Red Bull Racing were in a celebratory mood after the Canadian Grand Prix as Daniel Ricciardo claimed a popular maiden Formula One victory and the team’s first race win since Brazil last year.
Ricciardo, starting just sixth on the grid, produced a faultless drive on Sunday, jumping his team-mate Sebastian Vettel at the final round of stops, before pulling off late moves on both Sergio Perez and long-time race leader Nico Rosberg – the latter coming with just two laps of the race remaining – to claim both his first win in F1 and Red Bull’s first victory of the season.
In doing so the Australian brought Mercedes’ run of five race wins to an abrupt end.
As Ricciardo explained, being Formula One’s newest race winner was something of a surreal experience, as his move into the lead had come so late on.
“It still is a bit surreal I think, and just really cool,” he said. “It is not that we were leading the whole race, it is not like I had time to understand that I was going to win, that is why it is taking a while to comprehend in my head.”
As a measure of the likeable Australian’s character, he admitted that his first thoughts on winning were not of celebration, but of concern towards Felipe Massa and Sergio Perez, who were involved in a heavy accident going into turn one on the final lap.
“I wasn’t sure if the two drivers on the last lap were OK, so I just wanted to make sure they were cool before we got celebrating, but I believe they’re fine so really, really happy with the result.”
Sebastian Vettel rounded out Red Bull’s best race weekend of the season so far with third, and the final spot on the podium.
Vettel, third on the grid behind the two Mercedes team-mates, was up to second by the end of the opening lap, capitalising on Lewis Hamilton running wide into turn one.
But the four-time world champion was passed and quickly dropped following the race restart, finding himself stuck behind the long-running Nico Hulkenberg after the first round of stops, and then in a queue behind his own team-mate after he had pitted for a final time.
A late charge saw him pass the ailing Force India of Sergio Perez, and he was fortunate to avoid being collected by Felipe Massa’s spearing Williams after the Brazilian collided heavily with the Force India racer into turn one on the final lap.
“It was difficult for us all the time, getting stuck behind the Force India,” he said. “We were just not quick enough down the straights. We lacked power.
“It’s the first win for Renault in this new era of engines and they had a good comeback, but there’s still plenty of work ahead of us as Mercedes is still ahead on the straights.
While the German was evidently disappointed to spend the vast majority of his race in traffic, but he was quick to congratulate his team-mate on collecting his first win.
“Congratulations to Daniel for his first win, which is very, very special, so I’m happy for him and happy for the team, especially after such a horrible winter.
“It’s nice to be able to finally break through to get a win this year and capitalise on Mercedes having a problem.
Images courtesy of Octane Photographic