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Angry Daniel Ricciardo slams stewards for grid penalty at Australian GP

Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo was sanctioned for driving too fast under red flag conditions during Friday’s second free practice of the Australian Grand Prix

other sports Updated: Mar 24, 2018 11:26 IST
Daniel Ricciardo,Australian GP,Red Bull racing
Red Bull's Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo poses for photos as he arrives at the Albert Park circuit during a free pratice ahead of Australian GP.(AFP)

A frustrated Daniel Ricciardo condemned Formula One stewards at the Australian Grand Prix after the Red Bull driver was handed a three-place grid penalty for his home race on Sunday.

The Western Australian was sanctioned for driving too fast under red flag conditions during Friday’s second free practice.

READ | Formula One: Daniel Ricciardo handed three-place penalty for Australian Grand Prix

Stewards said in a statement they had imposed a “lesser penalty than usual” because Ricciardo had driven with “due care” and there was “no danger”.

Ricciardo, who was tipped to be a contender at Albert Park, said he had been potentially “robbed” of a front row start.

“I think I can agree with everyone, there’s other penalties they could have used,” the 28-year-old told reporters before the third and final practice on Saturday.

“To give me a grid penalty before the season has even started is shithouse. I slowed down, I knew there was a red flag, I didn’t go slow enough.

READ | Australian Grand Prix: Lewis Hamilton fastest but Red Bull, Ferrari in hunt

“It was just an honest mistake but should that really rob me of a front row start? They could give me a reprimand, they could give me a fine, I don’t care, just don’t rob me of a front-row start.”

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner had no issue with the decision but said he had never seen Ricciardo so enraged.

“I don’t think (the stewards) wanted to give him the penalty but they had to,” the Briton said. “You could see from the wording of the statement that they tried to water it down as best they could.

“It’s just so unfortunate for Daniel, home driver, home race. I’ve never seen him as angry as he was last night. It’s still eating him up and he’s still pretty revved up about it.”

Ricciardo, who has won five races for Red Bull, has had a bitter record at Albert Park, where no Australian racer has won.

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In 2014, he finished second behind Mercedes winner Nico Rosberg but was later disqualified due to a technical infringement that was no fault of his own.

Last year, he crashed during qualifying, had to start the race from pit-lane due to a reliability problem and ended up retiring midway.

First Published: Mar 24, 2018 10:38 IST