewis Hamilton British Mercedes 191
3 Daniel Ricciardo Australian Red Bull Racing-Renault 156
4 Fernando Alonso Spanish Ferrari 121
5 Valtteri Bottas Finnish Williams-Mercedes 110

2014 Formula 1 Schedule and Results

The Mercedes war continues

Prior to Belgium Grand Prix, only 11 points separated first place Nico Rosberg and teammate Lewis Hamilton.  The two have battled both on and off the track all year long with several controversial decisions by both drivers.  The results have been great for Mercedes, however, as they’ve taken 9 of the 11 races between the drivers.  In Belgium, however, the battle got out of hand.  On the second lap, Rosberg caused contact with Hamilton, damaging his car and knocking him out of the race.   Rosberg went on to finish second and gain 18 points in the championship, extending his lead and making a Hamilton comeback less likely.  With seven races to go, however, several possibilities could change the tide.   Considering all of the factors in a typical Formula 1 race, Rosberg could certainly have a race or two that he is unable to finish.   Also, the final race carries double points in 2014 in a rule experiment to keep more drivers in the hunt.

Collision at Belgium Grand Prix

Collision at Belgium Grand Prix

Rosberg has since apologized for causing the incident and has received a six-figure fine from his team.

F1 Fastpass: Lewis Hamilton

Complete results from the 2014 Belgium Grand Prix

Valtteri Bottas of Williams continued to impress by finding the podium again and Kimi Raikkonen had his best finish of the year at 4th.  Four time champion Sebastian Vettel made it a good day all around for Red Bull, finishing fifth and giving Red Bull the best team performance in addition to the win.

Pos No Driver Team Laps Time/Retired Grid Pts
1 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing-Renault 44 1:24:36.556 5 25
2 6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 44 +3.3 secs 1 18
3 77 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 44 +28.0 secs 6 15
4 7 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 44 +36.8 secs 8 12
5 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 44 +52.1 secs 3 10
6 22 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 44 +54.5 secs 10 8
7 14 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 44 +61.1 secs 4 6
8 11 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 44 +64.2 secs 13 4
9 26 Daniil Kvyat STR-Renault 44 +65.3 secs 11 2
10 27 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 44 +65.6 secs 18 1
11 25 Jean-Eric Vergne STR-Renault 44 +71.9 secs 12
12 20 Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 44 +74.2 secs 7
13 19 Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 44 +75.9 secs 9
14 99 Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 44 +82.4 secs 14
15 21 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 44 +90.8 secs 20
16 4 Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 43 +1 Lap 19
17 9 Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 43 +1 Lap 22
18 17 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 39 Gearbox 16
Ret 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 38 Damage 2
Ret 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 33 Damage 15
Ret 13 Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 1 Exhaust 17
Ret 45 Andre Lotterer Caterham-Renault 1 Power unit 21

Red Bull and Ricciardo Strike Back in Hungary

The new cars are getting faster

For the first time, a 2014 car beat the best lap from the 2013 season.   Several offseason changes were implemented that were intended to increase safety and efficiency.   After 12 races, however, no driver had set a faster lap at any of the tracks than the 2013 times.   The breakthrough came in Belgium, however when Nico Rosberg set a faster lap at Spa than the top speed last year.  We’ll see if the trend continues next week in Italy.

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