During the Canadian Grand Prix, for the first time this season, Mercedes hit trouble, and they hit trouble, hard. Ricciardo managed to win his first ever Formula 1 Grand Prix but this post goes into why Rosberg was the big winner here.
The start of the race was fun to watch as Hamilton launched an attack down into the first corner as the lights went out but locked up, Vettel was able to capitalise and overtake. Vettel surprisingly kept 2nd place for a few laps before the Safety Car was deployed as the two Marussia drivers had a coming together. After around seven laps, the race resumed and it was only a matter of time before Hamilton breezed past Vettel on the long straight thanks to the Mercedes rampant power unit. It seemed that, yet again, Mercedes would drive off into the sunset but that wasn’t the case.
On lap 37, Hamilton reported a loss of power and had dropped back from Rosberg. On the next lap, Rosberg reported the same issue, a loss of power. What was going on here? At this point, the Mercedes drivers, had, give or take, a 23 second lead over Hulkenberg in 3rd. Nursing the issues, both drivers continued but were setting lap times around three seconds slower than the cars behind them. On lap 45, Rosberg pitted from the lead and rejoined behind Massa in 3rd. On lap 46, Hamilton then pitted from the lead but rejoined the track in 2nd place, this meant Massa was leading the Grand Prix.
However, worse was to come for Hamilton as he ran wide at the hairpin which allowed Rosberg to overtake. We then saw smoke coming out the back of his car and on lap 48 Hamilton retired from the Grand Prix. Massa pitted which meant, once again, Rosberg was the race leader. Towards the end of the race, cars behind Rosberg were closing the gap quite rapidly. With one lap to go, Ricciardo was only 0.7 seconds behind Rosberg and did overtake him down into the first corner. Ricciardo won his first ever Formula 1 race in Canada.
Now, that was a very quick report on what happened during the Grand Prix yesterday. We now know that Mercedes lost all power coming from their ERS-K unit which equates to a massive 160BHP. It was halfway through the race Mercedes hit trouble and although Rosberg was 160BHP down, he still managed to finish the race in 2nd and that shows just how good that Mercedes power unit really is. It was also Mercedes first problem all year, just think about that for a second. That’s 35 sessions (practice, qualifying and races) in total where Mercedes have had no issues at all, that’s phenomenal.
A few people are now saying that the Championship is now wide open, but come on, it’s really not. Yes, you could say that other teams are closing the gap but we all know Mercedes are still, on average, around one second a lap quicker than their closest rivals.
Unfortunately, Hamilton had his second DNF of the season and that’s not good at all. In my opinion, if he has two more, his fight is over. Rosberg is now 22 points ahead, basically a race win. Both drivers’ are closely matched and Hamilton needs to regroup, forget about what happened and come back stronger than ever at the Austrian Grand Prix in a fortnight’s time. I’m a big Hamilton fan and I do still believe he can still win the title this year, he just needs some luck to come his way and for Rosberg to have a few bad races which, I know is unfair to say, but it’s true.
Mercedes have now fully identified the issue and are confident it won’t ever happen again. Mercedes were trying a new cooling system in Canada and according to Toto Wolff the software went “crazy”. The actual cooling system wasn’t at fault and they will continue to use the new cooling system at future races.