Despite Mercedes domination of the 2014 Formula One championship with its W05 Hybrid racer, last weekend in Canada was one to forget for the German team, despite a strong performance in Saturday qualifying.
Rosberg and Hamilton were clearly the quickest two cars in the field once again and finished qualifying first and second respectively. However, even with a brilliant start, Hamilton was demoted to third behind Vettel in his Red Bull after the first corner.
A first lap incident involving both Marussias (the first rule of racing is don’t take your teammate off, remember) meant a few laps under the safety car, but once back racing, Hamilton made light work of Vettel thanks to the Mercedes extra speed.
From there the two Mercs cleared off, with the order only briefly swapping due to both cars pitting. And it was the pit stops that proved crucial for the team.
Canada is a track known for its long straights and heavy braking zones, meaning high levels of heat build-up. Following a few seconds sitting stationary in the pits, it’s thought that the high temperatures could have fried the control electronics for the hybrid motor on both Mercedes, meaning within a lap of each other, both Hamilton and Rosberg lost the 160hp or so boost the motor gives them.
Down on power, it meant the chasing pack began closing in.
Two Mercedes became on lone Silver Arrow as Hamilton retired with brake failure. Without the hybrid system to also help him when braking, it meant the smaller brake discs and calipers for this year could not cope with the extreme effort of stopping the car. Ultimately, they failed, putting him out of the race.
From here on in it was damage limitation for Mercedes and Rosberg. With two laps to go Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo passed the German and held on for the victory.
Following a huge accident between Sergio Perez in the Force India and Felipe Massa in the Williams Rosberg hung on for second, with the resultant shunt between the Mexican and Brazilian drivers promoting Vettel to third.
It also meant our local team McLaren fared better than in previous races, with Jenson Button recording an excellent fourth place result. Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso finished strongly, too, coming home in sixth place behind the remaining Force India of Nico Hulkenberg.
However, for the teammates of the McLaren and Ferrari drivers, Canada was more a race they’d want to forget.
Despite the last lap carnage and a few more retirements throughout the race, McLaren rookie Kevin Magnussen could only manage ninth spot while Kimi Raikkonen in the second Ferrari finished 10th.
Hamilton’s retirement – the second of the season for the Brit – now means he trails Rosberg by 22 points. Not an insurmountable total to make up, but he certainly has his work cut out. Especially given the two are in equal machinery.
We’ll find out if Hamilton can bag another win this season when Formula One returns at the end of the month, revisiting the Austrian Red Bull Ring track the series hasn’t raced at in a number of years.
Did you watch the 2014 Canadian Grand Prix last weekend? What did you think of the race? Did you see any overtakes you were impressed by, or any moves that caused you to raise an eyebrow?