Daniel Ricciardo ensured Christian Horner's foot tapping was justified as he won a third race in 2014 despite a late charge from Nico Rosberg. Ricciardo now becomes a strong potential in the championship title, now 35 points behind a non-scoring Lewis Hamilton at the Belgian Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton was the victim in a clash with teammate and Championship leader Rosberg suffering a puncture and in turn damaged his floor. Hamilton lacking downforce and aerodynamic problems was forced to retire late in the race, not being able to get above 15th during the race.
The Mercedes duo lined up on the front row in Belgium and it was Lewis Hamilton who made a cracking start to lead out of La Source on the climb to Eau Rouge. Vettel catapulted ahead of Rosberg to challenge Hamilton down the Kemmel Straight to try and repeat last year's overtake on him at the same place but ran wide allowing Rosberg to retake 2nd place.
Rosberg on lap two had a a great tow on Hamilton coming out of Eau Rouge and was looking around the outside of Hamilton at Les Combes but clipped his left rear causing an immediate puncture. Hamilton limped back to the pits whilst Rosberg took the lead, albeit with a damaged front wing.
With a compromised Mercedes team, it was Red Bull once again who are ready to pounce in the early stages. Vettel made a mistake on lap 6 to allow Ricciardo through to second and quickly closed the gap on Rosberg. But with Rosberg not being able to push ahead of the Red Bull, Mercedes opted to bring Rosberg in and change the front wing. Ricciardo placed his dominance on a race for the remainder of it. Rosberg would come out having to make up for the lost time changing that wing, and a late last stop for soft tyres to try and catch Ricciardo did not end in the win he was aiming for.
It was a scintillating race through all 44 laps, with battles through the field. Bottas scored another fine podium and the first Ferrari home was Kimi Raikkonen, scoring by far his best result since his return to the Scuderia.
The final 4 laps though included a great tussle between Vettel, Magnussen, Button and Alonso who swapped places so many times it was just great to see such close fighting.
Chilton finished 16th after Bianchi retired, and rookie Andre Lotterer unfortunately retired very early on and we are left wondering whether we will see him return to try F1 again.
F1 leaves Belgium with the focus on Mercedes for the wrong reasons again. Nico Rosberg booed and jeered during the podium ceremony and Niki Lauda commenting on Sky Sports F1 portioned the blame squarely on the shoulder of Nico Rosberg. Clear frustration for Lauda on it happening on the second lap of the race, and Toto Wolff simply stating the whole incident as, "Unacceptable".
But it was another faultless drive by Daniel Ricciardo and on a circuit Red Bull Racing were very open in saying they wouldn't be good at. Seven races to go and Rosberg is now 29 points clear – those 50 points up for grabs in Abu Dhabi are suddenly looking very critical.