#F1 Race Review: Canada 2014 – Mercedes Not Bulletproof And Red Bull On The Rampage!

Brought to you by TheJudge13 contributor Mattpt55

2014 Canadian Grand Prix Podium

 The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men

Gang aft agley,

To a Mouse


On Turning up in Her Nest with the Plough, November, 1785


On a blue-skyed jewel of a day the sun beat mercilessly down on the tarmac as the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve did what no competitor had yet to achieve, bring the might of Mercedes to their knees. In an absolute monster of a race that began and ended under the Safety Car, with only 11 competitors actually crossing the line, a new constructor graced the top step of the podium for the first time this season. It was the sunny smile of Daniel Ricciardo representing Red Bull and not the four time World Champion finally achieving his first win and making up for the disappointment of Melbourne.

Act I

Turn One loomed large today and as the lights went out it appeared that Lewis Hamilton had the advantage on his team mate. Rosberg responded by immediately taking Hamilton off track through the first turn, perhaps in payback for Bahrain. Having apparently taken Lauda’s warning to heart, Lewis decided to not push the issue though it cost him a spot to Vettel.

The real drama was provided by Marussia, who after a fantastic showing in Monaco tasted the opposite end of the spectrum with a spectacular crash that immediately brought out the Safety Car. Going into turn one Chilton lost the rear of the car and shoveled Bianchi straight into the wall, taking himself and his magnificent record out with one simple mistake.

The Safety Car collected the field with Lewis still behind Vettel and much of the next 7 laps was dominated by frantic radio calls between Lewis and Bonnington, his race engineer, seeking the best strategy for the restart. Still, it was all tears for Lewis as at the actual restart he had let quite a gap grow between himself and Sebastian.  It took Hamilton a lap and a half to reel in the former World Champion, but once caught he rapidly passed the Red Bull and in no time was onto the gearbox of Rosberg, where he planted himself and stayed. Further down the field Williams was maintaining good position as Vergne began to stack up traffic and by lap 12 both Ferraris and both Force Indias were desperate to get by. As Ricciardo began to force the issue with Massa, Vettel complained of graining brought on by the extended Safety Car period. Responding to these concerns Ricciardo came in for new tyres two laps later kicking off a mad scramble amongst all the teams looking for the scraps from Mercedes.

Act II

By lap 16 Bottas, Button, Vettel as well as Vergne had all boxed, releasing the Ferraris and Force Indias to make up places, though the best laps of their tyres had long since gone by. Massa led the next round into the pits, with a fatefully long stop that saw him emerge behind Kvyat. Alonso responded one lap later. The Force Indias continued their move through the field with pit strategy to take possession of 4th and 5th with Vettel closing up in 6th. Massa began undoing the damage from his poor pit stop sweeping past Kvyat as Alonso distanced himself from Vergne. Up at the front Mercedes began their first round of pit stops with nary a hint of trouble. Rosberg led the way on lap 19 with a 3.1 second stop that very nearly featured his untimely exit from the race. Leaving the pits on cold tyres he just managed to miss the wall. Lewis lit the track up with a fastest first sector, trying to take advantage. Still, it was a bit of a waste as his stop a lap later was a 3.6second stop and the half second or so he had eked out vanished into the ether of the garage.

Behind the Mercedes there might have been a race, but as Lewis emerged the full focus was on the rivalry. Lewis lost a bit of time on cold tyres, but on the subsequent lap he began to rein in his teammate lap by excruciating lap. Rosberg was unable to halt the bleeding as Lewis squeezed the gap shut. Further down only Force India had yet to pit and the shape of their strategy began to take shape as a clear one stop. By lap 25 DRS was in play for Hamilton as Kamui distracted everyone briefly with a solo spin due to a rear suspension failure.

