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Nico leads lights to flag Silver Arrows charge at Spa

Aug 282016

Sit tight and hold on; F1 is back with a bang. Nico Rosberg claimed the first win available after the summer break, while team mate Lewis Hamilton cut through the pack to make it a Silver Arrows double podium after an intense and chaotic 2016 Belgian Grand Prix.

The annual visit to the legendary Spa Francorchamps signals two things. First off, the drivers and crews have reformed after a near month long hiatus, eager to go wheel-to-wheel again on the black top. Secondly, it also gives the green light to the final eight races of the year, destined to take place at incredible venues like Monza, Suzuka, Singapore’s Marina Bay, and the fan favorite Interlagos in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Understandably then, that’s why Nico couldn’t hide his smile as he jumped out of his Mercedes F1 W07 in parc-ferme, having crossed the line 14 seconds ahead of second placed Daniel Ricciardo, and third placed Lewis Hamilton.

 

“I am so happy to win here in Spa at this legendary track. It wasn't an easy weekend for us. We had to work a lot on the setup - but in the race it was perfect. The stints on the medium tyres were really good and I felt really comfortable at the start on the softs too. Our car was really great today, so thank you to the team for all their hard work in getting it spot on.

 

Although the win – Nico’s 20th of his F1 career to date – brings him within nine points of current  leader and team mate Lewis Hamilton, he is all too aware of challenge ahead, as Lewis has now cleared the penalty for changing three power units.

“It's great for the team that Lewis was able to recover to finish in third place, so overall a great result for us,” continued Nico. “Now, it's only a few days until Monza. The penalties for Lewis made things easier for me today - but he will be back in the battle for the win again next weekend, which will be exciting.”

 

“If you'd offered me third coming into this race with all the penalties I would definitely have taken it. I really wasn't expecting that,” explains Lewis. “As I said yesterday, I really didn't know what would be possible. I'm incredibly proud of my guys in the garage and back at the factory for building these engines and changing these engines this week.

 

Changing so many parts on the car, it would have been easy to make mistakes. But the guys did an exceptional job and all three Power Units worked flawlessly. I was trying to keep my head down all weekend and focus on the long-run paces. It seemed to work and pay off. This is great for Mercedes and still great for the championship. I'd have had an even better time if I went into the summer break knowing I'd come out nine points ahead still after three new engines. So I'm very grateful. I really can't believe that we came up so far to be honest. I woke up this morning knowing how difficult it would be on these tyres, but you can never predict what's going to happen in the race. The great thing about motor racing is that, since I was eight years old, every Sunday has been different.  Your car's positioned in a different way, your starts a bit different, something happens up front, previous races there were no incidents, today there was. This is the best result I could have hoped for.”

Race result:
1    Nico Rosberg        Mercedes        1h44m51.058s
2    Daniel Ricciardo    Red Bull/Renault    14.113s
3    Lewis Hamilton    Mercedes        27.634s
4    Nico Hulkenberg    Force India/Mercedes    35.907s
5    Sergio Perez        Force India/Mercedes    40.660s
6    Sebastian Vettel    Ferrari            45.394s
7    Fernando Alonso    McLaren/Honda        59.445s
8    Valtteri Bottas        Williams/Mercedes    1m00.151s
9    Kimi Raikkonen        Ferrari            1m01.109s
10    Felipe Massa        Williams/Mercedes    1m05.873s
11    Max Verstappen    Red Bull/Renault    1m11.138s
12    Esteban Gutierrez    Haas/Ferrari        1m13.877s
13    Romain Grosjean    Haas/Ferrari        1m16.474s
14    Daniil Kvyat        Toro Rosso/Ferrari    1m27.097s
15    Jolyon Palmer        Renault            1m33.165s
16    Esteban Ocon        Manor/Mercedes    1 Lap
17    Felipe Nasr        Sauber/Ferrari        1 Lap
-    Kevin Magnussen    Renault            Crash
-    Marcus Ericsson    Sauber/Ferrari        Retirement
-    Carlos Sainz        Toro Rosso/Ferrari    Retirement
-    Jenson Button        McLaren/Honda        Collision
-    Pascal Wehrlein    Manor/Mercedes    Collision

 

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