The second lap collision between title rivals and Mercedes teammates Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg drew away attention from some amazing drives by Daniel Ricciardo, Valtteri Bottas, Kimi Raikkonen, among others. Two of them have been in fine form this season while one of them has had a poor year up till now. Apart from the trio, Jenson Button and Daniil Kvyat also made it into the list of our top five drivers of the Belgian Grand Prix.
Just like in Canada and Hungary, Daniel Ricciardo was again in the mix to pick up the pieces after the Mercedes pair ran into trouble. The key to his third victory of the season was overtaking Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel in the early stages of the race. The Australian was beaten by his teammate in qualifying in tricky conditions but on Sunday when the world champion made a mistake at turn five, Ricciardo quickly pounced to take second place in the race. And when Nico Rosberg pitted on lap eight for fresh tyres and a new nose, the 25 year old took over the lead of the race. From there, he managed his tyres well and easily beat three-stopper Rosberg to victory at Spa.
Had the qualifying been dry, Williams would have locked second row of the grid. But in wet conditions, all they could manage was sixth and ninth. Bottas, who was ahead of the Williams duo on the grid, completed a longer 12 lap first first stint on the option tyres, allowing him to have a smaller final stint. With fresher tyres and a significant speed advantage, the Finn overtook his experienced countrymen in the latter part of the race to record his fourth podium of the season. It was a masterful drive by the 24 year old who continues to impress everyone in the paddock.
Spa turned out to be the perfect venue for Kimi Raikkonen to bounce back after a disastrous first half of the season. With a car not upto his liking, Raikkonen has struggled to be anywhere close to his teammate in terms of pace. But at last weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix, the Finn drove extremely well to take his season best result of fourth place. An early stop on lap eight gave the 2007 world champion an important advantage over his rivals and served as the basis of his final result.
With rumours linger over his future at McLaren, Jenson Button drove well at Spa to take sixth at the chequered flag. The Brit played the long game in the race, extending his first stint to stand a better chance at the end of the race. He almost overtook his teammate Kevin Magnussen at turn 8, but was forced to take avoiding action - something that cost him a position to Sebastian Vettel. Nevertheless, the 2009 world champion finished in sixth place and helped McLaren leapfrog Force India in the constructors standings.
Jean Eric Vergne has always been good in wet conditions but on Saturday, it was Daniil Kvyat who qualified ahead. In the race too, when it was bone dry, he stayed ahead of the Frenchman and added two crucial points to his tally. He needs to be given credit for fending off Nico Hulkenberg in Force India during the closing stages of the race who was on faster option tyres.