Nico Rosberg wins Belgian Grand Prix


Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg, left, yesterday leads the pack in the opening lap of the Belgian Grand Prix at the Spa-Francorchamps race track near Francorchamps, Belgium.Aug 29, 2016 Photo: EPA

German Nico Rosberg yesterday eased to victory in a chaotic Belgian Formula One Grand Prix.

The Mercedes driver crossed the line 14.1 seconds ahead of Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo.

World championship leader Lewis Hamilton, starting on the back row of the grid after taking a 55-place engine-related grid penalty, clawed his way back up the field to finish third.

Rosberg’s sixth win of the season cut teammate Hamilton’s lead in the standings to nine points with eight races remaining.

The race was briefly halted in the early stages after a massive crash for Renault’s Kevin Magnussen.

The Dane was taken to hospital for routine checks after suffering a cut to his left ankle in the high-speed crash.

The Dane lost control of his car as he crested the fast uphill sweep of the Eau Rouge corner and slammed violently into the barriers.

Magnussen, who had started 12th, got out of the car on his own, but was limping slightly. He underwent checks at the medical center before being taken to hospital.

“He is fully conscious and responsive,” Renault said in a statement. “He has a small cut to the left ankle and has been escorted to a nearby hospital for further routine checks.”

Magnussen’s crash prompted a temporary halt to the race as marshals worked to repair tire barriers damaged in the impact.

Meanwhile, Veteran driver Jenson Button said he is still considering his options for next season and is open to a move away from Formula One if the right challenge comes along.

The 2009 champion is in the final year of his contract with McLaren and a decision is expected by the end of next month.

McLaren also must decide whether to stick with Button alongside Fernando Alonso for next year, or replace Button with Belgian driver Stoffel Vandoorne.

“I do have a few options in Formula One, which is great for me to still feel wanted,” the 36-year-old Button said at the Belgian Grand Prix. “But whether I am here or not, we will see in the next few weeks. My aim has always been to be able to win races in F1, and if this is not possible for me I will go and do something else.”

Button, who has won 15 GP races, is not saying what the other options are. Former F1 driver Mark Webber, for example, has made a successful transition to the World Endurance Championship.

However, Button hinted his future might even be outside of racing.

“I will do something where I can compete,” he said. “Whether it is racing or something else we will see. Probably I will surprise myself with my decision.”

Mercedes head of Motorsport Toto Wolff was recently quoted by Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws as saying McLaren would be “crazy” not to take him next year.

“I like the boy, he deserves a seat in Formula One. He’s dominated GP2 in a way that’s very special,” Wolff said. “If guys like Stoffel do not come into Formula One, the system is wrong.”