After a crazy race featuring a battle between the two Mercedes drivers, plenty of car issues and most of the field retiring, it was Daniel Ricciardo who won the race. Breaking the Mercedes run of wins and achieving his first Grand Prix victory.
As the green lights illuminated and the red mist descended it was Lewis Hamilton with the better start of the front row duo. As Lewis and Nico descended upon turn 1, Lewis would probably have taken the early lead in the race if it wasn’t for Rosberg holding the inside line and forcing Hamilton to go out wide. This turn of events actually bumped Hamilton down to third place with Sebastian Vettel sneaking past into turn 2.
Behind the pack, a first lap collision between the two Marussia’s brought out an early safety car. Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton were both out of the race from the contact meaning Chilton has retired for the first time in a Formula One Grand Prix. Going into turn three, Chilton got the rear of his car out of shape and caused the big contact with his team-mate. The crash was investigated by the race stewards and Chilton has been handed a three-place grid penalty for the upcoming, Austrian Grand Prix.
Come the end of the safety car period most drivers flowed round in the same order but for Jenson, he was knocked out of the top 10 by his ex-team-mate Perez into the final chicane. Hamilton was still running in third place at the time. But a few laps and with the aid of DRS, Hamilton got past Seb for 2nd. Over the next few laps Lewis was on the hunt of Rosberg but whilst this was going on we had another retirement.
Ericsson was the latest to retire from the race, which meant all three of the early retirements took three of the four back markers out the race. Marcus Ericsson’s retirement came from a loss of power in the Caterham. Power loss would soon be the talking point of the race, but at the pivotal end of the grid.
Over laps 14 to 16 saw a lot of drivers head to the pits in what looked like an early indication it would be a two stop race, but there were some drivers who tried to stretch out the one stop. A few laps later than most of the field Rosberg pitted for his mandatory stop handing Hamilton the lead. Knowing he was about to pit on the following lap, Hamilton pushed hard to close the gap to Rosberg, setting the fastest first sector of the race so far. But his efforts would be almost all in vain as a poor pit stop by the Mercedes team for Hamilton meant he spent longer in his pit box than Rosberg so all of his gain was spent covering the time lost by his team.
But whilst these two battled for the lead, Raikkonen was making a reasonably dangerous lunge on Kvyat. He was a bit late to make the move on Kvyat, forcing the Toro Rosso rookie to cut the final corner with the inside line block off.
Maldonado and Kobayashi were the next drivers to enter the list of drivers who didn’t see the chequered flag. Pastors car wasn’t sounding too healthy at the time of his retirement and had some damage near his left side pod. As for Kamui, he seemed to have some damage on the left rear of his car. For Kamui he pulled off to the side of the track at turn four and ensure all four back markers were out of the race.
One of the key mid race talking points was Rosberg locking up his front tyres going into the final chicane whilst under pressure from Hamilton, who was right behind him at the time. Hamilton wasn’t fully in a position to make an overtake into the chicane but the lock up meant Nico gained more of a lead than he had going into the chicane. Stewards did investigate Nico for his venture over the run of at the final chicane but decided not to award him a penalty instead issued a final warning for exceeding track limits.
Meanwhile, whilst that was being investigated Massa was making a smooth move around the outside of his former team-mate Alonso. But more amazingly Perez, on the supersofts, and Hulkenberg on the soft compound tyres, were still yet to pit going in to lap 30. Showing a great job by the Force India team to produce a car that is easy enough on its tyres for the drivers not to need to pit and run in 3rd & 4th position. With Hulkenberg staying out on track, he was actually holding Vettel behind him for 4th, allowing Perez to edge ahead. Back in 2012, one of the stars of the show was Perez when he took 3rd place in his Sauber after a ridiculously long stint on his tyres. But for this years Canadian Grand Prix, it took till lap 35, so half race distance, before Perez pitted, coming out in 10th place.
Now the talking point at the front of the gird. Hamilton radioed in to the team to report a loss of power. Which would have been music to Rosberg’s ears, if it wasn’t for Nico also suffering power unit issues. Mercedes were clearly off the pace now, despite their power unit being the best this year. When the issues first struck the Mercedes duo, Hulkenberg was running in third place, gaining almost 2 seconds a lap on Hamilton but yet to pit. Before eventually pitting on lap 42 and falling down to 8th place.
Weirdly, Raikkonen went for a spin, down at the hairpin. It hasn’t been the best weekend for Kimi let alone the best race for the fin after going for a spin at the hairpin today just by picking up the throttle at exit. Earlier in the weekend, Kimi actually span doing the same thing so it might be an issue Kimi is having with the way the Ferrari delivers its power out of corners.
