Racing in Montreal
Formula 1 teams rolled on today to the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal. The Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve debuted in 1978 and hosted the seventh race of the 2014 season today. Although Mercedes started strong, Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo would win in an impressive run for the 24-year old Brit. This is Red Bull’s first win of the season, and first since Sebastian Vettel won 9 in a row to finish the 2013 season. Ricciardo flashed his signature smile as he lifted his first grand prix championship trophy for Red Bull in Montreal. He raced for the other Red Bull team, Toro Rosso, last season but came over to take Mark Webber’s spot in 2014. Russian rookie, Daniil Kvyat took Ricciardo’s spot at Toro, and Ricciardo today became the first Red Bull Driver to win other than Sebastian Vettel since Webber won the Monaco Grand Prix in 2012.
Here we go again, Mercedes!
The first half of the race looked almost identical to the first seven races of the year with the Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton battling for the lead. Rosberg won the pole and Hamilton started next to him in the two spot. Hamilton, a three time champion in Canada, was seeking to redeem himself after losing the Monaco Grand Prix to his teammate two weeks ago. Prior to that, Hamilton had won a career best four straight Formula 1 races, with Rosberg finishing second in every one of those races. Rosberg has found the podium in all 6 races to start the season.
Can the perfect season continue?
The two Mercedes drivers accounted for the win in each of the first six races, with Hamilton winning 4 and Rosberg taking 2. They are dominating the constructors cup points race, and Rosberg leads in the drivers championship by only a few points. Across the board, the first six races have been dominated by Mercedes, and all signs were that things would continue in Canada.
Ricciardo to the front…
After a great start, rhe Mercedes cars began experiencing similar problems around lap 46 (of 70). The problem was with the brakes, and Lewis Hamilton retired shortly thereafter. Rosberg and continued to fight, however, holding the lead after Hamiltons departure, but giving a little away on each successive lap until he could hold off Ricciardo no more.
Red Bull finally finds the podium… and it’s not the four time champ
With five laps to go, Nico Rosberg, Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull), Serigo Perez (Sahara Force India), Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull), and Felipe Massa were all in contention with a chance to win. Then the Red Bulls made their moves on struggling competitors. Ricciardo first overtook Rosberg, who looked weakened by the same problems that had taken Hamilton out. Then Sebastian Vettel passed of struggling Sergio Perez, who had been fighting brake problems as well. Felipe Massa, who had been making a charge in the second half of the race, then tried to overtake Perez as well with less success. It appeared that Perez slowed considerably, causing a collision, and taking both drivers out of the race. (Perez has since been given a penalty to start the race in Austria). Ricciardo went on to win under caution. Nico Rosberg added his 5th second place finish of the year to his two wins, and Sebastian Vettel found the podium in third.
Good signs for McLaren
McLaren and Ferrari put both of their drivers in the points. Jensen Button made his way to fourth and rookie Kevin Magnussen captured his 4th top 10 of the season at 9th for McLaren. Fernando Alonso of Ferrari, finished 6th with teammate Kimi Raikkonen taking 10th. Alonso told interviewers that the finish “was not enough” expressing the continued frustration of the Ferrari crew to start the season. Making things a bit worse is the relative success of the Force India team. Nico Hulkenberg finished fifth and teammate Felipe Massa wrecked late in the race with Sergio Perez, but was storming to the front before the mishap. Except for that crash, Force India has a fantastic day. Both drivers emerged from the crash without serious injury. Also in the top 10, was Valterri Bottas (Williams) and Jean-Eric Vergne (Toro Ross), in 7th and 8th respectively.
Daniel Ricciardo gets his first win
At the end of the day, all eyes were on Daniel Ricciardo. After fighting hard all day to take the lead so late in the race, Ricciardo emerged from the win and the car in what appeared to be shock and disbelief. It took him 7 races to find the winners circle with his new team. Once he did, he seemed to take a moment to gather himself before removing his helmet and sharing his joy with the supporting crowd. Four time champion teammate Sebastian Vettel celebrated with Ricciardo, spraying him with the signature G.H. Mumm champagne and telling the crowd “this is his day.”
While the Mercedes team is no doubt disappointed with the result and the end to their run of the perfect season, Rosberg demonstrated grace under pressure in taking his 7th podium in 7 races.
As always, the crew at NBC had spectacular coverage throughout the race, with one exception: the cameras were on the crowd on an exciting lead change. Luckily, it wasn’t the final lead change, and the crew in the booth recovered well.
Daniel Ricciardo has won many fans and drivers over early this year with his fierce racing, perseverance on the track, and his contagious joy for racing and Formula 1. Congrats, Daniel! Here’s to many more…
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