Daniel Ricciardo overtook a hobbled Nico Rosberg three laps from the finish to claim his maiden Formula One victory in a dramatic Canadian Grand Prix. With both Mercedes cars slowed by a loss of power and Lewis Hamilton retiring with apparent brake problems, Ricciardo took full advantage by passing Sergio Perez and a limping Rosberg in the closing stages.
Mercedes almost hit problems at the very start of the race with Rosberg defending from a fast-starting Hamilton. The Briton went for the outside line at turn one only for the door to abruptly close on him into turn two, allowing Sebastian Vettel to sneak through into second. Lewis would have to wait ten laps for an opportunity to fight back as a pile-up involving the two Marussias at turn four brought out the safety car. Max Chilton had made contact with the left rear of Jules Bianchi as they turned into the chicane and with both sustaining heavy damage, his 100% finishing record was finally broken.
Hamilton sat third ahead of the Williams’ of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa but once the race had returned to green, Hamilton only needed a single lap of DRS assistance to regain second. Through the first round of pit stops, Nico maintained a slight edge, escaping penalty for shortcutting the final chicane while under pressure from his teammate, but the race really began to head south for the Silver Arrows at half distance.
Within a lap of each other, both Mercedes drivers began to report a loss of power and two seconds per lap started disappearing out of the window. A second pit stop apiece for the Mercedes pair promoted Felipe Massa into the lead with Hamilton leapfrogging Rosberg in the process but brake problems started to hamper him at the hairpin, allowing his teammate through again. A second overshoot at the final chicane spelled the end of Lewis’ race and the Briton had no option but to limp into retirement.
Williams responded by bringing Massa in for a second stop, leaving Rosberg with twenty laps to hold off a queue of cars chasing an unlikely victory. The one-stopping Sergio Perez led the chase in second with Ricciardo third after jumping Vettel in the second round of pit stops but Rosberg looked to have the measure of his pursuers in the first and second sectors, compensating for his horrible deficit in the third. Massa was also emerging as a genuine threat on his fresher tyres, climbing back up to fifth.
Sergio was the next to encounter problems while hitting the brakes with his Force India beginning to toil in the closing stages and Ricciardo produced a sensational move into turn one, braving out around the outside to take second. With a much stronger car than ‘Checo’s’ in the twisty section of the lap, Daniel was able to stay within range of Rosberg’s Mercedes as they entered DRS territory and the packed grandstands erupted at the rare sight of a Red Bull overtaking a Mercedes on the back straight on lap 68.
A lap later, Vettel eased past the wounded Perez for third at the final chicane but when Massa attempted a similar move into turn one, the two came together in spectacular style. Both the Williams and the Force India slammed into the wall at high speed, narrowly missing Vettel’s Red Bull, and the decision to utilise the safety car on the last lap effectively brought the race to an early end.
Ricciardo joyfully cruised across the line for a hugely popular victory with Rosberg and Vettel joining him on the podium. The late chaos promoted Nico Hulkenberg and Fernando Alonso but a fast finishing Jenson Button pipped the pair of them to fourth with Hulkenberg fifth and Alonso sixth. Valtteri Bottas faded from sixth thirteen laps out to seventh in the end despite the retirements ahead while Jean-Eric Vergne, Kevin Magnussen and Kimi Raikkonen rounded out the points scorers.