Sunday, 24 August 2014

Belgian Grand Prix: Foul play in Spa...

I was in no doubt, as Nico Rosberg drove in to Lewis Hamilton and broke his front wing against Lewis' left rear tyre, that the collision was deliberate. Formula One drivers race wheel to wheel, two and three cars abreast, weaving and making split second decisions, and yet Nico was unable to avoid such an avoidable incident. If there was any doubt about Nico's intentions, then they were instantly quashed, after the podium celebrations, when the Executive Director of the Mercedes Formula One Team, Toto Wolff, was interviewed by the BBC. It was clear what his opinion was and the anger was evident in his demeanour. It wasn't only Wolff who made his feelings known on the subject. Niki Lauda, usually a big supporter of Nico Rosberg, was furious with the driver as well and both of them alluded to the fact that Nico is in deep trouble.

I still believe that this isn't the first time Nico has cheated, to help himself or Mercedes. He did it in China, when he spun in the final minute of Q3, on the start/finish straight, preventing anybody from putting in competitive times. He did it in Monaco, in a similar incident, when he feigned incompetence, had a big lock up in the final minute, and wrecking everybody's final fast laps. And now, today, he has done it again by blatantly destroying Hamilton's race. People tip toe around it and defend the German, race after race, but these drivers work to an incomprehensible level of precision and to claim that one of the men fighting for the Championship can make this many 'convenient' errors, implies a level of incompetency that is laughable.

To get back to the fair racing, it appeared that we were going to be treated to another last lap climax, and it came, just not where we expected. It looked like Nico Rosberg would catch up to Daniel Ricciardo just before the end, however Nico was simply unable to close the gap and the Aussie smiler was on the top step again. Ricciardo is becoming a real fan favourite and he takes Red Bull Racing's total win tally up to fifty. The Climactic finish came further down the order, where the battle for fifth was taking place, between Magnussen, Alonso, Button and Vettel. The action through the last three laps, for these four drivers, was the most confusing edge-of-the-seat racing I've ever seen. It would take about fifteen minutes to describe all of the position changes, but essentially Sebastian Vettel ended up at the front of that pack in fifth, whilst Fernando Alonso dropped off at the end with a problem and finished eighth. Driver of the Day is a difficult one this week but I would have to say that I think Vettel's success in that final fifth place battle earns him the accolade.

It was a thrilling race, with a fair amount of controversy and one big story that has been brewing and simmering for the last few months. I predict there will be plenty more twists and turns in the story of Hamilton and Rosberg's rocky relationship, before the end of the season.

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The Result:
13Daniel RicciardoRed Bull Racing-Renault441:24:36.556525
26Nico RosbergMercedes44+3.3 secs118
377Valtteri BottasWilliams-Mercedes44+28.0 secs615
47Kimi RäikkönenFerrari44+36.8 secs812
51Sebastian VettelRed Bull Racing-Renault44+52.1 secs310
622Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes44+54.5 secs108
714Fernando AlonsoFerrari44+61.1 secs46
811Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes44+64.2 secs134
926Daniil KvyatSTR-Renault44+65.3 secs112
1027Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes44+65.6 secs181
1125Jean-Eric VergneSTR-Renault44+71.9 secs12
1220Kevin MagnussenMcLaren-Mercedes44+74.2 secs7
1319Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes44+75.9 secs9
1499Adrian SutilSauber-Ferrari44+82.4 secs14
1521Esteban GutierrezSauber-Ferrari44+90.8 secs20
164Max ChiltonMarussia-Ferrari43+1 Lap19
179Marcus EricssonCaterham-Renault43+1 Lap22
1817Jules BianchiMarussia-Ferrari39Gearbox16
Ret44Lewis HamiltonMercedes38Damage2
Ret8Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault33Damage15
Ret13Pastor MaldonadoLotus-Renault1Exhaust17
Ret45Andre LottererCaterham-Renault1Power unit21