Daniel Ricciardo ended the Silver Arrows’ domination of Formula 1 this season by claiming his maiden victory in a thrilling Canadian Grand Prix at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
The Red Bull Racing driver jumped the ailing Mercedes of championship leader Nico Rosberg with just two laps to the chequered flag to claim an unlikely win.
Despite a MGU-K issue meaning a loss of power, Rosberg was able to extend his championship lead by finishing in second position.
The same cannot be said to his team-mate Lewis Hamilton, who was forced to retire with brake failure.
Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel took third as the race finished under the Safety Car when Sergio Perez and Felipe Massa collided spectacularly on the approach to Turn 1 on the penultimate lap as they battled for fourth position.
That allowed Jenson Button to rise to an unlikely fourth-placed finish for McLaren, ahead of Nico Hulkenberg’s Force India and Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari.
The first half of the Canadian Grand Prix played out as most others have done this season, as the Silver Arrows drivers engaged in a personal battle for victory.
Rosberg made a slower start than his title rival, allowing Hamilton to attack him on the run to Turn 1.
But Rosberg defended his position on the approach to the first corner, locking a front brake on his Mercedes and forcing Hamilton to run wide which gave Vettel track position.
The race was neutralised almost immediately after both Marussias collided at the first chicane.
Max Chilton oversteered wildly into Jules Bianchi through the middle of the corner, pitching the Monaco Grand Prix hero into a violent impact with the wall on the outside of the left-hander and putting both cars out of the race.
It took seven laps for the track marshals to clear the debris and clean the oil spill from Bianchi’s destroyed car.
Rosberg built a 1.7-second gap after the restart, before Hamilton was able to use DRS to breeze past Vettel’s Red Bull approaching the final chicane on lap ten.
Hamilton set off after Rosberg and the Mercedes drivers dropped Vettel at a rate of nearly a second per lap as another of their personal duels for victory continue.
Rosberg still led by two seconds when he pitted on lap 18. A massive moment on his out-lap through the exit of the first chicane gave Hamilton an opportunity of jumping ahead at his own pit-stop on the following lap, but it was six tenths slower than Rosberg’s and that – coupled with an unremarkable in-lap from Hamilton – allowed Rosberg off the hook for his error.
Hamilton re-focused and looked happier on the soft tyres as he set fastest lap and hunted his team-mate down.
The 2008 world champion closed to within half a second and was within striking distance on Rosberg with DRS open when the race leader straight-lined the final chicane after locking up in the braking zone on lap 25.
Hamilton continued to apply big pressure on his team-mate, closing back to within a second while the race stewards investigated Rosberg’s off.
He was handed a warning, meaning no penalty, so retained the race lead as Hamilton closed in again.
But then, Mercedes drivers reported a sudden loss of power shortly after half distance. Losing two seconds per lap to the chasing pack as they nursed their cars.
They pitted for a second time on consecutive laps, briefly allowing Felipe Massa to lead the race, and a slow front-left tyre change for Rosberg allowed Hamilton to get ahead for the first time.
But Hamilton’s joy was short-lived. He fell back behind his team-mate on the out-lap after locking up at the hairpin, and then suffered a rear brake lock-up as he tried to re-pass Rosberg at the final chicane.
Hamilton straight-lined that corner, but began a slow tour back to the pits to retire on lap 48 having suffered rear-brake failure.
Rosberg nursed his own brakes to the end, helped by Perez having to fend off the Red Bulls on much older tyres.
Massa used his final set of fresher soft tyres to charge back through the field, passing team-mate Valtteri Bottas and the struggling Force India of Hulkenberg for fifth in the closing stages and then hunting down the leading quartet.
Ricciardo jumped the ailing Perez (also suffering brake problems) with just five laps to the flag and chased after Rosberg. The Red Bull was able to pass the Silver Arrows in only two laps left by using DRS on the back straight.
When the Safety Car was deployed for the second time after Perez – who used an alternative one-stop strategy to rise from P13 on the grid to the podium fight – and Massa collided, Ricciardo’s first win in Formula 1 was assured.
Bottas nursed his own Williams to seventh, battling brake problems of his own, while the Toro Rosso of Jean-Eric Vergne, Kevin Magnussen’s McLaren and the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen – who recovered from a spin at the hairpin – rounded out the top ten.
So a dramatic Canadian Grand Prix, with Daniel Ricciardo achieving his maiden victory for Red Bull Racing. The Mercedes domination has been halted but Nico Rosberg and the Brackley-based team still leads both championships as Formula 1 return back to Austria later this month.
Canadian Grand Prix, race result after 70 laps:
1. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1h39m12.830s
2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes +4.236s
3. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault +5.247s
4. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes +11.755s
5. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes +12.843s
6. Fernando Alonso Ferrari +14.869s
7. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes +23.578s
8. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault +28.026s
9. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes +29.254s
10. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari +53.678s
11. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 69 laps
12. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 69 laps
13. Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 69 laps
14. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 64 laps
Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 59 laps
Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 47 laps
Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 45 laps
Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 22 laps
Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 21 laps
Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 6 laps
Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 0 laps
Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 0 laps
1. Nico Rosberg 140
2. Lewis Hamilton 118
3. Daniel Ricciardo 79
4. Fernando Alonso 69
5. Sebastian Vettel 60
6. Nico Hulkenberg 57
7. Jenson Button 43
8. Valtteri Bottas 40
9. Kevin Magnussen 23
10. Sergio Perez 20
11. Felipe Massa 18
12. Kimi Raikkonen 18
13. Romain Grosjean 8
14. Jean-Eric Vergne 8
15. Daniil Kvyat 4
16. Jules Bianchi 2
1. Mercedes 258
2. Red Bull-Renault 139
3. Ferrari 87
4. Force India-Mercedes 77
5. McLaren-Mercedes 66
6. Williams-Mercedes 58
7. Toro Rosso-Renault 12
8. Lotus-Renault 8
9. Marussia-Ferrari 2
10. Sauber-Ferrari 0
11. Caterham-Renault 0
Next race: Austrian Grand Prix, Red Bull Ring. June 20-22.