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Ricciardo’s win was just what Formula 1 needed

Jun 9, 2014, 10:30 AM EDT

Nico Rosberg Lewis Hamilton AP

Good news stories in Formula 1 are usually quite hard to come by. In the past two weeks though, there have been plenty.

Jules Bianchi’s charge to ninth place at the Monaco Grand Prix for Marussia was a Cinderella story, given that neither the driver or team had scored any points in the previous four years of racing. This time around, it’s another first: Daniel Ricciardo’s first grand prix victory. And it couldn’t have happened at a better time.

Mercedes’ dominance in Formula 1 so far this season has been both staggering and monotonous. You have to admire the way in which Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton have ruled proceedings; the W05 is a mechanical masterpiece. In the same breath though, it was becoming predictable. It was a question of being Team Lewis or Team Nico – the rest of the field wasn’t realistically in the hunt for a race win.

But then Formula 1 reminded us of everything that is great about the sport. The old saying goes: “To finish first, first you have to finish”, and this resonated with Mercedes in Canada. Just when everything appeared to be going to plan, disaster struck in the form of a double ERS failure. The times for both cars dropped off dramatically due to the issue, and it proved to be serious enough to force Hamilton into retirement. Rosberg continued to plug away, and looked set to do the unthinkable with a few laps to go.

There’s the kicker: even though Rosberg was running between one and two seconds per lap slower than the other front-runners, he still finished second, such was his initial lead. It was a phenomenal result.

The biggest smile of course belonged to Daniel Ricciardo, though. Of all the people to break Mercedes’ dominant streak, perhaps it was best that it was the Australian driver. A first time grand prix winner, and one of the most popular racers on the grid among the fans and the F1 community as a whole. Few will begrudge him this victory.

Sebastian Vettel will know that he could – and maybe should – have won this race, though. He lost a huge amount of time stuck behind Nico Hulkenberg after making his first pit stop, and by pitting before Ricciardo, he lost a position in the pits to his teammate. In fact, he was just 0.4 seconds slower through the pits than his teammate. The race could have been lost on 0.4 seconds. If Seb was ahead of Dan, he probably would have been the one to pass Perez, and most probably would have been the one to then overtake Rosberg. The finger would have returned to the top step of the podium. Cue cries of “we saw that last season!”.

With Dan, though, the Canadian GP breathed fresh air into the championship and season. The perfect season is no longer on. Mercedes may still have the quickest car, only one man had the biggest smile after the race.

  1. ijusth - Jun 9, 2014 at 10:54 AM

    glad to see this

  2. techmeister1 - Jun 9, 2014 at 12:39 PM

    Ricciardo has been driving the wheels off of his car all season. While he lucked into this win due to Mercedes mechanical issues, he will definitely win more. Vettel had better up his game.

  3. testover6370 - Jun 9, 2014 at 1:07 PM

    I for one wanted to see Mercedes accomplish a perfect season and found the battle between Rosberg and Hamilton far more interesting than the Finger Boy show of the past 4 years. And I really wanted Massa and Perez to do well so I did not like how that race turned out. But if anyone else had to win I’m glad it was Ricciardo. It’s nice to see someone actually happy on the podium for once, and to see Finger Boy beaten by a teammate in an equal car.

  4. dcollins22585 - Jun 9, 2014 at 3:54 PM

    When I watch a race I want to see the cars. Not the fans, crews, Wags or anyone else. ABC, FS1, and NBCSN have all been guilty of this in the last 2 weeks.

    • aljobe - Jun 9, 2014 at 4:18 PM

      For F1, you can’t blame NBCSN; they get the pictures from the World Feed, so your problem lies with FOM instead of the broadcaster.

      • testover6370 - Jun 9, 2014 at 8:38 PM

        Yes NBC can only show what FOM world feed gives them so FOM is entirely to blame for those stupid crowd shots that missed all the real action. But NBC still shoulders all the blame for excessive commercials.

  5. lukedunphysscienceproject - Jun 9, 2014 at 4:42 PM

    This is the first F1 race I haven’t watched all the way to the end this year. I watched the beginning where the arrows started running away from the field as usual and said “screw it, it’s a beautiful day, I’m out of here”. So of course total mayhem ensues.

    Of course, being a Ferrari fan it wouldn’t have been THAT much more satisfying, but it would have been nice to see the end of perhaps the only race all year that won’t have Hamilton or Rosberg atop the podium.

  6. chad4208 - Jun 9, 2014 at 9:27 PM

    I almost didnt watch it. I watched Pocono; NASCAR takes presidence in a case like this because of its length, (and as soon as I walk out of the house someone is screaming who won so…..gotta watch it live) so I had canada on the DVR, but I almost didnt watch it.

    And Commercials…ehh..they have side by side so its not too bad.

    • manik56 - Jun 9, 2014 at 11:26 PM

      Pocono over Montreal??? Pocono is always a snoozer with the Cup cars and Montreal is usually the best F1 has to offer. Poor choice my friend.

      How is NBC supposed to make money if they cannot run commercials? We do not have atate run television in the USA.

      • testover6370 - Jun 10, 2014 at 3:44 PM

        This doesn’t apply to races on NBC, but NBCSN – cable was initially touted as the commercial-free TV alternative. Indeed, what are our cable subscription fees going to if the bills are being paid with commercials?

        And even in the case of broadcast TV, there’s a difference between commercials occasionally interrupting the actual content, and the content occasionally interrupting the commercials, which is the model Fox embraces and the path NBC is rapidly following it down.

  7. chad4208 - Jun 12, 2014 at 9:44 PM

    Read comments above…..he complained about excessive commercials. I said its not bad with side by side. What are you talking about? :)
    And yes, I watch the NASCAR CUP races over anything else live because of its Length and the fact there always someone to ruin the outcome for me if I dont watch it immediately. Id rather watch a boring cup race than have the result ruined for me and not watch at all

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