As the pressure on Rosberg increased he made a major error coming into the chicane and went straight through. Wasting no time after their offensive in Monaco two weeks ago, Sky jumped all over this pointing out that Rosberg managed to set fast lap with his mistake and no doubt hoping to continue to stoke the Hamilton-Rosberg feud and keep the ad revenue streaming in. Despite this, the special judge of fact responsible did his actual job and referred the matter to the stewards, who ultimately took no further action. Regardless of the fairness to Hamilton,  nary a complaint was heard from him over the radio. Instead, he just stepped on the go-faster pedal and within a few laps he had dragged Rosberg back into DRS range. While this soap opera was broadcast an actual race was taking place.  Button finally got past Kvyat for 12th on lap 29 and Vettel remained trapped behind Hulkenberg.

Perez led the Force India pit stop parade as he finally had had enough of the Super-Softs on lap 35. Sadly enough for Vettel, Hulkenberg had started on the softs and wasn’t planning to stop anytime soon. The slowing of Hulkenberg had brought Bottas into contact with Vettel and he started having peeks over Vettel’s shoulder, though he was unable to actually pull anything off.

Hamilton’s relentless pressure paid dividends in the meantime as by lap 34 a panicked Rosberg was seeking to confirm his brake settings matched his teammates, no doubt forgetting for the moment that braking has always been the area where Hamilton displays his particular driving genius. Hulkenberg soldiered on as his strategy slowly ate away Vettel’s and sure enough three laps later and despite the undercut, his teammate would edge him coming out of the pits. Hamilton had dropped out of DRS in the meantime, prompting speculation that he might be saving tyres or fuel after his big go at Rosberg.

But that was not that case as the racing gods were just about to drop the hammer of fate onto Mercedes and particularly Lewis. A call from Hamilton hinted that all was not well, and as he began to come back to his teammate Rosberg confirmed there was a serious issue with both cars and they were 2-3 seconds slower than all the other cars on track and easily 20 kph slower on the straights. Raikkonen went for a mystery spin as the crowd held its breath to see if Mercedes could resolve their issue.


Hulkenberg finally cleared the way on lap 42 as tremors of long forgotten possibility raced up and down the paddock. As both Mercedes fell down the ladder the decision was made to pit them, but having already lost the pit window they both emerged behind an utterly surprised Massa. A lengthy stop for Rosberg saw him lose a place to his teammate and they were wheel to wheel when Lewis overcooked the hairpin and lost the position to Rosberg. Still not yielding, Lewis took advantage of his DRS to catch up Massa and going in to turn one had once again gained the advantage on his teammate. His victory was short lived as he cut the chicane, completely unable to slow the car. A tell-tale puff of smoke from the back of his car confirmed a rear brake failure and his day was done.

Rosberg continued on and as Massa was unable to make his tyres last he resumed the lead with a pack of cars closing in, led by the Force India of Perez. On lap 49 Kvyat gave up the ghost as he parked his car, joining a rapidly growing list of retirements. Vettel was told to wait for the last 10 laps and make the best of his tyres.

By lap 54 Rosberg was in the clutches of the ravenous pack led by Perez, but his one stop strategy combined with an electrical problem was hanging him just out of reach of first place. Ricciardo meanwhile, having sensed the weakness of Perez, closed up and began giving him a really good go. As the laps ticked breathlessly by it seemed as if Rosberg might somehow get away with it and continue the Mercedes streak. But at last on lap 66 Ricciardo found his way past, with Massa on fresh tyres having caught up to the back of Vettel. Further back Button was on a similar strategy cutting a brutal swath through the field. Lap 67 sounded the death knell for dreams of a perfect Mercedes season as Ricciardo under DRS dispatched Rosberg with ease. Still with Vettel and Massa behind it wasn’t over for Rosberg by any stretch. Lap 69 saw Vettel finally solve the problem of Perez, whose tyres and engine were both making life harder. In an attempt to not lose Vettel, Massa closed up down the straight and going into turn one there was contact between the right front of Massa and left rear of Perez.

