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Class of the Field
Adam Barton

A Formula One fan since he was six, back while Häkkinen and Schumacher were having many an epic battle, Adam has seen a great deal. From German domination (twice), to British determination (once) and a Spanish invasion. A near compulsive fan who one day hopes to write about the sport for a living, outside of F1 Adam also authors his own blog One Guy's Opinion.

G'day for Ricciardo! // Mercedes calamities allow others to challenge for win 

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The Canadian GP never disappoints. The first half of the race was intriguing but it was midway through the race that things got really interesting as it became clear that the Mercedes had a hole, let alone a chink in their armour. And not only that, there were five or six contenders to go for the win against the Mercedes and you had no idea who could and would win it. But it was Ricciardo who won out and took his maiden victory, holding off teammate Sebastian Vettel and making late moves on Checo Pérez and Nico Rosberg. 

Vergne’s talent masked by weak Renault power

Jean-Éric Vergne, Scuderia Toro Rosso: Started 8th, finished 8th

The Frenchman shone on the day his former teammate hit the big time. After a weekend in Monaco where he had all the pace but none of the luck, Vergne performed at a first class standard all weekend in a car that was clearly deficient to the majority of its rivals. Vergne made it into Q3 once again, as well as having half a second on his teammate, who could only manage 15th (showing how tight it is in Canada due to the short track length.

Vergne didn’t let the lack of power affect him and was in seventh for much of the first stint, holding up far faster cars behind him for the good of his strategy. Unfortunately the inherent lack of pace bit hard at the first round of stops as Vergne dropped to 11th when he was a victim of the undercut and suddenly he had all the work to do again in his slower car.

The inherent lack of pace bit hard at the first round of stops

He did jump back into the points midway through his final stint but his stellar drive was rewarded properly when Felipe Massa and Sergio Pérez came to blows and launched him up to eighth place for four vital points for Toro Rosso. This car may not be as quick as the Italian minnows desired, but it’s getting there and with Vergne at the wheel, points are always possible.

Dan gets his chance

Daniel Ricciardo, Infiniti Red Bull Racing: Started 6th, finished 1st

Ricciardo is beating teammate Vettel on a regular basis
Credit: Mathias Kniepeiss/Getty

How does Daniel Ricciardo do it? Let alone beating the rest of the field, he’s beating teammate Sebastian Vettel on a regular basis!

He was beaten by the German in qualifying after a bad lap in Q3 left him sixth behind the Williams. But he held Vettel off manfully in the race, and when he got the opportunity to pass ‘Checo’ Pérez, he was as aggressive as he could be, knowing it was his last chance at going for victory with Pérez's failing car and tyres ahead and Rosberg crawling home but creeping out an almost unassailable lead.

The Force Indias looked to have scuppered Red Bull's day but Ricciardo fought on, knowing that he would get his chance. Just as he did with the race-winning move on Rosberg with just two laps to go.

Pérez so close to success

Sergio Pérez, Sahara Force India F1 Team: Started 13th, finished 11th

Pérez’s drive was incredible: he had a Force India on the verge of victory, and not only that he did it with a car that wasn’t running on optimum. He was 13th in qualifying largely down to the car’s trouble heating tyres up to operating temperature quickly enough to allow Pérez and Hülkenberg to extract the maximum from the car, although Nico did manage to qualify two places higher in 11th.

The fun really started in the race though. Force India knew that they had a quick car and were good on their tyres (as the lack of tyre warming showed in qualifying). The best way to utilise this was to run a long first stint and then only pit once, ruining the hopes of the two stoppers who couldn’t build up enough of a lead in the first stint.

It worked to perfection, not least with the formation flying that they were able to exhibit after others had made their first stop, with Hülkenberg’s slower pace holding the likes of the Red Bulls and Ferraris up behind while Pérez eked out a lead.

Like in Bahrain, once again it was Pérez who rose to the occasion when there was a podium for the taking

And then once the pair had stopped, Pérez gained the role of heir apparent once it was evident that the Mercedes had big issues. He closed and closed and closed but he couldn’t get back into the DRS zone, and that proved vital as it left him unable to beat Rosberg and vulnerable to Ricciardo behind, ceding position to a ballsy move around the outside of turn one with a few laps to go.

The biggest shame was that Pérez didn’t get anything to show for his efforts. Like in Bahrain, once again it was Pérez who rose to the occasion when there was a podium for the taking though admittedly Vettel had already displaced him, he blew Hülkenberg out of the water in the race). As for his race-ending incident, I call it 50/50. I’m usually extremely critical of drivers moving in the braking zone as it creates incidents like that one, but I will let Pérez off the hook because I think that he was reacting to Sebastian Vettel rather than moving to block Massa. I think it was a racing incident and that the penalty was harsh, though after such a big crash a penalty was inevitable for one of them.

Rosberg recovers magnificently


Nico Rosberg, Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team: Started 1st, finished 2nd

How Nico Rosberg finished on the podium is beyond me. He was missing so much power, which shows how much of a power advantage that Mercedes AMG have, and had such a compromised front brake biased setup, which shows how much of an advantage the Mercedes chassis has.

Rosberg's Canadian GP drive was surely one of his best
Credit: Daimler AG

I don’t know if Rosberg’s earlier forward brake bias compared to Hamilton rescued him or if he managed the problem more effectively or whether he was just plain lucky but his Canadian GP drive was surely one of his best. He beat Lewis Hamilton in qualifying. He then held him off, somewhat legally; all the way until Hamilton’s brakes went kaput and Rosberg became focused on the chasing pack. As a spectacle of guile, wit, talent, crisis management and so much more, it was simply stunning. And I did say that he could beat Hamilton in Canada!