CANA­DIAN GP DE­BRIEF

REA­SON FOR RIC­CIA­RDO TO SMILE

F1 Racing - - CONTENTS - by James Roberts

It only took a whiff of good luck to deliver to Daniel Ric­cia­rdo a mem­o­rable maiden vic­tory

As Aus­tralia woke to the news of Daniel Ric­cia­rdo’s maiden vic­tory in Canada there were calls to re­name the Queens Birth­day Mon­day pub­lic hol­i­day Daniel Ric­cia­rdo Day. On the podium even Dan him­self seemed sur­prised, but it was cer­tainly a de­served win, one which only came af­ter Ric­cia­rdo took full ad­van­tage of the few op­por­tu­ni­ties which did come his way. It was a shock to see a non-sil­ver car take the che­quered flag, be­cause the early sea­son form of the Mercedes team had made the prospect of any­one other than Lewis Hamil­ton or Nico Ros­berg win­ning this year re­mote at best. So to claim one’s first grand prix win in such cir­cum­stances, and in the process be­come the first non-Merc driver to win this year, is pretty damned spe­cial. From an Aus­tralian point of view, what made Ric­cia­rdo’s first grand prix win even more spe­cial was that it came less than three days be­fore the state fu­neral was held for Sir Jack Brab­ham. From the Red Bull team’s per­spec­tive, it’s per­haps po­etic that on the very day Ric­cia­rdo gave the team its first win for 2014 it came to light that Adrian Newey was to step back from his day-to-day Red Bull role, one of his cars won the Cana­dian Grand Prix, bring­ing to an end Mercedes’ dom­i­na­tion of the 2014 sea­son. Over the next few months Newey will move into a con­sul­tancy role to men­tor new talent within Red Bull (and work on other projects), so it was fit­ting that young Daniel Ric­cia­rdo scooped his maiden F1 vic­tory and gave the RB10 its first win of the year. It was a de­served vic­tory, be­cause dur­ing the race Ric­cia­rdo took full ad­van­tage of the op­por­tu­ni­ties pre­sented to him, and and in­cluded the chance to take the lead for the first time just two laps from

