‘Monaco 2016 haunted me for two years’ admits Ricciardo – ‘It was just pure rage’
Daniel Ricciardo has admitted losing out on a win at Monaco in 2016 after a botched pit stop “haunted” him for two years, describing his feelings that day as “pure rage”.
Then driving for Red Bull, the Australian had edged out Mercedes pair Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton in qualifying to take pole, and was looking good for his first win of the season when he pitted on Lap 32.
But the team were not ready for him to come in and did not have his tyres ready. The agonisingly long stop allowed Hamilton to take the lead and win, with Ricciardo coming home a dejected second.
In a diary post on his social media channels published on Thursday, Ricciardo – who will be leaving Renault to join McLaren in 2021 – revealed just how much that mistake had hurt.
“Even four years on, I remember this day in so much detail, it’s like a video in my mind,” he wrote.
“I can picture myself driving through the corner before the tunnel after THAT pit stop and I was so angry.
“I didn’t want to talk to anyone afterwards, I certainly didn’t want any sympathy… it was just pure rage.
“I remember standing on the podium with Lewis, he’d won a race that I had under control… I just didn’t want to be there.”
But two years later, the 30-year-old made amends by taking pole and the race win at Monte Carlo – but it was another agonising race as with just 28 laps gone he lost two gears and a quarter of his horsepower after an MGU-K failure on his car, forcing him to nurse his wounded Red Bull RB14 around the track for a full 50 laps with Sebastian Vettel right behind him.
He wrote: “I’m not going to lie, Monaco 2016 haunted me for two years, and then to not put a foot wrong in 2018 and thinking the win would slip away from me again…
“Monaco 2018 was a different level of stress simply because of what had happened there in ’16. The main feeling was sheer relief that this time I didn’t have it taken away from me.
“I enjoyed it more the days after the Sunday when it all sunk in, but that Sunday night – I was just burned out. It was more a massive exhale than anything else.”
Despite the wild mix of emotions he has felt there though, Ricciardo still picks Monaco as the race he looks forward to more than any other.
“No secret Monaco is my place and gets me going more than anything. But right now? I’d take anything! The next race, wherever and whenever that is… hopefully that’s not too far away.”