It’s a cruel fact of modern-day F1 that penetrating the mould of race winning drivers is nigh on impossible. Only three times has it happened in the last 6 years. With the divide between talent and money becoming a direct, and ever more apparent, factor in the sport, many drivers that have the former, but not the latter, fail to make the premier class, compared to the frustratingly common opposite scenario.
So after such an eventful Canadian Grand Prix, it seems somewhat unfair on Daniel Ricciardo that his debut GP win was to be overshadowed by the misfortune of others.
The chink in Mercedes armour will of course prove the big talking point within the paddock, as will the pre-race announcement that the genius of anything ‘Formula One’ and with four wheels from the last 20 years, Adrian Newey, will take a step back from the sport in 2015.
Meanwhile the jury is still out amongst fans on just who’s fault the massive SergioPerez/Felipe Massa crash was. Button’s surprise 4th and Rosberg’s new..err…‘line’ through the final chicane also seem to be more popular talking points than Ricciardo’s first win in Formula One, now that the dust has settled.
Sure, much of that misfortune played a key part in Quick-Ric taking the win at the Circuit de Gilles Villeneuve, with Perez’s ailing Force India aiding Ricciardo’s quest for the top step of the podium. However, the significance of such a win cannot and should not be simply brushed away amongst the maple leafs of Montreal.
For Daniel himself, it’s taken less than 10 races in a front-running car to reach the top step of the podium, something that few have achieved before. Lewis Hamilton was the last, in 2007, at the same track. What makes the Smiler’s ever more impressive, is that that elusive first win came in a season that has been, and will be, ruled by the sheer dominance of Mercedes.
As it stands in fact, Ricciardo’s winners trophy could well be the only one awarded to a non-Merc driver in 2014, providing Brackley and Brixworth’s finest sort out their MGU-K and subsequent brake-by-wire issues sooner rather than later.
And then there’s the small matter of Australia, again a winning nation in Formula One. Ricciardo in-fact is only the 4th Aussie to win a Grand Prix, and has taken off well from where Mark Webber took off. Unlike Webber, however, Ricciardo has proven consistently over the course of the first seven Grands Prix of the year, and that he is more than capable of beating teammate and four-time world champion, Sebastian Vettel.
That said, Vettel is far from in the comfort bubble he was snuggled up in between 2010-2013, largely down to his dislike for the new-for-2014 brake-by-wire system on his RB10 that helps charge the necessary power units. An issue it seems, that hasn’t fazed Ricciardo, as he continues to outshine Vettel -over one lap in particular – and as we saw in Canada, over the course of 70 laps, as he made the most of a golden opportunity that Vettel seemingly bypassed.
Both Ricciardo and Vettel will be hoping to build on the Red Bull’s return to the ‘two drivers on the podium format’ in two weeks time at the team’s (quite literal) home race at the Red Bull Ring (formally known as the A1 Ring) in Austria. For the latter, it’s all about drawing level with Ricciardo and reminding the new-boy, as well as the rest of the world, just who the bid dog is at Red Bull.
As for Ricciardo, all he really needs to do is do exactly as he has from the first day of the first pre-season test way back in March; rattle Vettel’s cage, continue to reign champion as best of the rest, keep his cool where and when his predecessor Webber couldn’t, and be the humble and likeable character that has fast made him a favourite in and out of the F1 Paddock.