Last weekend the Canadian Grand Prix offered spectators one of the most entertaining races of the season so far, providing retirements from start to finish and a new winner to break the chain of th
Last weekend the Canadian Grand Prix offered spectators one of the most entertaining races of the season so far, providing retirements from start to finish and a new winner to break the chain of the consistent Mercedes’ wins.
“We knew he was quick – we just didn’t realise how quick,” says Christian Horner, Team Principle for Infiniti Red Bull Racing Formula 1 team, when talking about Daniel Ricciardo who has been an impressive surprise to both the team and spectators this season.
The Australian driver earned 2nd place in his homeland back in March for the first race of the season. And despite having his points annulled for breaking fuel rules, persisted to come 3rd in Barcelona and finished less than a second behind Hamilton at the legendary Monaco circuit, to stand on the podium again in 3rd.
It seems that Ricciardo is performing consistently, frequently upstaging his World Champion team mate Sebastian Vettel and proving that Red Bull made the right choice when filling Mark Webber’s boots.
Against All Odds
Ricciardo began the race at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve 6th on the grid after a troubling performance in qualifying on Saturday. Along with driving a car praised for its aerodynamics and down force rather than the straight line speed needed on this circuit, it wasn’t looking good for the Australian.
But when Mercedes began experiencing power problems around lap 37 and Hamilton suffered his second DNF of the season when his brakes failed, the 24 year old Daniel Ricciardo earned himself a place on the top of the podium for the first time in his Formula 1 career, bringing Mercedes’ winning streak to an end.
“I didn’t believe we could win this race but he’s driven faultlessly all season. He’s grabbed his opportunity and I’m delighted for him that he’s won his first grand prix,” said Christian Horner.
Seizing an Opportunity
The Red Bulls suffered behind Force India’s Sergio Perez for a large amount of the race as his Mercedes powered engine dominated over them. However 4 laps from the end Ricciardo, sitting in 3rd, took a gamble and went to overtake second place Perez.
The Red Bull driver almost missed out by running wide onto the grass but managed to maintain composure and set his sights on front runner Nico Rosberg. Ricciardo, matching Rosberg’s first sector times where Perez had failed, managed to overtake the German with DRS and sheer determination with two laps remaining.
The race finished with a safety car as Felipe Massa of Williams collided with Sergio Perez narrowly missing Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel. The large crash was perilous but fortunately left both drivers unharmed. Reports show Ricciardo made sure the two drivers were okay before he began celebrating his maiden win.
A United Team
Despite Vettel’s “tough luck” comment earlier this year and consistently being outperformed by his team mate, he had only positive comments in response to Ricciardo’s success.
“Congratulations to Daniel for his first win, which is very, very special, so I’m happy for him and happy for the team,” he said. “It’s nice to be able to finally break through to get a win this year and capitalise on Mercedes having a problem.”
Vettel himself managed to gain 3rd place on the podium after the Perez/Massa crash, leaving Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg surrounded by the Red Bull Team who had managed to take advantage of competitor’s troubles when it really mattered.
The win puts Daniel Ricciardo third overall in the Championship and makes him the fourth Australian to ever win a Grand Prix. With his consistent performances and a natural ability, there’s a high chance we’ll see him on the podium again this season as he continues to prove that he is ‘best of the rest.’
Are Red Bull back on form after their troublesome start to the year? Will the Mercedes problems persist? Have your say in the comments section below.