The 2014 Canadian Grand Prix was a highlight of the year for the Renault team, with Daniel Ricciardo sealing the first victory for the all-new turbocharged V6 Power Unit. It may have been an opportunistic win, but as Ricciardo’s engine engineer, David Mart, explains, nothing comes by luck alone.

‘We had qualified in sixth position, which we thought was reasonable, but weren’t expecting too much from there, especially given the advantage that the Mercedes’ seemed to have at the start of the weekend. It was looking like a typical race, maybe going for a podium if circumstances allowed, as we had done in the two previous races with Daniel. We just started aiming to get the best out of the car and the strategy. Retour ligne automatique
‘The race got underway and Daniel did a reasonable start, keeping the same position and from there we got stuck in. The Mercs were ahead and managed to carve out a gap to the rest, and Sebastian [Vettel] was also ahead. But then we heard on the radio and saw on the screens that the two Mercedes had started to have some issues and lost some speed.

‘At this point the strategy didn’t change, but we knew that in the previous races we had managed to get ourselves into a good position and this could be an opportunity. It definitely gave us hope, especially the driver. We gave some extra push and performance from the engine where we could, particularly around the pit stops to get an advantage.

‘The last few laps were interesting as Daniel was getting closer and closer to the front. We were behind Perez for a few laps, so to get him past we gave Daniel a bit more power on track, turning the engine up in the DRS zones. Daniel managed to overtake and at this point we really thought there was the chance of the win as Rosberg was a slightly easier target. The message went out to Daniel that the guy in front had problems ; he heard it and it pushed him to go faster, to dig deep.

‘He got past, but then there was a big crash between Perez and Massa and the race finished under the safety car. We took the chequered flag and that was it – the first win. Daniel’s first comment was about the other drivers, though, he wanted to know if they were OK.

‘We all knew that there was some luck involved, but the win had come after a run of a few races where we had been edging closer. The podium in Barcelona had given us momentum and everyone was pushing to go better and better.

‘We had had a good race weekend with Daniel, and everyone at the track and factory had contributed to put us in that position. It was not something we had stolen ; we had worked hard to be there. But more than that, it spurred us to more. Once Daniel got the win under his belt he knew what he was capable of and he just got better and better over the year.’

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