When Mercedes’ armor cracked, Red Bull’s new star took full advantage
Like McLaren in 1988, or Ferrari in
2002, the Mercedes AMG F1 team has
fallen short in its bid for a 100 percent
winning record in a single season. Its
perfect start to 2014 ended at the
seventh round, the Canadian Grand Prix.
While Mercedes’ points leader Nico
Rosberg maintained his remarkable
record of finishing first or second in every
race in the 2014 season, the German was
forced to concede the race lead to Daniel
Ricciardo’s Red Bull Racing RB10 with
two laps to go. After losing an estimated
QUITTING WHILE AHEAD
The ferocious five-way battle that marked
the closing stages of the Canadian Grand
Prix ended with a collision between Sergio
Perez’s Force India and the Williams of
Felipe Massa at the start of the last lap.
Massa’s engineer Rob Smedley was angry
that Force India didn’t call Perez to pit
after the Mexican complained of having
no rear brakes a few laps from the end.
“Why you leave a car out when you’ve
got that sort of problem is beyond me,”
said Smedley, who pointed out that
Montreal has signed a 10-year, $170m deal
to retain the Canadian GP at Circuit Gilles
Villeneuve, on condition that pits and
medical center improvements are in place
by 2017. The track first hosted F1 in 1978.
Williams and Mercedes had voluntarily
retired Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton,
respectively, with similar braking issues.
Perez responded stoutly, commenting:
“If someone thinks you can keep two Red
Bulls behind for as long as we did with
so-called ‘terminal’ problems, they are
It was ironic this dispute should occur
at the track named after Gilles Villeneuve,
whose tenet was “drive it ’til it stops.”
Or, rather, can’t…
160hp following a failure within his
Mercedes W05 Hybrid’s energy recovery
system, Rosberg was nonetheless able to
hold on to runner-up spot. That extended
his championship lead to 22 points
following teammate Lewis Hamilton’s
second DNF of the season, this time
because of rear brake failure.
However, no one at Red Bull Racing
was under any illusion that by some
margin the W05 remains the car to beat.
“Let’s not beat about the bush –
Mercedes had the quickest car,” said RBR
boss Christian Horner. “They ran into
issues [but] they were very, very strong.
We still have a lot to do. We were
7-10mph slower compared to a Force
India or Williams on the straight, and that
is where we need to improve.”
Although this sounded like another jab
at Red Bull’s engine supplier Renault, the
team denied it was looking to switch.
“Change to who?” said team owner
Dietrich Mateschitz. “We have no
alternatives and the contracts with
Renault are long term.”
Most people felt
that if any driver
deserved to benefit
from a Mercedes
off-day this year, it
was Daniel Ricciardo.
who replaced Mark
Webber at Red Bull
at the start of this
season, has usually
– though not always
– had a noticeable
edge on four-time
both in terms of
pace and in his
ability to nurse his
tires on race days.
Get the inside line
on Ricciardo at Red
Bull in our story,
starting page 76.
PACE, AT LEAST
Sir Frank Williams at
least saw his FW36s
were fast, starting
fourth and fifth. C h
Massa destruction, but this one didn’t
look his fault, Perez having jinked into
his path as Felipe went to pass him.
All the latest Formula 1 news at An all-Mercedes front
row was a familiar sight,
but when one stopped
and the other limped,
Red Bull pounced.