Mercedes' run at a perfect season came to an end on Sunday at the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal when mechanical issues hit both Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. Red Bull Racing was there to take advantage as Daniel Ricciardo passed Rosberg with just over two laps to go to record his first career Formula One victory in his 57th start.
It was only his seventh race since moving over to Red Bull to start the 2014 season.
"This is ridiculous," Ricciardo said after the podium ceremony. "It is an amazing feeling right now. Really grateful for this."
The late race drama was not just between the ailing car of Rosberg and Ricciardo but also was for the last podium position. Sebastian Vettel passed the Force India of Sergio Perez into the final chicane on lap 69 of 70 and then on the front stretch down into Turn 1 Felipe Massa made contact with Sergio Perez in a battle for fourth. Both cars went heavily into the safety tire barriers in Turn 1 and Massa's car narrowly missed also taking out Vettel. Both drivers were okay.
A safety car was deployed right away meaning Ricciardo took the checkered flag under the yellow flag at the completion of lap 70. Nico Rosberg finished second and Sebastian Vettel third.
The crash moved Jenson Botton of McLaren up to fourth in the finishing order. Nico Hulkenberg of Force India was fifth, Fernando Alonso of Ferrari sixth, Valtteri Bottas of Williams Martini Racing seventh, Jean-Eric Vergne of Toro Rosso eighth, Kevin Magnussen of McLaren ninth, and Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari tenth to grab that last championship point.
Sergio Perez was scored 11th with Felipe Massa's Williams in 12th. The only other car running was Adrian Sutil's Sauber in 13th. Attrition was large in Canada with 10 of the 22 cars not running at the finish.
Nico Rosberg started on the pole with his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton alongside as the team looked to keep their perfect season alive after one of the two drivers won the first six races of the 2014 season. Hamilton got a good start but Rosberg shut the door on him in Turn 1 to hold the lead. Vettel took advantage and moved into second past Hamilton.
Into Turn 3 on lap 1 the Marussia of Max Chilton lost control and collided into the right-rear of his teammate Jules Bianchi. Bianchi then also slammed into the wall off Turn 4. Both cars were done for the race and the safety car was deployed for cleanup.
The race restarted on lap 8 and Rosberg led. On lap 10 Hamilton passed Vettel into Turn 12 to take second. From there the two Mercedes cars pulled away from the field like they have done all season and it looked to be another battle between the two to see who would win.
After their first pit stops Hamilton turned up the pressure and on lap 25 Rosberg over ran the chicane which allowed him to gain a little advantage on Hamilton. Race control investigated the issue and by lap 33 Hamilton's team told him that Rosberg was warned for the last time but not penalized.
Then on lap 37 Mercedes began to experience a loss of power first with Hamilton's car. Rosberg then reported the same problem on lap 38. The two began to lose 2 seconds per lap compared to what they were running. Rosberg pitted on lap 44 for his final stop and Hamilton pitted on lap 45. As Hamilton was exiting pit road on lap 46 Felipe Massa moved into the lead but still would have to pit one more time. Hamilton came out behind Massa with Rosberg just behind him.
Rosberg made a move on Hamilton when his breaks began to fail on lap 46 and then Hamilton tried to pass him back into the chicane but had a major break failure which forced him to retire from the race.
Massa meanwhile pitted which gave the lead to Rosberg who was trying to nurse his ailing car to the finish. Sergio Perez, who was on only a one stop strategy, was closing in with the Red Bull drivers of Ricciardo and Vettel also right there all within two seconds of Rosberg with 20 laps to go.
On lap 57 Massa passed Nico Hulkenberg for fifth and was four seconds behind the top four cars but with the freshest tires. He closed quickly and over the final 10 laps the top five cars were all within three seconds of each other.
On lap 66 Ricciardo made the move on Perez in Turn 1 to take second and was 1.8 seconds behind Rosberg after completing the pass. He closed that gap in a hurry and on lap 68 it looked like Rosberg's car had an issue down the long stretch to the chicane and Ricciardo passed him for the lead. The battle was on for third and Vettel passed Perez coming to get the white flag. Then Massa made contact with Perez causing the last melee.
The win was the first for a Renault powered car under the new Turbo era of F1.
After seven races Nico Rosberg has 140 points and leads Lewis Hamilton by 22 points. Daniel Ricciardo is third with 79 points and Fernando Alonso is fourth with 69. Sebastian Vettel is fifth with 60 and Nico Hulkenberg is sixth with 57. Rounding out the top 10 are Jenson Button in seventh, Valtteri Bottas eighth, Kevin Magnussen ninth, and Sergio Perez tenth.
Mercedes leads the constructor's standings with 258 points. Red Bull Racing is second with 139, Ferrari is third with 87, and Force India is fourth with 77. McLaren is fifth with 66 and Williams Martini Racing is sixth with 58.
The next race is in Austria on June 22nd.
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- Nico Rosberg Wins Rolex Australian Grand Prix for Mercedes to Open Formula One Season
- Lewis Hamilton Holds Off Nico Rosberg Late to Win the Pirelli Spanish Grand Prix
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