home. His cause was helped, it must be said, by both Mercedes W05 Hy­brids self-de­struc­t­ing in the heat of the Cir­cuit Gilles-Vil­leneuve on Mon­tréal’s Île Notre-Dame. The start/fin­ish straight is very nar­row and the first- and sec­ond-placed cars were no­tice­ably close to each other on the grid. It meant sec­ond­placed Hamil­ton had a chance of pass­ing his team-mate Ros­berg if he made a good start. That’s just what he got, and the two ap­proached the brak­ing zone for Turn 1 side by side. Ros­berg was on the in­side and he locked up but man­aged to force Lewis wide – caus­ing him to lose a place to Se­bas­tian Vet­tel. Hamil­ton later de­scribed the move as “just rac­ing…” At the next cor­ner later there was mayhem at the back of the pack. Max Chilton lost con­trol en­ter­ing Turn 3 and speared into his Marussia team-mate Jules Bianchi, whose car was spun hard into the out­side wall. Cue Safety car. In Chilton’s 26th grand prix, his re­mark­able 100 per cent F1 fin­ish­ing record had come to an end. On the restart, Ros­berg made the most of Hamil­ton be­ing stuck be­hind Vet­tel’s Red Bull and be­gan to open up a gap. But af­ter ten laps, Hamil­ton had clam­bered up to sec­ond and be­gan to slowly hunt down his team-mate. His good work came un­done in the first round of pit­stops as the two came in to change from the su­per­soft to the soft-com­pound rub­ber. Ros­berg stopped for 3.1secs, Hamil­ton 3.6secs, in­creas­ing the gap be­tween them to 2.5 sec­onds. It could have been more, had Ros­berg not lost time with a slide that so nearly ended his race in the wall at Turn 4. Hamil­ton set about clos­ing the gap to get within DRS range. But on lap 25 Ros­berg locked up un­der brak­ing at the fi­nal cor­ner, dodged the kerb and cut the cor­ner, ex­tend­ing his ad­van­tage over Hamil­ton. Pete Bon­ning­ton gave Lewis sound ad­vice over the ra­dio in the con­text of what had hap­pened in Monaco: “Nico is un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion,” he said. “Don’t take any risks.” De­spite Ros­berg leading, you sus­pected this race would fall in Lewis’s favour. Then – sud­denly – Mercedes’ race hit the skids. En­ter­ing Turn 10 on lap 36, first Ros­berg, and then in Turn 7 on lap 37, Hamil­ton – both suf­fered a sig­nif­i­cant loss of power from their en­gines. “We had a fail­ure of the en­gine con­trol sys­tems on the MGU-K; we found a peak in tem­per­a­tures and they shut down,” ex­plained Toto Wolff af­ter the race. “It was some­thing we haven’t had be­fore. We told both driv­ers to man­age the brakes as when you lose the elec­tric mo­tor you lose the elec­tric brak­ing, so the brakes were over­heat­ing. We told both driv­ers to be care­ful.” Lewis had been run­ning more rear­ward brake bias, and when he en­tered the pits for his sec­ond stop, tem­per­a­tures rose so high that his brakes failed com­pletely on his re­turn to the track, which forced his sec­ond re­tire­ment of the year. Ros­berg con­tin­ued to drive su­perbly to nurse his stricken Mercedes, some four sec­onds off the pace, which al­lowed the rest of the field to close up. The charge was led by the one-stop­ping Force In­dia of Ser­gio Pérez, just ahead of Daniel Ric­cia­rdo and Se­bas­tian Vet­tel. Ric­cia­rdo once again out­classed his team-mate, squeez­ing ahead thanks to his ag­gres­sive pace on the in-lap of his sec­ond pit­stop on lap 37. That was enough to put him in con­tention in the lat­ter stages. “Se­bas­tian re­ported he was in trou­ble with his tyres and wanted us to look at strat­egy,” said Red Bull’s Chris­tian Horner soon af­ter the che­quered flag. “So we put him into a bit of clear air, pit­ted Dan a lap later and his in-lap was mas­sively im­pres­sive. The pit­stops were within 0.2secs of one other, but it was the in-lap that did the dam­age and that’s how he got the jump on Seb.”

With the Re­nault lack­ing the straight­line speed to com­pete with Force In­dia’s Mercedes en­gine, Ric­cia­rdo knew he had to over­take un­der brak­ing and passed Pérez on the out­side of the brak­ing zone for Turn 1. With two wheels on the grass, he man­aged to hold it to­gether and had four laps in which to pass Ros­berg. He did it three laps from the end, tak­ing his first win in a thrilling fin­ish. Sadly, his fi­nal lap wasn’t at rac­ing speed, as the Safety Car was de­ployed again for a scary-look­ing dou­ble-shunt in­volv­ing Pérez and Massa. Head­ing into the last cor­ner on lap 69, Vet­tel man­aged to pass Pérez, who was strug­gling with his brakes, en­cour­ag­ing Massa, on much fresher tyres, to do like­wise into Turn 1 for the fi­nal time. There was con­tact be­tween Force In­dia and Wil­liams (Pérez was later held to have changed his line in the brak­ing zone, trig­ger­ing the shunt) and both cars crashed heav­ily into the Turn 1 bar­ri­ers. Massa’s out-of-con­trol Wil­liams only just missed Vet­tel as he en­tered the left-han­der. Post-race, both Massa and Pérez were taken to hospi­tal for checks and were later dis­charged. The only last­ing wound was a five-place grid penalty for Pérez, to be served in Aus­tria. Look­ing up at a de­lighted Ric­cia­rdo on the podium was Adrian Newey. He re­minded us of where the team had been just a few months ago: “If you re­mem­ber in pre-sea­son test­ing we could barely string a lap to­gether and we’ve got into a po­si­tion in this race so when oth­ers have prob­lems we can take ad­van­tage of them…” It’s that never-give-up spirit Newey will be hop­ing to pass on to fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.

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