Three-stop strategy made no sense to Ricciardo, calls it ‘hard to take’

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Daniel Ricciardo was downbeat after Red Bull’s decision to switch him to a three-stop strategy cost him the chance to win Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix.

Ricciardo led the early part of the race after Mercedes teammates Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg took each other out on the first lap.

However, the Australian was moved onto a three-stop strategy in the middle stint of the race, costing him the lead and leaving him to make up a number of positions in the closing stages.

The decision left Ricciardo toiling to pass Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel for third in the final few laps before suffering a puncture that resigned him to fourth at the flag.

Meanwhile, Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen claimed his first Formula 1 victory on a two-stop strategy, becoming the youngest winner in the history of the sport.

Speaking to NBCSN after the race, Ricciardo admitted that he did not agree with Red Bull’s decision to three-stop him, saying it made little sense to do so when leading.

“If you’re in the group, try three stops,” Ricciardo said.

“But to three-stop from the lead and put yourself behind cars on a track that’s tough to overtake at doesn’t make much sense.

“We were controlling the lead. We weren’t as quick as I would have liked, but to throw yourself back is a hard one to take and doesn’t really add up.”

When asked if he was sacrificed to allow Verstappen to win, Ricciardo said: “No, in terms of that stuff, no. It worked out as it worked out.

“The leader should normally get the better strategy. Three stop wasn’t fine. I’m not even on the podium. Even without puncture we weren’t on the podium.”

Ricciardo tried a number of opportunistic moves on Vettel in the closing stages, causing the German to complain to his Ferrari team over the radio at one point.

“Seb was slower than me,” Ricciardo said. “I got close and nearly pulled it off.

“Seb said I was too aggressive… I’m not sure what he wants.”