Daniel Ricciardo has taken his first Formula One Grand Prix win in the 2014 Canadian Grand Prix after a thrilling race where the two Mercedes cars suffered mechanical issues which cost them another 1-2 finish.
Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton had duelled for the lead for most of the race before the pair developed a loss in power. The pair started to lose time to the cars behind, before Hamilton developed a brake failure as well, forcing the Englishman to retire from the race. Nico would continue to take 2nd, with Sebastian Vettel claiming the final spot on the podium.
The start of the race had seen Hamilton get an excellent getaway at lights out, with the #44 car drawing alongside his team-mate as they approached turn 1. Rosberg had the inside line however and locked up his brakes at the apex. Rosberg was forced out slightly wide which put Hamilton off track. Rosberg managed to make the turn to take the lead, but Hamilton lost 2nd to Sebastian Vettel.
The race was put on pause almost as soon as hit had begun as the safety car came out for a crash at the turn 3 and 4 chicane. Max Chilton appeared to lose the rear of his car which put him into the back of his team-mate Jules Bianchi. The rear of Bianchi’s car was destroyed as it his the wall at turn 4, with oil leaking from the car. Both cars were out of the race; a stark contrast to Monaco a few weeks ago where Marussia earned their first points in Formula One. Max would earn a 3 place grid penalty for the collision after the race.
The mass of debris at turn 4 meant that the race wouldn’t be restarted until lap 8, with Rosberg getting a brilliant restart to leap away from Vettel in 2nd. Hamilton couldn’t use his superior straight-line speed to pass Vettel initially, but after a pain-staking two laps the Mercedes got a good exit out of the turn 10 chicane to blast past the Red Bull. 2.1 seconds separated Lewis from Nico.
The first pit-stop phase began earlier than many may have expected, with Grosjean being the first to jump. Ricciardo was in the next lap by, with Vettel, Vergne, Alonso, Massa and more stopping in the next few laps. Massa had an awful pit-stop which was 7 seconds in length due to a wheel not being ready for him.
Rosberg came into the pits with the gap reduced between himself and Hamilton. A moment on his out-lap at turn 4 almost saw the German slide into the wall, but he managed to control the slide and live to fight on. Hamilton stayed out two laps longer than Rosberg and emerged 2 seconds behind after his first of two pit-stops.
Prior to the race start, 36 drivers had cut the final chicane during the weekend. Daniil Kvyat was the first man to add to that tally during the race as he avoided the chicane when Raikkonen attempted an overtake on lap 21. The Ferrari team were peeved when they heard that no penalty for an unfair advantage would be given to the Russian rookie.
It wouldn’t be the last time that the chicane would be cut during the race. Lewis Hamilton had the bit between his teeth after his pit-stop and managed to get into the DRS activation zone of Rosberg. Hamilton closed onto the back of Rosberg, but the German locked up. Nico couldn’t get the car stopped and missed the chicane. He put his foot down on the accelerator instead of lifting off and managed to set the fastest lap of the race and importantly pull out almost a second over hard-charging Hamilton. The incident was put under investigation, but no penalty was given to Rosberg. He was given a final warning, but was then told to save fuel. This allowed Hamilton to creep back towards Nico in the next few laps.
The Force India drivers were considered podium contenders in the run up to qualifying, but both Hulkenburg and Perez had suffered a bad qualifying session. The team decided to put them both on a 1 stop strategy, which saw the pair holding up Vettel and Bottas in 5th and 6th. Sergio Perez was on the super-soft compound that many had started on, but had managed to get them to last until lap 34; only 2 laps before Valtteri Bottas pitted for a 2nd time.
Back at the front of the field, Hamilton started to drop back from Rosberg in the fight for the victory. Lewis got on the radio and reported that he was loosing power massively. A lap later, Rosberg reported the same issue, with both Mercedes cars suddenly becoming the 2 slowest cars on the circuit with no solution available to the power problem.
The second phase of pit-stops occurred shortly after the Mercedes cars reported their problems. Nico Hulkenburg came in for his one and only stop for Force India, with everyone bar Felipe Massa and the Mercedes drivers following shortly after for their 2nd stops. Williams decided to split their strategies, with Bottas having already pitted and Massa trying to make it to the end to snatch victory from the power handicapped Mercedes cars.
The plan worked initially, with Rosberg pitting on lap 45, followed by team-mate Hamilton the next lap. Massa hadn’t stopped and had reduced the gap sufficiently to take the lead of the race.
Hamilton had emerged ahead of Rosberg but then ran wide at the hairpin, allowing Rosberg a chance to get back past. The pair were side-by-side as they approached the final chicane, with Hamilton electing to cut the chicane as Nico had done earlier. Instead of maintaining the position, Hamilton came off of the throttle to allow Nico through. Lewis may not have had a choice in allowing Nico back through however, as a few corners later, smoke started coming out of the rear of his car. Hamilton then ran wide at the turn 6 chicane which immediately revealed that the Briton had suffered a brake failure. He crawled around the rest of the lap before pulling into the pits to retire his car for the second time this season.
Things looked up slightly for Nico Rosberg as Massa had to pit from the lead, giving the lead back to Mercedes. However, the power issue was still prevalent, with Sergio Perez now catching Rosberg by around a second a lap. Sergio was soon within a second of Rosberg, but the Mercedes driver was able to get his car hooked up through the corners to stay just ahead on the straights. Nico was also aided by a DRS problem for Perez, meaning that the Mexican couldn’t fully capitalise on the lack of power on the Silver Arrow.
