Five Talking Points From The Canadian Grand Prix

Canada Podium

Mercedes' domination of the 2014 season was finally ended at the Canadian Grand Prix.

And, surprise surprise, it paved the way for the most exciting spectacle of the year thus far, with drama right up to the final lap and a popular first-time winner at the chequered flag. Here are five of the big talking points to emerge from the Montreal weekend.

Ricciardo steps up...

Victory in Montreal saw Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo become Formula One's 105th race-winner, and the fourth Australian to achieve the feat after Jack Brabham, Alan Jones and Mark Webber. Illustrious company indeed. 

Though it required help from the spluttering Mercedes, Ricciardo was well worth his success. Again he got the better of team-mate Sebastian Vettel in the race, and his gutsy, incisive pass on Sergio Perez a few laps from the finish allowed him to quickly pick off the struggling Nico Rosberg.

It’s still a bit surreal," said Ricciardo afterwards, "but yeah, just realty cool.

"It’s not that we were leading the whole race, so it’s not that I had time to understand that I was going to win, it all happened in the last few laps, so I think that’s why it’s still taking a while to comprehend in my head."

Ricciardo has under two weeks to fully understand what he achieved in Canada before F1 returns to Austria after a 10-year absence. At the circuit now known as the Red Bull Ring, he and team-mate Vettel will be desperate to show well on the team's home turf.

…but Newey's stepping back

Perhaps the biggest news of the weekend came away from the circuit, with confirmation that Adrian Newey will reduced his role at Red Bull Racing.

While the team have tried to put a positive PR spin on the deal, highlighting the fact that he has extended his contract with the Red Bull company, there is little doubt that losing his day-to-day leadership of car design will hurt the team. Retaining him as a 'mentor' is all well and good, but given the choice everyone from Sebastian Vettel to the canteen staff in Milton Keynes would have wanted Adrian to continue in his current role.

Whatever he chooses to do next - and how his reduced input effects the team - will make fascinating viewing.

Advantage Rosberg

Daniel Ricciardo may have taken the chequered flag first in Montreal, but the real winner was arguably Nico Rosberg. Despite suffering from engine and energy recovery system problems that drastically reduced his pace, the German steered his car to P2 and collected 18 world championship points.

The fact that team-mate and title rival Lewis Hamilton was forced into retirement makes those all the more vital. Nico now leads the standings by 22 points, meaning Hamilton has to hope for his team-mate to hit reliability issues to bridge the gap any time soon.

Put it another way: while Hamilton now needs to take risks, Nico can stay cool and manage the gap. The title battle has unquestionably swung in his favour.

Williams still under-performing

It was another weekend of 'what might have been' for Williams. They looked second best only to the Mercedes in qualifying, and felt they should have defeated Sebastian Vettel only for a stunning lap from the German to push them back to fourth and fifth on the grid.

The race appeared to be falling in their favour when the Mercs hit trouble, with Felipe Massa leading and, we assumed, not requiring another stop.

But the Brazilian did duck into the pits for fresh rubber, dropping him back down the order. With Rosberg holding the field up Felipe began to move back towards the front, but he never looked entirely at ease doing so, struggling to make a move on Vettel's Red Bull.

That left him fifth at the start of the final lap, when a collision with Sergio Perez brought a frightening end to his day. Meanwhile team-mate Valtteri Bottas faded in the race, coming home seventh. For all their pace, Williams still sit only sixth in the standings.

As for Massa, ask yourself this: if it had been Vettel, Alonso or Hamilton in his car with 10 laps to go, where would they have finished?

McLaren grab surprise top-four

Few would have expected McLaren to grab a top-four in Canada. In fact even Jenson Button - who achieved the result - wouldn't have banked on it early in the race.

"The first stint was terrible on the super-soft tyre, I really struggled," he explained afterwards. "But as soon as we got on the prime the car was good, we came alive and I could pick my way through the field."

Button eventually rose to eighth, which became sixth when he took advantage of the battle between Fernando Alonso and Nico Hulkenberg. He then vaulted into P4 on the final lap when Felipe Massa and Sergio Perez collided in spectacular fashion.

"Some races you get unlucky, some races you put yourself in the right place and it works out," added a philosophical Button.

Team-mate Kevin Magnussen also scored, taking two points for his P9 finish.