Infiniti Red Bull Racing finally broke the 100% win record of the Mercedes team in Montreal when Australian Daniel Ricciardo won the Canadian Grand Prix. Team-mate Sebastian Vettel was third on a good day for the team as they took advantage of power unit and braking problems for both Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton.
Starting sixth, Ricciardo climbed to third after the second round of pit stops, then overtook the Force India of Sergio Perez for second and Rosberg for the lead in the closing stages to take him maiden Grand Prix victory and thus became the 105th driver to win a race in F1.
“I’m a grand prix winner,” exclaimed a happy Ricciardo. “I think it still seems a bit surreal to be honest, just because it all happened so quickly at the end. I was third for a while and then it all happened in a really exciting fashion. Once I got past Perez I knew I just had to drive clean and get in Rosberg’s DRS zone and, from then on, it was just awesome.
“Finishing under the safety car made it a bit weird, but I wanted to make sure the two drivers who were in the accident were okay before I started celebrating. We achieved a great result today with first and third – so let’s enjoy it – but we will still have some work to do also. This will motivate the guys to work even harder and find even more, so I’m sure it will keep coming even better for us at the next few races.”
Team-mate and four-time World Champion Vettel was full of praise for the newest race winner in Formula 1, and was delighted the team were back winning races after a difficult start to the season. He finished third in Montreal, but was lucky to avoid the last lap crash of Felipe Massa and Perez when Massa’s Williams slid just in front of him at high speed en route to hitting the wall.
“Congratulations to Daniel for his first win, which is very, very special, so I’m happy for him and happy for the team, especially after such a horrible winter,” said Vettel. “It’s nice to be able to finally break through to get a win this year and capitalise on Mercedes having a problem. I think we could have taken more risk with the strategy today – but it’s hard to know exactly what was going on around me when I’m not sitting on the pit wall.
“We have developed the car a lot this year, so we are going in the right direction, but we need to develop it even more for the straights, so there is still a lot of work ahead of us. We are here to keep pushing and to keep doing our best.”
Team Principal Christian Horner was delighted for Ricciardo claiming his debut win and breaking the run of the Mercedes team in the process. He admitted the team needed Mercedes to run into problems to get their first win of the season, but he was happy that Ricciardo was in the position to capitalize on those problems when they arose in Montreal.
“An amazing race today and what an amazing race for Daniel to win his first Grand Prix,” said Horner. “He’s been phenomenal since he joined the team and I think today he fully deserved the victory. We benefited from the misfortune of Mercedes, but nonetheless he still had to be there and his pass on Perez was the deciding moment in the last ten laps. He was then able to make an easy pass on Nico with a couple of laps to go and to win in Montreal, against all expectation, was a phenomenal result.
“The added bonus of having Sebastian up there on the podium as well tops off a perfect day. After a good start, Seb unfortunately just got locked behind the Force India and no matter what we tried we couldn’t manage to pass – it was one of those frustrating races for Seb who in the end was fortunate not to be collected by the Williams and Force India. Thankfully both of those drivers escaped unhurt. Well done to everyone in the team today and at Renault for the first win of the season – it’s a great result and a great motivation for the forthcoming races.”