Breath back, mouth closed after laps of being left gaping, and ears restored to normality after Jean Alesi’s painful podium interviews; it’s time for our Canadian Grand Prix Top Dog!
Despite the mass array of candidates after a scintillating race (at Mercedes expense), it could only really be the smiler himself…
When Daniel Ricciardo got into his car prior to the race, he probably envisioned a ‘good day’ being a 4th place finish come the end of the 70 laps, starting from 6th, behind the rampant Merc’s of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, Williams duo Valtteri Bottas and Felipe ‘crasha’ Massa, and Red Bull teammate Sebastian Vettel. What he, I, the paddock, and fans alike did NOT expect was the seemingly impenetrable Mercedes W05 Hybrid going Pete Tong, and an epic 5 car showdown come the last 5 laps of the race.
Nonetheless, by the power (or lack of it) of his Renault engine, an exercise in tyre management, and a cool head to fend off the efforts of Seb, Ricciardo made it past the ailing Sergio Perez late on the race, before doing what the Mexican could not and passing Rosberg on the penultimate lap of the race, en route to taking the chequered flag in Montreal.
It is certainly a popular victory, following his home Grand Prix heartache 7 races ago, his demonstration of Vettel-beating pace in the same machinery, and a personality that even the bitterest of Formula One fan couldn’t dismiss.
It goes without saying that drives from Jenson Button, Sergio Perez, Nico Rosberg deserve massive credit, as will be given in our upcoming Drivers Analysis piece.
But for now, Daniel Ricciardo, you are the first driver to break the Mercedes stranglehold in 2014, a first time GP winner, owner of the worlds widest grin, and most importantly: our Top Dog. Enjoy it!