– Source: AFP
The Australian was beaming with pride after clinching his maiden victory in dramatic fashion in Montreal on Sunday, ending Mercedes’ early-season domination.
Ricciardo capitalised on power and electrical problems that hit both championship leader Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton to take the lead with just two laps to go.
“The race came to life at the end,” said the 24-year-old.
“It’s still a little bit surreal. It’s not like we were leading the whole race, so it’s not like I had time to understand that I was going to win.”
Briton Hamilton was forced to retire with brake issues but German Rosberg managed to nurse his car home in second, ahead of Ricciardo’s teammate and defending four-time champion Sebastian Vettel.
“We had a problem at the pit stop and that’s why I dropped behind,” said Rosberg.
“Then I lost a lot of power in the straights, but it did not quite work out. I couldn’t hold off Daniel Ricciardo.”
Rosberg’s second place allowed him to open up a 22-point lead on Hamilton in the championship standings. Ricciardo has moved up to third, 71 points off the lead.
The final lap was run behind a safety car after a horrifying high-speed collision between Force India’s Sergio Perez and Williams driver Felipe Massa sent both into the barriers.
Perez and Massa, whose impacts were measured at 27G, escaped serious injury but were both taken to the circuit medical centre for precautionary examinations.
Ricciardo’s win, Red Bull and Renault’s first of the season, meant he has now beaten Vettel in the last five races.
“Congratulations to Daniel,” said Vettel.
“It’s his day. We had a big help from Mercedes, unlike other weekends, but we were there to capitalise. It’s been a positive day.
“Daniel’s first win and a first win for Renault in the new era of engines. They have had a good comeback although there is still plenty of work ahead of us because Mercedes are quicker down the straight, but all in all it’s been a good day.”
The win will no doubt provide a shot in the arm for Red Bull, who next head to Austria for their home race on June 22.
“If we could repeat this result in Spielberg, I think Austria would explode with happiness!” said Ricciardo.
“I have heard that the race is fully sold out, and I am sure with today’s result there are no tickets left whatsoever.”
Briton Jenson Button came home fourth for McLaren ahead of fifth-placed Nico Hulkenberg in the second Force India, with two-time champion Spaniard Fernando Alonso sixth for Ferrari.
Williams’ Finn driver Valtteri Bottas finished seventh, ahead of Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne, Danish rookie Kevin Magnussen in the second McLaren and Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen in 10th.
Fact: Australian F1 grand prix winners
AUSTRALIA’S F1 GRAND PRIX WINNERS
- 2012 – Monaco, Great Britain
- 2011 – Brazil
- 2010 – Spain, Monaco, Great Britain, Hungary
- 2009 – Germany, Brazil
- 1981 – USA West, Caesars Palace
- 1980 – Argentina, France, Great Britain, Canada, USA
- 1979 – Germany, Austria, Netherlands, Canada
- 1977 – Austria
SIR JACK BRABHAM
- 1970 – South Africa
- 1967 – France, Canada
- 1966 – France, Great Britain, Netherlands, Germany
- 1960 – Netherlands, Belgium, France, Great Britain, Portugal
- 1959 – Monaco, Great Britain