Ricciardo pleased to see the back of Monaco

Leave a comment

Daniel Ricciardo is pleased to be moving on from the glitz and glamour of Monaco after a disappointing weekend which ended in retirement following a run-in with Romain Grosjean.

The Australian driver had been running just outside the points when the Lotus driver crashed into the back of his Toro Rosso exiting the tunnel, ending both of their races. Although he was by no means pleased, Ricciardo saw no reason to dwell on the matter when writing in his blog.

“The impact from the Grosjean crash was pretty hard but the car did its job and I was able to walk away, though the damage to the rear-end was pretty extensive. The chassis should be okay but it was a late night at the track for the guys in the garage sorting it all out.

“Sometimes when things like this happen, you want to blow off steam but by that point I really couldn’t be bothered shouting and screaming at Grosjean.”

Instead, Ricciardo told the Frenchma “you’re an idiot”, following the example of Kimi Raikkonen, who spoke of Sergio Perez in a similar tone after the race following his run-in with the Mexican. Whilst this incident cost both drivers points, Ricciardo was pleased that his own altercation did not lose him a top ten position.

“If there’s a bright side, it’s that it didn’t cost me any points. It’s a funny sort of positive to take away but I’d have felt a lot worse if I’d been in the top ten at that stage.”

Ricciardo will be keen on returning to form at the Canadian Grand Prix, where he finished a lonely 14th.

Max Verstappen shows speed in Austria; Lewis Hamilton lacking pace

Leonhard Foeger/Pool via Getty Images
Leave a comment

SPIELBERG, Austria — Red Bull driver Max Verstappen posted the fastest time Friday, and six-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton lacked pace in the second practice session for the Styrian Grand Prix.

Verstappen was 0.043 seconds quicker than Valtteri Bottas – Hamilton’s teammate at Mercedes – and 0.217 ahead of Racing Point driver Sergio Perez.

“The car already feels better than last week, the balance is a lot nicer and we have made a good step,” said Verstappen, who did not finish last Sunday’s season-opening Austrian GP after starting from second.

“It is too early to say how we are looking against Mercedes, but we are quite happy. We have tried a few different directions to understand the car a bit more and we are heading the right way.”

Hamilton was only sixth fastest, about 0.7 seconds slower than Verstappen. Hamilton spent a chunk of time in the garage while his team worked on his car.

“It was quite far off, so there’s a lot of work to do in the background to figure it out,” he said. “Others out there are quick and Valtteri’s obviously got good pace.”

Despite adding a new front wing to its car, struggling Ferrari had a dismal afternoon.

Charles Leclerc was only ninth quickest and 1 second slower than Verstappen, while teammate Sebastian Vettel lagged about 2 seconds behind Verstappen in 16th.

Daniel Ricciardo lost control of his Renault car early into the second session, swerving left off the track and thudding backward into a protective tire wall. He climbed out unharmed, other than a slight limp, but the left rear tire was mangled and the car was lifted off the track by a crane.

Alexander Albon spun twice, the Red Bull driver’s second spin taking him right off the track and into gravel.

Earlier, Perez was fastest in the first practice ahead of Verstappen and Bottas, with Hamilton fourth quickest and Vettel only 10th in sunny conditions.

That session was briefly interrupted when Nicholas Latifi’s Williams car pulled over to the side with a gearbox issue.

The incident brought out yellow flags, forcing drivers to slow down. But McLaren driver Lando Norris overtook Pierre Gasly’s AlphaTauri and got a three-place grid penalty for Sunday’s race.

Norris, 20, finished third at the Austrian GP last weekend, becoming the youngest British driver in F1 history to get on the podium and third youngest in F1.

The upcoming race is changing names from last week but is at the same track. It is surrounded by the Styrian mountains.

A third and final practice will be held on Saturday morning before qualifying in the afternoon, with heavy rain and storms in the forecast.

If third practice and qualifying are washed out, drivers take their grid positions from where they placed in second practice.

“It would definitely suck if we didn’t get to qualify,” said Hamilton, who started fifth and finished fourth last weekend. “It would make it challenging.”

However, qualifying also could be moved to Sunday morning.

“I don’t expect to be on pole position with this (practice) lap,” Verstappen said.