A chaotic start brought his teammate back to the podium, but Nico Rosberg was simply untouchable in Belgium If there’s a lesson to be learnt from Nico Rosberg’s victory on the Sunday, it’s that the best way to survive the chaos is to never be amongst it in the first place. With teammate Lewis Hamilton starting at the other end of the grid, Rosberg was able to keep one step ahead of a pack that resumed the F1 season in chaotic fashion. Five cars exited the race in the first six laps, including Renault’s Kevin Magnussen, whose heavy crash into the barriers at Eau Rouge eventually red-flagged the race on lap 10. A race flying in stark contrast to Rosberg’s, the German enjoyed a leisurely drive en route to his sixth win of the season. Kicking things off with a three-car collision between Kimi Raikkonen, Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen at the first corner, the tone was set for what would be a high-attrition start to the race, with Marcus Ericsson, Jenson Button, Carlos Sainz and Pascal Wehrlein all preceding Magnussen’s exit. Unfortunately for Rosberg, one of the biggest beneficiaries of the first-half carnage was Hamilton, with the Brit eventually making his way to third behind Rosberg and Daniel Ricciardo, all the way from his back-row start. All in all, Sunday’s race was a welcome return after four weeks away – there’s only so much dressage or rhythmic gymnastics a revhead can take – so read on for a look at all the big talking points from the 2016 Belgian Grand Prix. Rosberg wins… but so does Hamilton It may not have been true of your under-sevens rec soccer league, but as far as Mercedes are concerned, everyone was a winner on Sunday. That might seem like a strange notion given Nico Rosberg was the man hoisting the trophy, but in this season-long war between himself and Lewis Hamilton, it was a strategic win for the latter as much as it was a tactical one for the former. With Hamilton forced to take multiple engine penalties and start from the back, this was the weekend Rosberg could hope to take a serious chunk – if not the whole enchilada – out of his teammate’s championship lead. And certainly, the German did his part, putting the car on pole and getting away cleanly at the start, he was able to cruise to the chequered flag. However, F1 has a way of throwing even the most straightforward of scenarios out the window, and Sunday was no exception, as the aforementioned incidents gave Hamilton the boost he needed to climb back onto the podium. Now Rosberg heads to Monza still nine points behind his teammate, with two engines left to Hamilton’s three – as well-earned a win as that was for Rosberg, through no fault of his own, it could hardly be less acceptable. For all the misfortune Hamilton has endured to put him in such a spot at Spa, this is about as fortunate as he’s had it in 2016. It seemed all Rosberg had to do was perform to the level of the car that was given to him – which is exactly what he did – and he’d find himself level after the summer break. Luck can work both ways – it just so happened on Sunday it was decidedly in Hamilton’s favour. The Verstappening Continues Ah, the Summer holidays. An ideal time to relax, reflect, and clear your head – unless you’re Max Verstappen, that is. Getting right back to his confrontational best, it all kicked off at the first corner with Verstappen getting caught trying to go up the inside of familiar foe Kimi Raikkonen while the Finn was being pushed inwards by Sebastian Vettel, an incident the Dutchman claimed “screwed up my entire race”. Adding to the animosity, Verstappen and Raikkonen later engaged in a duel that culminated on lap 13 with the Dutchman employing a move down the Kemmel straight that was at best “late” defending and at worst, obvious blocking – in either case, it was extremely fortunate not to have the Finn’s front wing end up in his cockpit. Unsurprisingly, Verstappen has drawn a sizable amount of ire from across the paddock for his performance on Sunday, albeit not from the one source that has some the power to actually discipline him – the race stewards. At this point, it seems pretty unlikely the stewards are going to clamp down on Verstappen’s style of defending, as he’s done it consistently enough now that a precedent has been set, at least under their current methodology. Whether he begins to accept the sport’s “unwritten rules” of wheel-to-wheel racing is another question entirely, but given his defiant stance post-race, that seems unlikely to happen anytime soon. Perhaps the biggest cause for concern is Verstappen’s reasoning behind his behaviour being due to Vettel and Raikkonen running into him at the start, suggesting that such an incident is justification alone for what transpired on lap 13. Not only is that erroneous (If either Ferrari driver was to blame at the first corner, it was Vettel) but incredibly dangerous when a driver is thinking about revenge in future engagements. F1 has a storied history of drivers gesticulating, arguing and passive-aggressive water-drinking, and that is how personal disputes should always be settled. Nine races into his Red Bull career, Verstappen has thrilled and infuriated in equal measure. Speaking post-race, Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff described Verstappen as “refreshing but dangerous”, which is a perfect summation of the Dutchman in his current state. The inverse of all this criticism is that we as F1 fans want drivers who show such fearlessness – what Verstappen needs is not necessarily a greater sense of self-preservation as it is forethought, both for how such incidents can affect his race, and how they influence the way other drivers race with him in the future. Right now, it doesn’t seem like he’s learned anything, and the unfortunate reality may very well be (as Wolff himself suggested) that the only teacher who can reach him might be a wall. Force India Leapfrog Williams in Battle of the Customers Watch out Williams, Force India is coming for you. Leading 51-8 just four races into the season, Williams now find themselves two points back of Force India after the Silverstone outfit enjoyed another impressive Sunday, with Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez finishing P4 and 5 respectively. Undoubtedly helped by the early carnage, there’s no denying Force India’s pace relative to Williams is completely legit – with their points gain on Sunday just making it official. Force India has now had the highest-finisher of the two teams at three races running, both on Saturday and Sunday, and in Hulkenberg and Perez, they have a pair that has been more consistently impressive than their counterparts at Williams, all of which has to have the nine-time constructor’s champions at least a little nervous. Given the financial situations at both teams, the battle for fourth is shaping up to be the most interesting constructor battle of the 2016 season. Judging by their current progress fourth will be a realistic target for McLaren in 2017, meaning that for Force India and Williams, any extra dollars won now could be the difference in staying on-top of the inevitable three-way fight next year. Who finishes fifth this year could be sixth the next, and that would be a tough pill to swallow for two teams that have at different times, showed so much promise. Eight races left, millions on the line, it’s certainly a battle to keep an eye on. Who was the bigger “winner” at Mercedes? Does Verstappen need to spend some time in the corner? Have Force India got the upper hand on Williams? Sound off in the comments below.