Daniel Ricciardo took his first win in Formula 1 at a topsy-turvy Canadian Grand Prix. The Australian was able to capitalise when the dominant Mercedes’ were struck by technical issues.
The script for the race seemed to be set when Nico Rosberg beat his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton to pole position by less than a tenth of a second. And the expected inter-team battle did indeed play out for much of the first half of the race. Rosberg got the jump on Hamilton on the run down to the first turn when the lights went out at the start of the race. But Hamilton ran wide at turn 2, which allowed Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel to slot in behind Rosberg. The safety car was deployed at the end of the first lap after Max Chilton slid luridly into fellow Marussia pilot Jules Bianchi, taking them both out of the race.
After the restart Hamilton was able to to pass Vettel and set off after Rosberg. A delay during his pitstop meant the 2008 world champion was not able to vault Rosberg and they ran line-astern. Hamilton lined up an overtake with his DRS open on the run to the chicane on lap 25, but Rosberg locked his front brakes and had to straight-line the turn. With no penalty given, Hamilton had to start again. He got his chance at the second round of stops when it was Rosberg’s turn to have issues and he took the lead.
At around half-distance, both the Mercedes cars reported a loss of power that allowed the following pack to close at a rate of two seconds per lap. Hamilton’s problems were compounded when he locked up at the hairpin, allowing Rosberg back through, then he suffered rear brake failure as he tried to repass into the chicane and was forced to retire.
Rosberg struggled on but he was defenceless as a charging Ricciardo took the lead with two laps remaining. The win was assured when Felipe Massa’s Williams and Sergio Perez’s Force India, scrapping for fourth, collided at turn 1 on the final lap and safety car conditions were imposed. Both drivers were taken to the medical centre after the huge impact – Massa sustained 27g – but they were later released.
Behind Ricciardo and Rosberg, Vettel finished third and Jenson Button was an unlikely fourth in his McLaren after the final lap carnage. Fernando Alonso was the best Ferrari in sixth.
Hamilton’s retirement means he now trails Rosberg by 22 points in the championship standings. Ricciardo is a distant third, 61 points adrift. But despite the deficits, it is probably still too early to call the championship in anyone’s favour as there are still 12 rounds of the 19 race season remaining.
Formula 1 returns to Austria for the next race at the Red Bull Ring on 22 June.
Canadian GP results after 70 laps
- Daniel Ricciardo — Red Bull-Renault — 1h39m.280s
- Nico Rosberg — Mercedes — +4.236s
- Sebastian Vettel — Red Bull-Renault — +5.247s
- Jenson Button — McLaren-Mercedes — +11.755s
- Nico Hulkenberg — Force India-Mercedes — +12.843s
- Fernando Alonso — Ferrari — +14.869s
- Valtteri Bottas — Williams-Mercedes — +23.578s
- Jean-Eric Vergne — Toro Rosso-Renault — +28.026s
- Kevin Magnussen — McLaren-Mercedes — +29.254s
- Kimi Raikkonen — Ferrari — +53.678s
- Sergio Perez — Force India-Mercedes — -1 lap
- Felipe Massa — Williams-Mercedes — -1 lap
- Adrian Sutil — Sauber-Ferrari — -1 lap
- Esteban Gutierrez — Sauber-Ferrari — -6 laps