The race for the lead soon became a 4 car battle, with Ricciardo and Vettel joining the back of the queue. Felipe Massa was looking to join the battle as well after his late pit-stop. The Brazilian was stuck behind Hulkenburg and Bottas and was told that he had to pass them both to be able to catch up to the 4 car lead battle. Bottas was told to let Massa through when he could due to the Finn’s slower car, but Valtteri instead made a mistake heading into the turn 10 hairpin. The Finn went to deep into the corner and forced Nico Hulkenburg to take evasive action. Felipe Massa managed to stay out of the squabble to take the inside line and pass the pair of them to move up into 5th place.
Massa had tyres that were 12 laps fresher than anyone ahead of him. He was also the only Mercedes car to have everything functioning on his car properly; with Rosberg still slow on the straights and Perez unable to use DRS. Felipe was flying in his Williams and set the fastest lap as he chased down Vettel in 4th. With under 10 laps to go, Massa joined the fight at the front, with Rosberg, Perez, Ricciardo, Vettel and himself separated by just 3 seconds. He got his first opportunity to pass the world champion on lap 64 of 70, but forgot to use the DRS and had to maintain position.
Nico Rosberg was starting to pull away little by little, with Sergio Perez reporting that he was starting to lose his brakes. It was starting to look like Nico would defy his problematic engine to take the win. Suddenly the race win was under threat again however, as Daniel Ricciardo managed to hook up his final chicane on lap 65 to get a run on Perez into turn 1. The Australian went around the outside of the Force India and put two wheels on the dirt at turn 2 but he managed to make the move stick to take 2nd place. He was now beginning to catch Rosberg for the race lead.
In just two laps the Red Bull driver managed to pull Rosberg’s lead down by a second to be within 0.6 seconds of the Mercedes. He managed to stay close to the German in the first two sectors to allow him to use DRS on the back straight. Nothing could prevent the pass now as Ricciardo blasted into the lead of the Canadian Grand Prix with just 2 laps to go.
The battle for third was still raging on however, with Perez losing out to Vettel on the run to the chicane at the end of the penultimate lap. Perez was then compromised on the start/finish straight as the last lap began. Massa managed to close in on the Force India, but the pair made contact as they entered the braking zone at turn 1. Both drivers lost control of their cars at high speed and went either side of 3rd placed Sebastian Vettel; the world champion narrowly avoiding a side-swipe from the Williams car. Both the drivers made huge contact with the wall, but both managed to emerge from their cars immediately. Both drivers were sent to hospital for checks after the race, but both were discharged later on with no issues. Sergio Perez earned a 5 place grid penalty for the Austrian Grand Prix after a stewards inquiry.
The massive incident bought out the safety car on the final lap of the race, meaning that no more overtaking was allowed. This meant that Daniel Ricciardo would take his first Formula One victory in his first season with Red Bull. The Australian was speechless as he bought the car back home.
Nico Rosberg managed to drive around his car’s problems to take 2nd place. The vital 18 point finish meant that he capitalized on team-mate Hamilton’s retirement. Sebastian Vettel’s sterling avoidance of the final lap crash meant that he would claim a double podium for the reigning constructor’s champions as he finished in 3rd place.
Jenson Button drove a determined drive in the final stages of the race to climb up to 6th. He was promoted two positions after Perez and Massa’s accident meaning that he would get an excellent 4th place. The 2009 champion had overtaken Hulkenburg and Alonso to get the position, with the Force India and Ferrari driver’s getting 5th and 6th; another strong finish for Hulkenburg in 2014.
Valtteri Bottas managed to get 7th place after a series of mistakes put him out of the battle for the podium. Jean-Eric Vergne got 8th, with Kevin Magnussen and Kimi Raikkonen jumping into the final points positions as a result of the last lap crash. Perez and Massa were classified as finishing in 11th and 12th, with Adrian Sutil’s Sauber finishing a lap down in 13th.
Esteban Gutierrez and Romain Grosjean were the last two classified finishers after retiring their cars into the pit-lane in the closing stages of the race. 7 drivers didn’t finish the race, with Kvyat being the first of them after stopping his car earlier in the race. Lewis Hamilton was next after his brake failure, with Kamui Kobayashi next after suffering a broken wishbone due to a spin at turn 1.
Pastor Maldonado failed to finish again due to mechanical problems, with Marcus Ericsson’s Caterham suffering the same fate. The last two retirements were the two Marussia cars of Chilton and Bianchi.
2014 Canadian Grand Prix results:
|1||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||25||6|
|3||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull||15||3|
|5||Nico Hulkenburg||Force India||10||11|
|8||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso||4||8|
|11||Sergio Perez||Force India||0||13|
|16||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso||DNF||15|
Daniel Ricciardo, the winner of the 2014 Canadian Grand Prix: “I am still a bit in shock. Thanks everyone. This is ridiculous. There are lots of Australian flags, which is nice. The race really came to life for the last 15-20 laps. Hamilton had a problem and Rosberg was slow down the straights. I really struggled to get past Perez but managed to finally get a run out of the last chicane and get a nice run out of turn one and set my sights on Nico with couple of laps to go. I finally managed to get in the right spot to use DRS and it’s an amazing feeling right now.”
Nico Rosberg, who finished in 2nd place: “We had a problem at the pit stop and that is why I dropped behind. Then I lost a lot of power in the straights but it did not quite work out. I couldn’t hold off Daniel Ricciardo.”
Sebastian Vettel, who finished in 3rd place: “Congratulations to Daniel. It’s his day. We had a big help from Mercedes, unlike other weekends, but we were there to capitalise. It’s been a positive day. Daniel’s first win and a first win for Renault in the new era of engines. They have had a good comeback although there is still plenty of work ahead of us because Mercedes are quicker down the straight. But all in all it’s been a good day.”
By Jordan Groves Formula 1 correspondent for RTR Sports Marketing - Sport Sponsorship Agency