Ricciardo heading to Malaysia in good spirits

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Daniel Ricciardo is heading to next weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix in good spirits despite the saga surrounding his disqualification from the Australian Grand Prix rumbling on in the background of the race.

The Australian driver finished his home race in second place, but was eventually disqualified after the stewards found that Red Bull had exceeded the maximum permitted fuel flow of 100kg/h on the #3 car.

The team protested its innocence and has since appealed, with a hearing set to take place on April 14 that will decide Ricciardo’s fate. However, the unflappable Aussie is still riding high heading to Malaysian next weekend.

“Despite the eventual outcome in Melbourne, I still feel really good about my performance in the race and throughout the weekend,” Ricciardo explained.

“Obviously it would be nice to get the 18 points, but I’m happy that I still stood on the podium and that was a great feeling. I know I did a good job and I can take that with me to the next race in Malaysia.”

One of the biggest challenges posed by the race in Kuala Lumpur is the heat and humidity, and Ricciardo explained in the team’s grand prix preview how it was something he and the other drivers have to prepare themeselves for.

“Until you’ve experienced the heat in the cockpit, it isn’t something you can fully appreciate, no matter what people tell you,” he said. “It’s something you prepare for better as you come back again and again, though it’s still one of the most physically-challenging races.

“If you’re not correctly prepared then the last 20 laps of a grand prix will be difficult and the physicality of the race can hit your concentration in those latter stages.”

The weather at the Malaysian Grand Prix is often impossible to predict. The race is held in monsoon season, meaning that conditions usually range from extreme heat and humidity to heavy downpours – or even both across the course of a single race.

Simon Pagenaud has words with Gabby Chaves after Honda Indy GP of Alabama

Photos: IndyCar
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The rain didn’t stop following the conclusion of the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, and neither did the jousting between drivers.

An angry Team Penske’s Simon Pagenaud confronted Harding Racing’s Gabby Chaves after the race, complaining that Chaves would not let Pagenaud get past him in the closing laps.

Instead of ending up with a hoped-for Top 5, Pagenaud wound up with a ninth-place finish. Chaves, meanwhile, finished 17th, two laps down.

The confrontation turned into a battle of words and profanity between the two drivers, as captured on Twitter by AutoWeek’s Matt Weaver.

Afterward – and after their tempers cooled down somewhat – both Pagenaud and Chaves gave their sides of the confrontation to NBCSN.

Gabby Chaves

First, here’s Pagenaud’s take on things:

“We had a really good race going,” Pagenaud said. “I think we potentially could have been top 5. I was really frustrated with Gabby. He was two laps down and I was stuck behind him, which gave an opportunity to (Scott) Dixon as I was trying to do everything I could to make it happen.

“It’s a real shame because when it’s not your day, it’s not your day. You’ll have better days later, but you want to have everybody on your side when you have a good day. At the moment, he doesn’t have me on his side, let me tell you. It’s a real shame.”

When asked what exactly he said to Chaves, Pagenaud demurred.

“Driver’s stuff,” he said with a slight smile. “We’ve all been there. I’ve been in his position. My side, I played it smart. It is what it is.

“I can’t comment for him. You can ask him the question. I’m not going to make a deal about it, it’s just a shame it ruined my race. We’ll come back stronger. It’s Indy soon, so that’ll put a smile on my face.”

NBCSN then caught up with Chaves for his side of the story.

 

“It’s a tough situation, we had to restart (the rain-delayed race) a lap down,” Chaves said. “Our whole strategy depends on trying to get a yellow and holding our position. Some guys think that the track belongs only to them, they’re the only guys on-track.

“Everyone else who was faster at that point – we were only one lap down to the leader, so we’re still on our strategy and don’t know what’s going to happen – as soon as they got right up next to me on the lead lap, I let them go.

“Simon was the only one who couldn’t drive up to me. I understand his frustration, but he’s the one who has to save fuel to make his strategy work, that’s not our fault, right?”

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