Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo took his maiden Formula One victory in at the Canadian Grand after power unit problems forced Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg to settle to second after team-mate Lewis Hamilton was forced to retire with brake problems after 46 laps.
Sebastian Vettel finished third after passing Force India’s Sergio Perez, who also struggled with brake issues, two laps from the flag. However, the race ended under the safety car following a high-speed crash involving Perez and Felipe Massa on the penultimate lap.
At the start, Rosberg held off a strong challenge from Hamilton, holding his line as Hamilton made a move into turn one. The tussle allowed Vettel to sneak through into second. Behind them Williams’ Valtteri Bottas held fourth ahead of Massa, with Ricciardo sixth. Fernando Alonso, meanwhile, dropped back, surrendering seventh place to Jean-Eric Vergne. Kimi Raikkonen, too, made up a place, passing Jenson Button for ninth.
At the back, though, there was a collision. Just after the start Max Chilton lost control into Turn 4 and collided with team-mate Jules Bianchi and pitched the Frenchman into the barriers. Chilton, too, spun out as a result. It was the first time Chilton had failed to finish in Formula One. The double DNF was a bitter pill for Marussia after the team took its first points in Monaco two weeks ago.
When the action resumed the leaders all held position but Button lost out again, Sergio Perez passing the McLaren driver into the chicane to slot into the final points position.
At the front, Hamilton made his move on second-placed Vettel at the end of lap nine, passing the Red Bull under DRS into the final chicane. The move left the Mercedes driver 1.7s adrift of his team-mate.
Ricciardo was the first to make a scheduled stop at the end of lap 13. The Australian swapped his starting supersoft tyres for soft rubber. The stop saw Ricciardo re-emerge in 14th place. Bottas responded, pitting on the next tour from fourth place. He re-emerged just in front of Ricciardo. The next lap saw Vettel, Vergne and Massa all making their way to pit lane for soft tyres.
Massa’s stop, however, was problematic. A delay with the front left wheel saw the Brazilian lose out badly and he was jumped on track by both Ricciardo and Vergne.
Leader Rosberg stopped on lap 18, shedding his supersofts for soft tyres. Hamilton pushed hard to make up time and that forced Rosberg to be similarly committed. The German’s enthusiasm was almost very costly as he took too much kerb just after leaving the pits and almost hit the wall.
Hamilton pitted the next time around but his in-laps hadn’t clawed back enough time to pass his team-mate and Rosberg held his lead comfortably.
After 21 laps, then, most of the field had made a visit to pit lane. Sergio Perez, however was still circling on his starting supersofts and had climbed to third behind the Mercedes drivers, while Nico Hulkenberg, on his starting soft tyres in the second Force India had climbed to fourth ahead of Vettel, who led Bottas, Ricciardo, Alonso, Massa and Vergne.
At the front, Hamilton was exerting heavy pressure on Rosberg. The German made a mistake at the end of lap 25, locked up and straightlined the chicane. The incident seemed to gain the leader time on the track and the FIA stewards quickly put the incident under investigation. However, the officials eventually decided not to penalise the German and Hamilton was left to pass his team-mate on the track.
Perez finally pitted at the end of lap 34, the Mexican taking on his final set of tyres, discarding his starting supersofts for soft tyres.
Bottas was the first of the two-stoppers to return to pit lane at the end of the next lap. He was followed on lap 36 by Vettel. His team-mate Ricciardo followed a short while late but his pace was sufficient to allow him to jump the champion.
Hamilton, meanwhile, was on the radio reporting a loss of power. He wasn’t alone and Rosberg was soon on the radio reporting the same issue. Both were suddenly dropping two seconds a lap to third-placed Hulkenberg. The second Force India driver made his sole stop on lap 42, taking on supersofts. He emerged in eighth position behind the Vettel/Ricciardo battle.
At the front, the Mercedes were still running slow – a second slower per lap than new third-place man Massa, who was 17s adrift. Rosberg was told the problem was not fixable and that both would have to push hard to stay in control.
When the two Mercedes drivers made their stops, Massa assumed the lead. Rosberg had a slow stop and when Hamilton came in the next time around the Briton was able to rejoin ahead of his team-mate in P2.
Rosberg soon had the position back however as Hamilton suddenly overshot the final chicane, clearly struggling with his brakes. The problems quickly became terminal and he was forced to retire on lap 46.
Massa then pitted from the lead, handing control back to Rosberg. The Williams driver had been told to try to nurse his tyres to the end but the team gave up that chase and the Brazilian bolted on a new set of soft tyres in the hope that the boost in pace would help in the closing stages.
It was Perez, then, who was left to chase down the troubled Mercedes of Rosberg. The gap between the two disappeared within a handful of tours and on lap 52 the Force India man was just half a second down on the faltering W05 Hybrid. Behind Perez, the Red Bulls of Ricciardo and Vettel were also suddenly vaulted into contention.
Rosberg, though, was determined to stay in control and after being told by his team to push when he could the German began to put in better laps, eventually stabilising the gap to Perez at the one-second mark.
Futher back, the battle for fifth was hotting up, with Hulkenberg under pressure from Bottas and Massa. The Brazilian was on fresher tyres than his team-mate and the Williams pit wall soon told Bottas to let him past. Bottas attempted a move on Hulkenberg that forced the German wide at the hairpin and Massa was able to leapfrog both and move into fifth place. With new tyres and running faster than anyone else on track he began to close on fourth-placed Vettel.
The final few laps were thrilling as a four-car train formed behind Rosberg, all battling for the lead. It was Ricciardo who made the decisive move, first muscling past Perez into turn one, and then overtaking the struggling Rosberg under DRS later in the lap to take the lead. Behind them Vettel pressed Perez and eventually got past the Mexican, who was struggling with brake wear, on the penultimate lap.
Massa on much fresher tyres saw his chance and attempted to get past Perez on the final lap. The pair collided at high speed and both arrowed off track and hit the barriers hard, scaterring debris across the circuit. The safety car was immediately deployed, giving Vettel no chance to make a move on Rosberg in the final corners.
Ricciardo then took his first grand prix victory ahead of Rosberg and Vettel. Button was a surprise fourth, with Hulkenberg fifth. Fernando Alonso was sixth for Ferrari ahead of Bottas, Vergne, the second McLaren of Kevin Magnussen and Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen. (FIA)