Felipe Massa - Canada GP CrashIn an instant Massa was in the wall across the chicane, narrowly missing Vettel as Perez car lay limp and broken. Fortunately both drivers appeared uninjured but the rapid appearance of the medical car signified the likelihood that one or both of the G metres carried by the drivers had been set off. With the appearance of the Safety Car the results were confirmed and Daniel Ricciardo had won his first F1 race for Red Bull with his teammate Sebastian Vettel having come third. Sandwiched in between was Nico Rosberg, whose post-race swagger confirmed that he is learning the lesson that it’s even better to be lucky than good having added another 18 points to his lead over Hamilton. Both Williams and Force India lost a lot today, though it will be down to the stewards to assign blame. There will no doubt be many a conversation over what might have been, but one thing is sure. This season and this championship is far from over.


Final Classification

# Driver Ctry Team Time Gap Pits
1 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:37.919 1:39:12.830 2
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:40.591 4.200 2
3 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:38.699 5.2 2
4 Jenson Button McLaren 1:41.114 11.7 2
5 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:41.320 12.7 1
6 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:43.221 14.7 2
7 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:42.550 23.4 2
8 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:44.370 27.7 2
9 Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1:44.978 28.9 2
10 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 2:00.375 53.3 2
13 Adrian Sutil Sauber 1:43.684 136.5 2
R Felipe Massa Williams RETIRED 2
R Lewis Hamilton Mercedes RETIRED 3
R Sergio Perez Force India RETIRED 1
R Pastor Maldonado Lotus RETIRED 1
R Esteban Gutierrez Sauber RETIRED 3
R Romain Grosjean Lotus RETIRED 2
R Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso RETIRED 2
R Marcus Ericsson Caterham RETIRED 1
R Kamui Kobayashi Caterham RETIRED 0
R Jules Bianchi Marussia RETIRED 0
R Max Chilton Marussia RETIRED 0


2014 Drivers' Championship Graph Canada

2014 Constructors' Championship Graph Canada



45 responses to “#F1 Race Review: Canada 2014 – Mercedes Not Bulletproof And Red Bull On The Rampage!

  1. I read both Ricciardo and Vettel (under weight) are under investigation? Any truth in that?

    • Man was Vettel lucky by the way. With a little worse timing he would have had a nosecone aiming for his head (like Alonso at Spa 2012).

      • Good avoiding action, Vettel saw it in his mirrors/peripherals and turned out of where he would have been (right in stricken Massa’s firing line).

    • There was a notice given to all teams pre-race reminding them of the fuel usage rules… hopefully they haven’t breached them again! Massa and Perez would be even more gutted to lose out on podiums post-penalty…

  2. Well done Daniel
    Also is it just me or was the TV sound better this weekend – I suppose FOM TV must have turned the volume up.

      • Unlike many people brought up on the recent high revving screamers – I love the throaty, guttural sound of the Mercs in particular.

      • I noticed on the on-screen graphics that the Merc was hitting 12,500rpm at times, where as we were only seeing 10,500rpm at season opening. I guess the clever software guys have been able to mess with the ignition timing to get extra revs while still only hitting peak fuel flow on 100kg/h.

        • “as we were only seeing 10,500rpm at season opening.”

          I don’t think. M-B, Renault and Ferrari engined cars were all hitting 12,000 in Australia.

          • Judge, it may be, but they were hitting it in every gear, not just top. I may be mistaken, but the cars just sounded like they had more revs on. The graphic was only up for the mercs for a few seconds but none of the cars were at 100% of their performance in Oz, I also read an interesting article a while back saying that at around 10,500rpm is when you hit the peak fuel flow limit and to gain more revs after that you have to fiddle with ignition timing to extend the rev range without putting extra fuel through the engine

        • CV

          I think as the Judge pointed out – the extra rpm came from the deployment of ERS – not the engine producing more power past 10,500 rpm.

