Montréal – Today’s Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix was by far the most thrilling race yet of the 2014 season. It began with Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton taking the front row on the starting grid. Upon the lights going out, Hamilton initially appeared to take the advantage over his fellow Mercedes driver, but it was not to be. Hamilton took the outside a few corners further down the circuit, being passed by both Rosberg and Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel (GER). It seemed like the front end of the race was set, with Rosberg being chased by Vettel and Hamilton, however a sudden crash between the two Marussias, caused by their British driver Max Chilton, caused a safety car to run on the track for the first ten laps or so.
The race continued to be a surprise filled with retirements and crashes, as both Caterhams retired by the halfway point in the race. Likewise, by the end of the race both Lotuses were out. Perhaps the biggest retirement of the weekend was Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, whose brakes failed on Lap 43, leaving the chance of continuing a Mercedes sweep of the season on edge, as his German teammate Rosberg was having the same problems as Hamilton.
For a brief while, due to pit stops and various driver errors, Williams’ Felipe Massa held the lead, only to be passed by Rosberg soon there after. After Hamilton’s retirement, the battle at the front was between Mercedes’ Rosberg, the two Red Bulls of Ricciardo and Vettel, the Force Indias of Hülkenberg and Pérez, and the Williams of Massa. Pérez was able to hold the rest of the pack back, save Rosberg who was already ahead of him, for a good portion of the final laps of the race. However, he was soon passed by Ricciardo. The Australian then made his way further forward, passing the last standing Mercedes of Rosberg, and taking the race lead.
Ricciardo’s lead was not totally secured until the safety car made a second appearance in Lap 70, after Massa’s brakes failed at around 160 mph, causing him to collide at an equally fast-paced Sergio Pérez, sending both the Brazilian and Mexican barreling into the barriers, sending shock throughout the Formula 1 world. What Sebastian Vettel, the driver between the two retirées, had to have done to stay in the race (one Twitter commentator made note of some “Jedi mind tricks”) worked, as he barely made it out of the danger zone at Turn 1 with Massa and Pérez flying on either side past him. Thankfully, both Massa and Pérez were able to get out of their cars and have been taken to a local hospital.
The race finished with a flurry of excitement for Red Bull and especially for the people of Perth, Western Australia, as their hometown driver Daniel Ricciardo finished in first, winning his first grand prix. With the sport heading to the Red Bull Ring (formerly the A1 Ring) in Austria, their two drivers are looking to repeat today’s podium, if not perhaps to have Vettel regain his place from the last four years at the top of the podium.
As for Mercedes AMG Petronas, we will have to wait and see how they work out their problems from today in Montréal.