MONTREAL: Daniel Ricciardo ended Mercedes early-season domination yesterday when he drove his Red Bull car to a memorable maiden victory in a crash and incident-packed Canadian Grand Prix.
The 24-year-old Australian took full advantage of power problems that hit both championship leader Nico Rosberg and his Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton in the closing stages to claim a stirring triumph.
Briton Hamilton was forced to retire, but German Rosberg managed to nurse his car home in second place ahead of Ricciardo’s Red Bull team-mate defending four-time champion Sebastian Vettel of Germany.
Rosberg opens up a 22-point lead on Hamilton in the championship standings.
The final lap was run behind a Safety Car after a horrifying high-speed collision between Mexican Sergio Perez of Force India and Brazilian Felipe Massa of Williams saw them fly off into the barriers.
Both appeared not to be seriously injured after the incident as they braked from speeds of more than 240 kph at the end of the 70-laps contest.
Ricciardo’s win meant he has now beaten Vettel in the last five races, a feat that saw him receive well-deserved congratulations from his team-mate. “I am shocked - this is ridiculous,” said the winner, the fourth Australian to win a Formula One race.
Briton Jenson Button came home fourth for McLaren ahead of fifth-placed German Nico Hulkenberg in the second Force India with two-time champion Spaniard Fernando Alonso sixth for Ferrari. Finn Valtteri Bottas finished seventh in the second Williams ahead of Frenchman Jean-Eric Vergne of Toro Rosso, Danish rookie Kevin Magnussen in the second McLaren and 10th placed Finn Kimi Raikkonen in the second Ferrari.
Perez and Massa were placed 11th and 12th respectively at the finish. In the drivers title race, Rosberg now leads with 140 points ahead of Hamilton who has 118 points.
At the start, on a hot and sunlit day at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, there was a palpable air of expectation as the two Mercedes men lined up on the grid.AFP