Hamilton And Rosberg Collide; Ricciardo Wins Third GP In Belgium

Nico Rosberg (right) strikes teammate Lewis Hamilton on lap two during Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix at Spa, Belgium. Daniel Ricciardo went on to win his third grand prix of the season. [Photo by Getty Images]

SPA-FRANCHOCHAMPS, Belgium- After Mercedes teammates Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton collided on the second lap of Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix, Daniel Ricciardo kept his composure to just hold off a recovered Rosberg to win his second race of the season and the third of his career. Valterri Bottas collected another podium for Williams by finishing third.

It was the first time that Ricciardo led and had to hold a grand prix lead, but the Australian felt that it was not the same as coming from behind to win, something he did at the last race in Hungary.

“It was definitely a little bit different”. He said. “When you lead the race, it is definitely more about your composure and your lap times. You need to be consistent as possible. (Nico) Rosberg came in quick, and we knew it was going to be close, so we needed to keep our laps times up and keep it clean.”

Following rainy weather the previous day, the start was clear with only a small chance of precipitation, which never came. Going into the first turn at La Source, both Rosberg and Hamilton shot out in front, but Sebastian Vettel challenged the two aggressively, but could not overtake either of the Mercedes drivers. However, by lap two, the Mercedes duo came out of Kemmel straight and were both about to make a right hand turn at Les Combes, when Rosberg hesitated and struck his teammates rear left tire, flattening it altogether. It ruined Hamilton’s chances for the day and the Briton retired midway through the race. This gave Ricciardo the chance to take the lead once Rosberg went into the pits to repair his broken right wing and get new tires. The Australian had already overtaken Vettel at Puchon on lap eight and now had an open road to increase his lead.

Fernando Alonso began the race in fourth, but right before the starting lights went out, his team had to restart the car and did not get off the grid in time when the cars did their formation lap, which resulted in the team being issued a stop/go penalty. But Alonso recovered and with ten laps to go, the Spaniard was in the mix fighting for fifth, along with the McLaren duo of Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen. At this point, Ricciardo had an outstanding 22 second lead, and just came in for his second and final tire stop.

However, Rosberg had come in afterwards, and with fresher tires, the German managed to close the gap on the Australian. Lap after lap went by, but Ricciardo just had enough time left to beat the Mercedes driver by 3.3 seconds to take his third win of the year. Among the rest, Kimi Raikkonen had his best finish for Ferrari with fourth place, while Vettel won his battle over the McLaren duo by taking fifth. Magnussen and Button were next in sixth and seventh, respectively, while Alonso, Sergio Perez and Dani Kvyat rounded out the top ten.

Afterwards, the close finish gave Ricciardo one thought about being in this situation.

“The first thing you think about is that you hope that everything holds together and you hope that everything you have gets you to the finish line.” He concluded.

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