Daniel Ricciardo secured the first win of his Formula One career with a dramatic late pass on Nico Rosberg in what was a frantic Canadian Grand Prix.
Ricciardo, starting from sixth on the grid, produced a sterling drive to snatch his maiden F1 win from the fading Mercedes of Nico Rosberg, in a race that finished under the safety car after a last lap crash involving Felipe Massa and Sergio Perez who had been squabbling for fourth. Rosberg came home second on what was a disappointing race for Mercedes, while Ricciardo’s Red Bull team-mate Sebastian Vettel secured the final podium spot on offer.
As the lights went out to signal the start of the Canadian Grand Prix it was Lewsi Hamilton from second who had the strongest start, attacking Rosberg on the run down into turn one, only for Rosberg to hold the inside line sending Hamilton wide, and down to fourth behind the fast starting Sebastian Vettel.
Behind the leaders there was carnage into turn three and four, as the two Marussia’s of Max Chilton and Jules Bianchi came together, sending the Frenchman into the wall and taking both men out of the race, and signalling the first safety car period of the day.
Rosberg quickly dropped Vettel on the restart, with Hamilton past the Red Bull courtesy of DRS three laps later, giving chase after his team-mate, as they quickly dropped the chasing field.
Tucked up behind Felipe Massa’s Williams in sixth, Daniel Ricciardo was the first of the front runners to stop on lap 13, rejoining 15th, which forced Valtteri Bottas, running fourth, into the pits a lap later to cover the Australian.
The Finn rejoined ahead of Ricciardo, but his team-mate Massa, stopping two laps later, lost out to not just the Australian, but also Fernando Alonso and Jean-Eric Vergne after a tardy stop.
Race leader Nico Rosberg was the first of the Mercedes in on lap 17, and despite a moment at turn four on his out-lap when he very nearly put the car into the wall, he retained the lead when Hamilton was in a lap later to move onto the soft tyres.
With the first round of stops completed the Mercedes team-mates continued their squabble at the front of the field, Hamilton shadowing Rosberg, who survived a lock-up and a run across the final chicane without a penalty from the stewards, during the opening phase of the middle stint before drama erupted around the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
First the chasing Hamilton and then Rosberg, still leading the race, complained of a lack of power across the team radio, the pair rapidly haemorrhaging time – around two seconds a lap – to the closing field ahead of their second stops, the German in on lap 44, followed in by temporary leader Hamilton a lap later.
A poor stop for Rosberg, owing to a sticky front left wheel, saw Hamilton rejoin ahead of his team-mate, but the 2008 champion was struggling with his brakes and ran deep into the hairpin, before running straight-on into the final chicane after slight contact with the sister Mercedes, being forced to hand second back to the German.
Hamilton was in a lap later to retire his car with a terminal brakes issue, while Felipe Massa the temporary leader, was forced into a second stop for fresh tyres, handing the lead back to the still limping Mercedes of Rosberg, and promoting Sergio Perez’s Force India into second, with the two Red Bull’s of Ricciardo and Vettel into third and fourth.
The final laps of the grand prix were some of the most gripping in years, as Ricciardo hunted down and passed Rosberg for the race lead with just two laps left to run, while there was a major accident behind the leading pair, as Felipe Massa and Sergio Perez crashed heavily at turn one while battling for third on the final lap, bringing out the safety car for a second time and final time.
With passing now forbidden, Ricciardo cruised home unchallenged to take his maiden grand prix victory, with Rosberg confined to second, the first time a Mercedes driver not won a race this season.
Third place at the chequered flag went to Sebastian Vettel after a late pass on Massa, while Jenson Button was a surprise fourth, the 2009 champion passing Nico Hulkenberg just moments before the accident between Massa and Perez on the final lap, which netted the McLaren racer two late positions.
Fernando Alonso was an anonymous sixth, the Ferrari man having never looked in contention for the race win, while Valtteri Bottas slipped back to seventh in the sole remaining Williams.
Jean-Eric Vergne secured his first points since the season opener in Australia with eighth, while Kevin Magnussen and Kimi Raikkonen – who spun at turn ten – rounded out the final points positions with ninth and tenth for McLaren and Ferrari respectively.
Perez and Massa were classified 11th and 12th after their last lap crash, while Adrian Sutil was the final man running in 13th.
In a race of attrition, 11 cars failed to make the chequered flag, amongst them Esteban Gutierrez, Daniil Kvyat, both Lotus cars and the two Caterhams.
Canadian Grand Prix – Provisional Classification
1. Daniel Ricciardo – Red Bull-Renault 1h39m12.830s
2. Nico Rosberg – Mercedes
3. Sebastian Vettel – Red Bull-Renault
4. Jenson Button – McLaren-Mercedes
5. Nico Hulkenberg – Force India-Mercedes
6. Fernando Alonso – Ferrari
7. Valtteri Bottas – Williams-Mercedes
8. Jean-Eric Vergne – Toro Rosso-Renault
9. Kevin Magnussen – McLaren-Mercedes
10. Kimi Raikkonen – Ferrari
11. Sergio Perez – Force India-Mercedes
12. Felipe Massa – Williams-Mercedes
13. Adrian Sutil – Sauber-Ferrari
14. Esteban Gutierrez – Sauber-Ferrari
Romain Grosjean – Lotus-Renault – 58 laps
Daniil Kvyat – Toro Rosso-Renault – 47 laps
Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes – 45 laps
Kamui Kobayashi – Caterham-Renault – 22 laps
Pastor Maldonado – Lotus-Renault – 21 laps
Marcus Ericsson – Caterham-Renault – 6 laps
Max Chilton – Marussia-Ferrari- 0 laps
Jules Bianchi – Marussia-Ferrari – 0 laps
Image courtesy of Red Bull Media