Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Riccirado took his maiden Formula One victory in Montreal after power unit problems saw Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg limp home to second place as team-mate Lewis Hamilton was forced to retire with brake problems.
Sebastian Vettel finished third after passing Force India’s Sergio Perez, who also struggled with brake issues. The race ended under the safety car when Felipe Massa also attempted to pass Perez. The two cars made contact and the Williams and the Force India both crashed heavily. The impact was recorded at 32g, according to FIA sources in the paddock.
The race stewards later decided that Perez was at fault and gave him a five-place grid penalty for the next race in Austria.
At the start, Rosberg held off a strong challenge from Hamilton, holding his line as Hamilton made a move into turn one, having made the better initial getaway. The tussle allowed Vettel to sneak through into second.
Behind them Valtteri Bottas held fourth ahead of Massa, with Ricciardo sixth. Fernando Alonso, meanwhile, dropped back, surrendering seventh place to Jean-Eric Vergne. Kimi Raikkonen, too, made up a place, passing Jenson Button for ninth.
At the back, though, there was a collision. Just after the start Max Chilton lost control into Turn 4 and collided with team-mate Jules Bianchi, pitching the Frenchman into the barriers. Chilton, too, spun out as a result. It was the first time Chilton had failed to finish in Formula One. He was later hit with a three-place penalty for the next race for causing the accident.
When the action resumed the leaders all held position but Button lost out again, Perez passing the McLaren driver into the final chicane to take the final points position.
At the front, Hamilton made his move on Vettel at the end of lap nine, passing the Red Bull under DRS into the final chicane. The move left him Mercedes driver 1.7s adrift of his team-mate.
The first pit stop sequence
Ricciardo was the first to make a scheduled stop, though early, at the end of lap 13. The Australian swapped his starting supersoft tyres for soft rubber. The stop saw Ricciardo re-emerge in 14th place. Bottas responded, pitting on the next tour from fourth place. He emerged just in front of Ricciardo. The next lap saw Vettel, Vergne and Massa all take on soft tyres.
Massa’s stop, however, was problematic. A delay with the front left wheel saw the Brazilian lose out badly and he was jumped on track by both Ricciardo and Vergne.
Leader Rosberg stopped on lap 18, shedding his supersofts for soft tyres. Hamilton pushed hard to make up time and that forced Rosberg to be similarly committed. The German’s enthusiasm was almost very costly as he took too much kerb just after leaving the pits and almost hit the wall.
Hamilton pitted on the next lap but his in-laps hadn’t clawed back enough time to pass his team-mate and Rosberg held his lead comfortably.
After 21 laps, most of the field had made a visit to pit lane. However, Perez, still on his starting supersofts, had climbed to third behind the Mercedes drivers, while team-mate Nico Hulkenberg, on his starting soft tyres, had climbed to fourth ahead of Vettel, who led Bottas, Ricciardo, Alonso, Massa and Vergne.
At the front, Hamilton was exerting heavy pressure on Rosberg. The German made a mistake at the end of lap 25, locked up and straightlined the chicane. The incident seemed to gain the leader time on the track and the stewards quickly put the incident under investigation for exceeding the track limits.
However, rhe officials decided not to penalise the German but handed him a final warning that he would be punished if such a mistake occurred again. Hamilton, then, would have to pass his team-mate on the track.
Perez finally pitted at the end of lap 34, the Mexican taking on his final set of tyres by discarding his supersofts for soft tyres. The stop dropped the Force India driver to ninth, ahead of Vergne.
Bottas was the first of the two-stoppers to return to pit lane at the end of the next lap. He was followed on lap 36 by Vettel. Ricciardo followed on lap 37 but his pace was sufficient to allow him to jump the champion.
Mercedes hit trouble
Hamilton, meanwhile, was on the radio reporting a loss of power. Hamilton wasn’t alone, however, and Rosberg was soon suffering with the same issue. Both were suddenly dropping two seconds a lap to third-placed Hulkenberg. Both drivers were then told to reset their cars.
Hulkenberg made his sole stop on lap 41, taking on supersofts. He emerged in eighth position behind the Vettel/Ricciardo battle.
At the front, the Mercedes cars were still running slow – a second slower per lap than new third-place man Massa, who was 17s adrift. Rosberg was told the problem was not fixable and that both would have to push hard to stay in control.
When both made their stops, Massa who assumed the lead. The two Mercedes were left to battle each other for P2 and in their second stops Hamilton got the upper hand. A problem in Rosberg’s stop allowed Hamilton, who pitted on the following lap, to claim second. Rosberg soon had the position back however as Hamilton suddenly overshot the final chicane, clearly struggling with his brakes. The problems quickly became terminal and he was forced to retire on lap 46.
Massa then pitted from the lead, handing control back to Rosberg. The Williams driver had been told to try to nurse his tyres to the end but the team gave up that chase and the Brazilian bolted on a new set of soft tyres.
It was Perez, then, who was left to chase down the troubled Mercedes of Rosberg. The gap between the pair disappeared within a handful of tours and on lap 52 the Mexican was just half a second down on the faltering W05 Hybrid. Behind Perez, the Red Bulls of Ricciardo and Vettel were also suddenly vaulted into contention.
Rosberg though was determined to stay in control and after being told by his team to push when he could the German began to put in better laps, eventually stabilising the gap to Perez at the one-second mark.
Futher back, the battle for fifth was hotting up, with Hulkenberg under pressure from Bottas and Massa. The Brazilian was on fresher tyres than his team-mate and the Williams pit wall soon told Bottas to let him past. Bottas attempted a move on Hulkenberg that forced the German wide at the hairpin and Massa was able to leapfrog both, stealing fifth. With new tyres and running faster than anyone else on track he began to close on Vettel, who had climbed to fourth behind Ricciardo.
The thrilling finale
The final few laps were as incident-packed as any in recent memory as a four-car train formed behind Rosberg, all battling for the lead. It was Ricciardo who made the decisive move though, first sneaking past Perez into turn one, and then passing the struggling Rosberg under DRS later in the lap to take the lead. Behind them Vettel pressed Perez and eventually got past the Mexican, who was struggling with brake wear, on the penultimate lap.
Massa, on much fresher tyres, saw his chance and attempted to get past Perez on the penultimate lap. The pair collided at high speed and both arrowed off track and hit the barriers hard, scattering debris across the circuit. The safety car was immediately deployed, giving Vettel no chance to make a move on Rosberg in the final corners.
Ricciardo, then, took his first grand prix victory ahead of Rosberg and Vettel. Button was a surprise fourth, with Hulkenberg fifth. Fernando Alonso was sixth for Ferrari ahead of Bottas, Vergne, the second McLaren of Kevin Magnussen and Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen.
CANADIAN GRAND PRIX, Montreal, 70 Laps
Pos Driver Team Time/Gap
1. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1h39m12.830s
2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes +4.236s
3. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull +5.247s
4. Jenson Button McLaren +11.755s
5. Nico Hulkenberg Force India +12.843s
6. Fernando Alonso Ferrari +14.869s
7. Valtteri Bottas Williams +23.578s
8. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso +28.026s
9. Kevin Magnussen McLaren +29.254s
10. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari +53.678s
11. Sergio Perez Force India -1 lap
12. Felipe Massa Williams -1 lap
13. Adrian Sutil Sauber -1 lapa
14. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber -6 laps