Saturday is the day that the racing counts. Drivers take to the track, making final changes to the car, trying to set the fastest time possible for qualifying. As expected the Mercedes powered cars set the fastest times. Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton trading off purple sectors and laps for Mercedes AMG Petronas. Behind them by a significant margin was the Red Bull team and Williams Martini Racing. Into Q3 teams waited until the very end of quali to put on the super-soft tire and set a time. Down to the very last lap available, teams fought for pole position. Lewis came in first with the fastest, the crowd cheered and roared with happiness. But Nico was still out on his last lap, and as he came around he set the fastest time. The crowd couldn’t believe it; a roar even louder came from the crowd. The entertainment from qualifying left the people leaving ecstatic for the race on Sunday.
Sunday, June 8, 2014 (Race Day)
Engineers frantically prepped the F1 cars, only a few hours remained until lights out. The fans hurried to the grand stands and fans scatter the park to get a prime view of today’s spectacle. It was Sunday, the day that F1 drivers and teams go into a whole other zone to bring home the best result possible in the race. The paddock suddenly felt focused and more serious, nobody had time for interviews or any distractions. As the hours were counting down, the drivers parade began. Vintage cars lined up on the grid to drive around the world famous drivers. Interviews took place, drivers fired up the fans promising an exciting and hard fought race. Sure enough, right from lights out, the race was an extraordinary example of awesome auto racing.
Engineers packed the grid along with the cars. Last minute safety checks and adjustments to the car were made. Then the engines were fired up and loud roars came from the turbo V6 engines. However, just as loud as the roar from the engines, was the roar from the crowd. They were anxious and excited to this race begin. The safety car took the cars around for the formation lap. As the cars sat on their grid positions everyone held their breath. For once this weekend there was complete silence from the crowd as we all watched the red lights. 1 light came on, the engines revved and prepared for launch. Then 2, then 3, then 4, then 5. Lastly, a pause with 5 red lights shining brightly down on the roaring cars waiting to be let go.
The pause felt like an eternity, all of the emotion built up until this moment. Finally, all 5 lights were put and the cars were gone in about 2 seconds. Racing down to turn 1 Nico Rosberg retained the lead from his team mate Lewis Hamilton who provoked a pass up the inside. Wheels touch and Hamilton briefly left the track falling back into 3rd. To everyone’s surprise there was a crash on Lap 1 which brought out the Safety Car for about 10 laps. Soon the racing resumed and right from the get go, the battles intensified, like adding fuel to a fire. Cars came into the final chicane hurdling towards the terrifying Wall of Champions going wheel to wheel and drag racing down the front straight, DRS wide open and drivers swerving to get their desired racing line. It was a braking battle into turn 1 and there could only be one winner. Lewis fought back to get right behind Nico Rosberg for 2nd place. Pushing Nico harder and harder each lap, Lewis put the pressure on Nico. After the first stint it was a battle for track position on the pit stops. Nico in first with a sub 3 second stop, perfect. Lewis went all out on his final lap before his pit stop, setting the fastest time of the race. Yet, it was not enough to solidify his first place position. His stop took 5 seconds and just like that Lewis was again behind Nico. Lewis remained on Nico’s gearbox for a few more laps until finally making the move for the lead. Lewis lead the race until the second stint was over. The race out of pit lane was neck and neck going to into turn 1, Lewis took the lead back. Sadly a few laps later, Lewis had ERS and brake failure and was forced to retire the car. Nico had similar issues but was able to finish on the podium, losing his 30 second lead. In the final laps, Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo took the lead with just three laps to go. Following him was Nico, Sebastian Vettel Sergio Perez, and Felipe Massa. All of the cars were within 1 second of each other, surely, it was going to be an exciting finish. Cutting to the last lap, it was the final push for all the drivers. Racing down the front straight Felipe Massa and Sergio Perez took each other out. Flying into the barriers at 150 mph. A huge crash it was, medics running towards the scene. Thankfully everyone was ok. The race ended under the Safety Car and Daniel Ricciardo won his first career F1 race. How awesome! While I am a Mercedes fan, I was happy for Daniel and the race was so exciting to watch. How could I be disappointed? It was one of the best spectacles I’ve ever seen in my life and I felt ecstatic about the days in Montreal.