          To give an example –

          Imagine being in a car coasting down a long steep hill –

          your foot is off the accelerator –

          therefore you aren’t producing any power at all from the engine –

          the engine revs still rise to match the increased road speed as you accelerate down the hill.

          that’s gravity causing the increased revs – not the engine.

          does that make sense ?

  3. Rosberg was very very lucky not to get a penalty for the chicane incident, I’m sure at other tracks they put smaller speed bumps in the runoff to stop exactly what Nico did. Lewis was tight on Nico’s gearbox and after the chicane it was closer to 3 quarters of a second, if that is not a lasting advantage, I don’t know what is. Let’s face it, at that point in the race if they gave Nico a 5 sec penalty at his stop, the worst position he would have been in was 2nd. The F1 Gods were certainly smiling on Nico today.

    I’m still unhappy about all the bits that the teams are changing in the gearboxes between qually and race. If you change all 8 sets of ratios, then it leaves very little that’s not been changed. So really a ‘gearbox’ lasts just for qually, then just for the race when the hurts have been replaced. Makes a mockery of the FIA seal on the gearboxes and them having to last 5 races. Only the casing and final drive lasts 5 races. But of a joke really as it was meant to save money and show reliability, but now instead of carrying hundreds of different ratios in case you need them, the teams carry shed loads of the same ratios and change them as often as they can! Once the gearboxes are sealed that should be it until they break, surely?

    • I said to a colleague on Friday, I don’t see why the speed bumps on both chicanes do not run all the way across the edge of the track where errant cars return… That little gap Rosberg used to return to the track is a joke…

      If we have to have infernal hypermarket car park run off areas, there are still simple ways of naturally preventing an advantage by drivers using them…. No FH not exploding mines 😉

      • “That little gap Rosberg used to return to the track is a joke…”

        It was put in to stop cars getting beached if they were driving too slow, and if they were going to fast the curbing could literally rip the floor off, which has happened in the past.

    • “Rosberg was very very lucky not to get a penalty for the chicane incident,”

      The drivers were told prior to the race they would be able to run through the run-off area once, provided the advantage they gained was not due defending their position when another driver was attempting to overtake them. Hamilton wasn’t in a position to overtake. Therefore no penalty.

      “I’m still unhappy about all the bits that the teams are changing in the gearboxes between qually and race.If you change all 8 sets of ratios…..”

      First of all you set the ratio’s at the beginning of the season and you are allowed one change during the season. The physical gears can be changed if the FIA technical delegate is satisfied there is damage. Other than that they can’t be changed.

      • The debate is on the rule change for this year: addition of “Lasting” advantage over ‘advantage’.. By last year’s rules cutting the track and gaining 0.6 seconds in a sector to get Fastest Lap would definitely have been a penalty. But a few laps later Hamilton was back in DRS, so perhaps it was felt the advantage had been nullified.

        Hamilton acted by the old rules in letting Rosberg back past before the finish line, although his brakes were already toast.

        • Apples and oranges. When Rosberg cut the chicane, he was ahead. When Lewis cut it, he had just overtaken Nico because of it, so he gave the position back. Both acted correctly and that’s why both where not penalized.

          • Indeed, but it was still Rosberg’s fastest lap of the race… so technically it will stand in perpetuity! Does this mean everyone has one ‘corner cut while ahead’ at which they can gain 0.6 seconds and set fastest lap? This could be reproduced at Monza.. I’ll hand it to Nico – it was a smart move that relieved pressure on him for a few laps.

            Titan – no Simona? I have a feeling she can beat Gutierrez, Chilton, Ericsson..

      • What I’m trying to say about gearboxes is that they don’t really last 5 races do they, surely once the gearbox is assembled and sealed, the teams should not be allowed to change old bits for new. Just my opinion obviously but it appears the ratios are only good for an hour ragging around in qually, then changed over night and then see the race out. Is it not against the whole point of limiting gearboxes, shouldn’t they make the ratios durable enough that they can do the 5 races each gearbox is meant to do?.

