After the conclusion of the Monaco Grand Prix two weeks ago, most people thought that the rest of the 2014 season would be dominated by Mercedes and its celebrated team of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. But in one of the most sensational upsets in Montreal on Sunday, Australia’s Daniel Ricciardo turned the tables on championship leader Nico Rosberg in the closing minutes of the race. The 24-year old Ricciardo broke the Mercedes jinx in the seventh race of the 2014 F1 season after passing Rosberg on the final corner before homestretch. The third place was taken by four time world champion Sebastian Vettel but the Red Bull drivers were wary of admitting that Red Bull would be a championship contender to Mercedes.
At Circuit Gilles Villeneuve at Montreal earlier on Saturday, the qualification races were in line with the results thrown up by previous GP events of 2014. With Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton locked in their now familiar fight for the pole position, there was no inkling of the shape of things to come in the main event on the following day. Rosberg’s performance in Q3, where he carved out a lap time of 1:14.874, a mere 0.079 seconds ahead of Hamilton made him take the top position. In Q1, however, Hamilton had an upper hand, when he finished a lap 0.7 seconds faster than Rosberg and then followed up with another good round to finish 0.2 seconds ahead of his German team-mate in Q2. The third place on the grid was taken by Sebastian Vettel, who has not been in news in the 2014 season so far. Lining up behind Vettel were Valtteri Bottas, Felipe Massa and Daniel Ricciardo in fourth, fifth and six places on the grid.
As the race began on Sunday, the two Mercedes team mates went into battle from the word go. Hamilton was pushed to the grass on the first corner but the British star recovered quickly enough. Rosberg had obviously cut the chicane but he was lucky to escape the penalty. Until the 35th lap, the two Mercedes cars were way ahead of all others. However, midway through the race both lead cars suffered a sudden power loss, which allowed many others to go ahead of them. Then most unexpectedly, Hamilton’s car was plagued by a high-voltage control electronics failure resulting into a permanent loss of MGU-K drive. This happened in the 48th lap, at which point Hamilton had to retire from the race since his rear brake wouldn’t work. This was the second time this year that Hamilton has retired from the race after he left the race in the Australian GP due to engine failure. Rosberg, however, continued with the reduced power, using all the skill he could muster. But Ricciardo went past him on the final corner. Before this, when Perez was still in the race, Ricciardo was on his trail trying to devise ways on how to overtake him. Perez, on his part, was doing his best to overtake Rosberg. But the Force India drive committed a braking error just before the 66th lap and Ricciardo went past him at that time.
The drama didn’t stop there as Williams’ Felipe Massa and Force India’s Sergio Perez crashed into one another. They were taken out of the race and sent to hospital for check-up. Luckily they escaped unhurt. The investigating stewards found that Perez was the one, who made the wrong move. He was immediately served with a 5-place grid penalty for the next race in Austria. Jenson button reaped the benefit of the Massa-Perez bang and went behind Vettel on the fourth spot.
After the two-hour race, it was Ricciardo, who held his nerve, passed Rosberg and won his first ever GP in a totally unexpected outcome. Rosberg finished second and earned 18 points. His lead over Hamilton this season has now widened to 22 points. Vettel was placed third for the second time this year.
The eighth race of 2014 Fi season will be held in Spielberg, Austria. Mercedes may still stage the comeback but the Austrian GP track is more famously known as the Red Bull Ring and Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel can take heart from the name.