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'We threw away win' with strategy - Ricciardo

15 May 2016

Daniel Ricciardo believes his chances of claiming victory at Barcelona where squandered by Red Bull's decision to put him on a three-stop strategy.

The Australian had led from the moment the Mercedes cars tangled at the start, but found himself shuffled down the order as Red Bull elected to pit him three times - as opposed to victorious team mate Max Verstappen, who stopped twice. While a three-stopper was theoretically faster, it was contingent on not meeting traffic - something Ricciardo believes should have been factored in.

"We were leading, it was there for us," Ricciardo said. "Mercedes had their mistakes on Lap 1 and the race was in our hands.  And [then] we went to three-stop strategy, and did it too late as well - Seb [had] already jumped us.

"So then not only I was required to pass Seb, I had to pass three cars when we know we are down on speed and it is a hard track to pass.

"I thought at the time we were doing it because everyone else was - it didn't make sense, I thought that at the time. It's frustrating - normally the guy in the lead gets the better strategy.

"I think we just threw the win away today."

Despite the setback, Ricciardo said he had not given up hope of victory - prompting his fierce attack on Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel in the final laps of the race.

"Knowing we were catching the cars in front and knowing we needed to pass him [Vettel] to get a podium, I gave it a go," Ricciardo explained.

"Unlike 99 percent of the drivers on the grid I tried to make an overtake. I tried a few times. I wasn't content with fourth.

"I guess the frustrating thing is I don't think we had to be in the situation to have to do that - we should have been in the lead.

"Apparently he [Vettel] said I was a bit aggressive on the radio - typical…"

Ricciardo's pursuit of Vettel eventually ended when he suffered a puncture on the penultimate lap. After stopping for fresh tyres, the Australian eventually finished a distant fourth.