Ricciardo relieved to be free of speculation

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Daniel Ricciardo has spoken to the world’s media for the first time since being confirmed as a Red Bull driver for 2014 today ahead of the Italian Grand Prix, admitting that it is a relief for his future to be secure.

After compatriot Mark Webber confirmed at Silverstone that he would be retiring from Formula One at the end of the season, Ricciardo was shortlisted alongside Kimi Raikkonen and Jean-Eric Vergne for the seat. However, as the ‘last man standing’, Ricciardo was eventually confirmed as Sebastian Vettel’s teammate for 2014 on Monday, and the Australian is glad that the speculation has now died down.

“I think it’s a bit of a relief now that there’s no more speculation and no more dodging questions and all the rest of it,” Ricciardo explained. “Everyone knows what’s happening, including me. It’s nice. It’s something to look forward to and obviously I’m very pleased with the news but I have eight more races this year and looking forward to giving Toro Rosso a nice farewell I hope and I’ll put all my energy into that.”

In Belgium two weeks ago, Ricciardo had been bombarded with questions about his future and remained insistent that nothing had been secured. Today in Italy, he confirmed that he only received confirmation last Wednesday, five days ahead of the global announcement.

“To be honest, in Spa, as I said, I still didn’t know – that was the truth. I found out, I think it was Wednesday that following week, so a few days before the announcement took place.”

Ricciardo will be hoping to prove that he is worthy of the seat by putting in some strong displays during his final eight races with Toro Rosso this season.

Social roundup: Racing world largely outraged by Verstappen penalty

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The discussion over Max Verstappen’s post-race five-second time penalty assessed in Sunday’s United States Grand Prix, issued when he tried to the inside of Kimi Raikkonen at the Turns 16, 17 and 18 carousel complex at Circuit of The Americas, will roll on far beyond today.

The debate today largely centered over consistency in adjudication and application of the rules, track limits themselves (always a sore subject at COTA given its wide runoff areas) or whether there should be permanent stewards.

In the immediate aftermath, though, Twitter lit up with outrage over Verstappen being assessed a five-second post-race time penalty.

Here’s a mere sampling of the reaction, below.