But back to the fight for the win and it is now Felipe Massa as the closest challenger to the Mercedes duo. Running 19 seconds behind Hamilton, but gaining on him, meant it looked like the Williams driver may be about to get the best result of his career so far at Williams. Especially a few laps later when the Mercedes drivers pitted for fresh tyres and Felipe gained the lead of the race. But unfortunately for the Brazilian, his race would end in far less enjoyable circumstances.
Now with neither Mercedes drivers leading the race, and being in a tight battle for the championship lead it would be vital for one of them to finish second at least, if they were to keep ahead int the championship. And this battle was hotting up as Rosberg gained track advantage by getting past Hamilton. But Lewis was forced into cutting the final chicane, like Rosberg did earlier in the race, except for Lewis it was because of a rear brake failure bringing an end to his Canadian Grand Prix. Throughout the race, Lewis had been using more break bias at the rear of his car, which eventually were the brakes that failed. Mercedes were increasingly worried about Nico’s breaks failing after this and Nico was told to put bias towards the front tyres as much as possible.
With Rosberg having power unit issues and potential brake issues he was having to go slower than he would have liked. But he was leading the race after Massa was forced to pit again, prompting a snake to form with Perez. Ricciardo and Vettel right behind Rosberg. But this snake had the potential to soon be more of a train with Massa joining the back. He had said on team radio a few laps before that he was faster than Bottas, maybe hoping for team-orders like they inflicted in Malaysia, but he was able to get past and catch up with the snake without the need for team-orders.
But now with Massa in the Nico snake, we had a four car battle for who will challenge Rosberg. First up we have Massa & Vettel, going side by side at the end of the back straight for fourth whilst Ricciardo now pushed past Perez into turn one to takes second. Once past Perez he was just 2 seconds back from Rosberg but storming to catch him.
Soon Ricciardo had closed the gap to within one second and with DRS plus now having the higher top speed Rosberg was a sitting duck for Ricciardo, who gained the race lead. Back a bit on track, with one lap to go, Perez lost the final podium place to Vettel.
But this all came before a huge crash going into turn one between Perez and Massa, who would have been fighting for fourth. Massa attempted to get past the Mexican with a late lunge down the inside, but instead of getting past he went straight into the rear-left of Perez’s Force India. Sending both of them flying into the barrier and brining out the safety car. Both appeared to be physically ok, but were sent off to the medical centre for further examination.
Before the crash, Perez had been suffering with rear brake issues, meaning he was entering corners at a different racing speed. This potentially gave Massa the belief that he could gain fourth with the lunge. As the Williams car and the Force India sailed off into the barriers, Vettel was lucky that neither of them collected his Red Bull as both went around him.
But this crash meant the race would end under the safety car and Daniel Ricciardo would secure his first grand prix victory.
Ricciardo has now competed in 57 Formula One races over his career, which began back in 2011 at the British Grand Prix. The 24-year-old Australian now sits third in the drivers championship on 79 points, ahead of Alonso (61pts) and team-mate Vettel (60pts). But behind the Mercedes duo of Hamilton (118) and Rosberg (140pts).
|1||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing-Renault||70||Winner||6||25|
|2||6||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes||70||+4.2 secs||1||18|
|3||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||70||+5.2 secs||3||15|
|4||22||Jenson Button||McLaren-Mercedes||70||+11.7 secs||9||12|
|5||27||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India-Mercedes||70||+12.8 secs||11||10|
|6||14||Fernando Alonso||Ferrari||70||+14.8 secs||7||8|
|7||77||Valtteri Bottas||Williams-Mercedes||70||+23.5 secs||4||6|
|8||25||Jean-Eric Vergne||STR-Renault||70||+28.0 secs||8||4|
|9||20||Kevin Magnussen||McLaren-Mercedes||70||+29.2 secs||12||2|
|10||7||Kimi Räikkönen||Ferrari||70||+53.6 secs||10||1|
|11||11||Sergio Perez||Force India-Mercedes||69||+1 Lap||13|
|12||19||Felipe Massa||Williams-Mercedes||69||+1 Lap||5|
|13||99||Adrian Sutil||Sauber-Ferrari||69||+1 Lap||16|
|14||21||Esteban Gutierrez||Sauber-Ferrari||64||+6 Lap||22|
|Ret||8||Romain Grosjean||Lotus-Renault||59||+11 Lap||14|
|Ret||26||Daniil Kvyat||STR-Renault||57||+23 Laps||15|
|Ret||44||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||56||+24 Laps||2|
|Ret||10||Kamui Kobayashi||Caterham-Renault||23||+47 Laps||21|
|Ret||13||Pastor Maldonado||Lotus-Renault||21||+49 Laps||17|
|Ret||9||Marcus Ericsson||Caterham-Renault||7||+63 Laps||20|