Of all the ways a driver can retire from a race, having to park up after picking up damage from reversing into another car is surely one of the most bizarre. That was the fate that befell Daniel Ricciardo in Sunday’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix, with the Renault star having his misery compounded by the stewards in Baku, who handed him a three-place grid drop for the upcoming Spanish round for backing into Daniil Kvyat’s Toro Rosso.
The incident in question occurred on lap 31 as Ricciardo attempted to pass the Russian for P10 into the notorious trouble spot of Turn 3. Having been too hot into the corner, the Australian took to the escape road. But as he set about reversing back onto the track, he did so without realising Kvyat’s STR14 had stopped behind him, having also failed to make the turn, bumping into the Toro Rosso and causing so much damage to the car’s floor that Kvyat too was also forced into retirement.
Daniel Ricciardo: 'No-one to blame but myself' for reversing incident
“I obviously don’t feel good about what just happened,” explained Ricciardo. “I know obviously what happened, but at the time it was looking quite good for us, we were just starting to pick up the pace and obviously closing on Dany, I saw a gap and thought I’d have a go.
“It’s always tight into [Turn] 3, but initially I had the commitment and thought I’d pull it off, and then I felt I was going to start to lock and miss the corner. And then at that point, to be honest, as I started to go down the escape road, it was just a sense of urgency and a bit of panic I guess, and just trying to minimise damage and lose as little time as possible.
“So I found reverse and started going and to be honest I had no idea he was there, the urgency stopped me from looking.
“When I went long, to be honest I thought he would have just cut back and stayed on track, but I was just trying to minimise already the mistake I’d made, which turned into another mistake. So kind of crappy on my part, I certainly feel bad for the team and for Dany. Obviously it’s not cool, but I felt the team deserved more than that.
“There were positives with the pace, but not the way I wanted to end it.”
Daniil Kvyat: I'll buy Ricciardo a rear view mirror for Spain
In addition to being handed a three-place grid drop for ‘causing a collision’, Ricciardo also had two penalty points applied to his license, ruining his unblemished record. Kvyat, meanwhile, was philosophical about what happened, despite losing a solid chance to score points for the second time this season.
“These things happen, it’s racing like I always say when I make a mistake," said the Russian. "It happens, that’s all I can say. I was a bit disappointed right in the moment, but what can I do about it.
"There was potential for maybe a point or two today, which I would have definitely taken because the team deserved it a lot because yesterday, in qualifying, our car was great. Today we had a bit of a tyre management issue. We move onto the next one. We have a strong package. I’m sure our time will come.”
With Renault lacking pace all weekend, Ricciardo too said he was hoping to quickly put Azerbaijan behind him.
“All weekend, we haven’t really been on it, and that’s why getting into the points would have been a fairly good recovery for us, that’s why I’m obviously gutted not to pull that off.
“If we’d finished the race, I think we would have been quite upbeat about it, but yeah, not much more to say. I feel pretty small at the moment, but I know I’ll figure it out…”
And Kvyat's next move? "I'll buy him a rear view mirror for the next race!"