        I get that the teams can change them, but I see don’t get the point of it. If they change all the pistons, con rods and associated gubbins in the IC unit, is it still the original unit and classed as 1 of 5 or is it classed as a new engine? That’s my point about changing the gear ratios for (identical) New ones, it seems a large proportion of the gearbox components are not doing the specified number of events. It’s all a little bit cloudy and grey in my mind rather than clear cut.

        A gearbox can’t function without the gear ratios, so if they fail the gearbox fails, BUT if you change the ratios from qually to race then there is a good chance it won’t fail but can you really call it the same gearbox.

        I feel a bit cheated as a fan, that I’m told only 4 gearboxes per driver, per season, yet they can in theory use 38 sets of 8 ratios over the season (1set qually 1set race) does anyone else feel it’s a little misleading

        • “yet they can in theory use 38 sets of 8 ratios over the season”

          I don’t understand what you are talking about. A gear ratio is calculated by the velocity of the input gear to the velocity of the output gear. The FIA required all teams to set the individual ratio’s for each input / output gear at the beginning of the season. The teams can make one change during the season to those ratio’s. The teams can change the physical gears, but they must retain the same ratio’s, if an FIA technical delegate deems the gears have been damaged. So in theory or in practice they can’t use “38 sets of 8 ratios over the season”

          • The actual coggs in the gear box are called ratios, hence why I think it’s a bit naughty to change the ‘coggs’ and associated dog rings between qually and race as if a gearbox has to do 5 Events then that should include the coggs/ratios that go in it, not just the gearbox casing.

            Does that explanation help you get whetexim coming from? I thought every one knew that the actual coggs that are in a gearbox are called ratios.
            Sorry if I confused you.

      • Yes I get that bit Manky, but the article I read explained in detail how adjusting ignition can produce more RPMs without extra fuel being introduced to the combustion chamber. Most people believe that fuel flow goes up with RPM, to an extent it does but most engines reach peak flow at around 75% throttle, the extra power you get when you press the throttle full to the floor is achieved by adjusting ignition timing and the timing of when fuel/air charge is introduced to the combustion chamber. If I can find the article again I will, but my point is, as they refine the control software and even more running is done on the dino, you can glean extra power/rpm without introducing extra fuel above the set peak flow, hence the more work that’s done on the engines the more they can gain. Obviously there is a plateau at which you cannot gain any more and as you reach that point the gains become smaller and smaller. I’m no engineer, just an enthusiastic amateur so I can’t explain it as clearly as the article I read did. I wish I knew where I read it, I stumbled upon it before the pre season test and was trying to enlighten myself a bit before they went racing.

        • CV

          I think I know the article you are talking about – a link was posted here months ago ? that one ?

          I agree with all you’re saying – but as in my original reply – I think the extra rpm was due to having such long straights in Canada – the ERS gave higher road speed – therefore higher rpm.

          We might see even higher top speeds – and therefore higher rpm in Monza.

          • I’m not sure which driver or engineer said it over the weekend, but on the straights they stop the electrical power half way up as if the used it for full length they can’t charge up the energy store sufficiently over the rest if the lap, so next lap you have nothing and become vulnerable on the straights.

      • I know they can’t change the length of the gears and they are allowed 1 change in season just in case they got it wrong at 1st. But constantly replacing old for new gear ratios is always going to help the gearbox last longer. They should just do a better job making them, or use more durable materials. I don’t know the answer but I do know I don’t Luke this practice. Leave it sealed till it breaks, if ya need replacement ratios then you should get a grid penalty for simply breaking the seal to even look! Maybe I’m sounding a bit harsh, but I would have given Nico a penalty for cutting the chicane, not because I support Lewis (I don’t support any driver) but because I thought that Ros flooring the throttle was the bit that was a bit unsporting. I know Lewis wasn’t in a position at that point in time to challenge, but it wiped out the hard work he put in to get that close, if say Lewis had almost used his tyres up to catch up and had 1 chance to get by before his tyres were dead and Nico stretches the gap, then it totally buggered up Lewis’s possibly only opportunity to pass.

