Magic Montreal ensures Formula One another Canada classic

Daniel Ricciardo takes the limelight, but it was a big day for Nico Rosberg in Canada. Daniel Ricciardo takes the limelight, but it was a big day for Nico Rosberg in Canada.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014
10:07 AM

It doesn’t matter how many new places Formula One wants to conquer, the bosses should always ensure Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is on the calendar. Only a few years ago, one particularly dramatic Canadian Grand Prix was the basis for devising an entire strategy for Formula One tyres – and Pirelli delivered the remit perfectly.

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This year’s race wasn’t a let down either. April’s grand prix in Bahrain was fantastic – yet it now isn’t even the best race of the season.

On reflection, Nico Rosberg’s drive was something special. He did get lucky too, given Lewis Hamilton’s dramatic brake failure ensured Mercedes wouldn’t let the same thing happen to their other car.

Yet he somehow kept his silver arrow ticking over, bringing it home second and with it, making a huge dent in Hamilton’s title hopes.

Rosberg’s was the kind of drive that doesn’t win you a race, but can definitely win you a championship.

Good week, bad week

Pole position – McLaren: While everyone seemed to be struggling with their issues, Jenson Button brought his car home in fourth almost without anyone noticing.

Stalling – Marussia: From such a high at Monaco, the young team left Montreal with two smashed cars and two drivers arguing over who’s fault it was; and that despite another hugely encouraging performance, albeit in qualifying.

But what Montreal really delivered was a big underline to an Australian driver who looks capable of being anything he wants to be over the coming years.

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Daniel Ricciardo – and I’ll continue to maintain you pronounce both I’s in his name – was sublime in taking his first Formula One win on Sunday. His overtake on Sergio Perez, making his opportunity to pass Rosberg a few laps later, was stunning for the fact he managed to keep at least some part of his car between the two white lines.

His face in the post-race green room and on the podium gave away just how new all this F1 success is to him, as well. And that means he has plenty more to come, if his demeanour starts to match his talent.

But biggest of all was finally having a firing Sebastian Vettel on the opposite side of the garage. A Vettel who outqualified him, yet still fell behind in the race.

There’s still a question mark over whether Ricciardo can keep that up over the course of the year. But what is becoming apparent is he appears entirely capable of managing it.

And if he does, the big post-race bear hugs Vettel is dishing out to his team-mate may start to dry up.

Most impressive about Lewis Hamilton less than a month ago was the dramas had gone – he was just about delivering on the track and focusing on the drivers’ crown.

But old habits may die hard – the dramas are creeping back in. We all know about Monaco. And in Canada, Lewis’ supreme record seemingly put him under that bit of extra pressure Nico avoided.

But maybe the biggest giveaway has been Lewis’ desperate attempts to make out all is well between him and his team-mate. On more than one occasion, he’s seemed too keen to prove the point – when in truth, he needs to avoid the distraction.

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