‘More lows than highs’ says Ricciardo after double contact drops him out of the points in Budapest
Daniel Ricciardo didn’t end the first half of the season how he might have wanted to, coming home a dispiriting P15 in Hungary despite starting in the top 10. Even a fantastic double overtake of the two Alpine cars – McLaren’s rivals for P4 in the championship – didn’t improve the Australian’s assessment of his race, which started with contact and ended with a time penalty.
Ricciardo was in trouble from the word go as he got squeezed off the line by the two Alpines, and in backing out to avoid contact, inadvertently touched Kevin Magnussen’s Haas as the Dane tried to squeeze through. While Magnussen had to pit with front wing damage, Ricciardo was able to continue unscathed and try and claw back some places lost.
“The launch felt good but then I dropped a bit after that and I was almost middle braking into Turn One,” Ricciardo said. “I felt like I was in a decent spot but I remember an Alpine coming up high on the exit of Turn 1 and I ran out of room, so I had to get out of that, otherwise I was going to lose a wing.
"I lost momentum through [Turn] 2 and got done around the outside of Turn 2 as well. So, it was a bit of a mess on the first lap. Then the soft really fell apart and I didn’t have anything on that tyre.”
Having switched to the medium tyre for his middle stint, Ricciardo finally found some grip and was able to climb back through the field. He was lining up a move on Fernando Alonso when the duo picked up Esteban Ocon coming out of the pits.
As the Alpine team mates tangled, Ricciardo was able to opportunistically squeeze past both of them in a brilliant manoeuvre that saw the Honey Badger crow over the radio “let’s ***** go!”
Unfortunately, as Ricciardo said, his race contained “more lows than highs” and while overtaking both Alpine cars was an undoubted sweet moment, once he swapped to the hard compound tyre for his final stint he admitted it was like driving on “ice” as he struggled for warm up on an unseasonably cool day in Budapest, with light drizzle starting to fall as well.
Ricciardo’s struggles were compounded by a time penalty earned for tipping Lance Stroll’s Aston Martin into a spin after seemingly understeering into the Canadian – a moment for which he was swift to accept blame.
“I managed to hold off Stroll for a bit on the medium and then, when we came out on the hard, and he came out on a soft, we simply had no grip. I tried to avoid contact but I couldn’t and unfortunately hit him, spun him around and got a penalty and then that was it.
“The hard didn’t work for us, I could just never really get it working,” continued Ricciardo, on a difficult day where his team mate Lando Norris managed to come home seventh. “Obviously I apologised [to Stroll] for that.”
Ricciardo sits 12th in the drivers’ standings on 19 points to his team mate’s seventh with 76 points.