        • “Leave it sealed till it breaks”

          And if you noticed a belt was frayed and about to break before a race, should you be allowed to change it or should you just have to wait until it breaks during a race before you can change it?

          • The gear box is sealed, of they don’t last 5 races untouched, then they are not up to the job and the team should be penalized. Have a look at the earlier article about the FIA paperwork, I read it almost every time and you will see that RedBull especially are changing parts (new for old) in their gearboxes between nearly every qually and race. We are talking about some of the best engineers in the world, surely they can build a gearbox that does what it says and they don’t have to change the majority of its innards between Saturday and Sunday.

          • Admittedly, I was surprised to see the parts switched in and out every race for wear, which goes against the principle of a gearbox lasting 5 races. However, I think we have to look at it as it is strictly written – ‘the gearbox must last 5 races without failure in a race’.

            Parts can thus be swapped between races, to mitigate incremental damage in each race. That could definitely be written clearer or explained better, much like all of the FIA regulations and the organisation itself.

      • Yes, but Hamilton was very *much* attempting to overtake Nico. He was well within DRS and had been so for several laps. And given how badly Nico missed his braking there is little doubt he was very aware of his teammate in his mirrors, meaning he could easily be considered to be defending in a more expansive interpretation.

        Also, given Hamilton’s statement about added thermal load when trailing potentially Nico staying in front cost Hamilton his DNF. So it depends on whether you restrict the language to an actual attempt at that corner, which is clearly what the stewards did.

        A fairer approach might have been to impose a time penalty equivalent to what he gained on that lap at the end of the race, but I’m not sure if the regulations would allow for it.

    • @ CV

      I totally agree with you about gearboxes.

      If you look at Le Mans cars ( esp. LMP 1 ) they build a gearbox that isn’t much bigger than an F1 box and it lasts for 24 hours ….

      that’s the equivalent of 12 or more F1 GP’s ….

      it is a joke !

  4. Vettel couldn’t buy a break if they came a dozen for a sixpence. He’d been faster than Dan all race, but Hulk slowed him to a crawl and for reasons beyond logic RIC suddenly was ahead of him. But what was really frightening is how Merc could finish second with a broken car. That was just utterly ridiculous. Why do the others even bother?

    • Mercedes with 160 hp less = Force India with 160 hp more and a stop less.

      RB with 60 hp less = unable to overtake Force India despite 2 stop tyres.

      Give RB 60 hp more and it would be a close fight with Mercedes!

        • Webber was good, but a little past his peak when he got to the top, which was probably his Jaguar days. His weight distribution was often the key difference between him and Vettel, which shows how close the margins were, e.g. a lot of poles decided by 1 tenth in 2010.

          Vettel’s adaptability shone through in late-2010 and 2012, and in 2011 and 2013 he was totally in control/at his peak. Not to mention being a top 5 driver, along with Alonso, Raikkonen, Hamilton, Hulkenberg etc.

          If Vettel wasn’t at RB (say he lost his finger ironically, which almost happened when in the junior ladder from debris), we could have seen Webber as WDC in 2010, and probably Alonso in 2012, after McLaren threw away the chances for Hamilton.

          But if Hamilton clinched 2012, and Alonso 2013… 2011 suddenly becomes a huge battle. Button finished ahead of Webber and Alonso – so would we remember Webber much better, or whoever got into the other Red Bull? Raikkonen? Kubica not injured? Button might even be a 2x WDC!

  5. Incredible. It was one of those races in which reality beat fiction and all predictions.

    Too bad Hamilton had the worse luck again. It has taken away from the WDC race and Lewis stellar’ driving.

    Naughty Rosberg, getting away with the help of complacent stewards again. One would have thought the full weekend was enough to hand out guidelines and warnings concerning off track behaviour before the race. Apparently not.

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