Nico Rosberg rode his luck to open up a clear 29-points championship advantage over Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton on Sunday when he finished second behind triumphant Australian Daniel Ricciardo in the Belgian Grand Prix.
Ricciardo, of Red Bull, won with a bold and well-judged drive in an intriguing and dramatic race that saw Hamilton lead from the start, but suffer a second-lap puncture following a collision with Rosberg.
The damage wrecked Hamilton`s race and may have ruined his title bid with seven of this year`s 19 races remaining.
"I have apologised to Lewis... A bad result for Lewis and a bad result for the Mercedes team," said Mercedes team chief Niki Lauda.
After struggling to regain his momentum, the 29-year-old Briton retired with four of the 44 laps remaining leaving Rosberg content to take his first podium finish in Belgium at the eighth attempt.
He came in 3.3 seconds behind the beaming Ricciardo, who notched up Red Bull`s 50th win in Formula One.
It was Ricciardo`s third win in six races in his first season with Red Bull since succeeding fellow Australian Mark Webber as teammate to four-time champion Sebastian Vettel of Germany, who came home fifth.