‘The race just kept getting away from us’ – 14th place Ricciardo explains where it all went wrong
Daniel Ricciardo may have started the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix in fifth place, but he finished it in P14, after a nightmare race that, in the Renault driver’s words, “just kept getting away” from him.
Ricciardo was already one place down by the fourth corner of Lap 1, after he was baulked by the Racing Point of Nico Hulkenberg out of The Loop, allowing Lance Stroll past him. Then, having struggled to preserve his medium tyres, Ricciardo switched to the hards at his second stop, only to emerge in traffic and spin his car while defending from McLaren’s Carlos Sainz, forcing a third stop and leaving him 14th at the flag – 10 places lower than he’d finished seven days before at the same track.
“It was a race that just kept getting away from us,” said Ricciardo. “Really as soon as we stopped for the first time. It’s tough, we’ll look but I think in hindsight we could have gone longer and tried to just put the hard on [to do a one-stop]. But we came in for medium, and that medium just got destroyed, we couldn’t do much else with it at all, so that was certainly unexpected.
“And then finished with the hard, but we came out in a group, obviously, because the medium stint wasn’t good. Then we were in the fight, tried to defend from Carlos and I lost the car. I spun, killed those tyres. The spin put us really out of the race, and then I killed those tyres because of the spin so our race was done. It just got away from us. It’s a shame.”
Ricciardo had finished Free Practice 2 in P3, leading him to suggest that a podium wasn’t beyond the realms of possibility. But despite his fifth place starting position, the Australian doubted whether on race day his Renault R.S.20 had truly been a “podium car”, spin or no spin.
“I’m not convinced the car was as good as we expected,” he said. “I don’t think it could have been a podium car today but for sure there were still some points that were available so we’ll try and figure out what we can do better – obviously I can not spin! – but to not put us in that mess. We’ll see.”
Ricciardo’s team mate Esteban Ocon at least had a better time of it. Having failed to make it out of Q2 on Saturday before starting P14 following a penalty for blocking George Russell, the Frenchman finished eighth, after making a one-stop strategy work.