Italian Grand Prix – Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo says that, while amusing, Saturday’s Q3 antics needs to be addressed at the next GPDA meeting.
Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo starts Sunday’s race at Monza from P5 after a stellar qualifying session for the French team. The Australian driver was one of the drivers caught up in the last minute farce at the end of Q3 which saw 9 drivers attempting to each let another car go in front of them for towing purposes. With all going as slowly as possible, they ran out of time, meaning seven of the nine drivers crossed the line after the chequered flag.
Ricciardo, speaking afterwards, says that he found the incident quite amusing but only because nothing bad had happened as the drivers sped up, slowed down, and weaved around each other: “For now we can chuckle about it. There were no incidents and I don’t think it deserves any penalty for the moment. But it does need to be addressed at the next driver meeting because no one really gained anything from it. When you have that many cars in a pack, you are maybe more likely to clip wheels with someone or lose a nose. We don’t need it. We’ll address it but immediately speaking we’ll move on from it.”
“These tracks (Spa and Monza) certainly stand out more as no one wants to be first so therefore everyone is waiting for the tow. Some tracks it bunches up and then others, everyone is trying to make gaps as we don’t want our tyres to drop too low so everyone is trying to jostle like in Budapest for example. so maybe there is a bit of tyre temperature stuff. Today, specifically, I think is the tow and no one wanting to be the guinea pig out in front.”
Speaking after missing out on his second run, Ricciardo wasn’t too displeased as he realistically wasn’t really in a position to finish any higher than his eventual P5: “I thought we were still OK because then the pace picked up and my engineers were like you’ve got no more time to back off so go go go. By then everyone had picked up the pace. I saw a lot of cars in the last corner close so already, I thought this lap is going to be messy. I’m going to get caught up in something but I pulled up the last corner and saw the red light already. We were a long way off! I didn’t expect that but I had a bit of comfort knowing pretty much everyone else missed out. That made me feel slightly better.”
As for whether he thinks there’s a solution to the problem, Ricciardo said: “Minimum lap time for out lap for cars to not go too slow. It seemed like it works for Q1 and Q2 but Q3 – everyone forgot! That seems logical, that seemed fine.”
Explaining how well his first run in Q3 went, Ricciardo said he felt like he was being cheered on as he was drafting behind a Ferrari and encountering the wave of tifosi cheers as he drove around: “I got a tow from the Ferrari and that seemed to have worked quite well and they didn’t seem too bothered about playing too many games at first part of qualifying. If I am with the Ferrari, I also have the crowd cheering for me as well so I was happy to be with them!”
With Renault seeming to enjoy the lower downforce circuits, Ricciardo said: “Maybe it shows a trend where lower downforce we show a bit better this year. Montreal – thats a low downforce circuit as well and obviously that was our best qualifying where we got P4, P5 here and P6 at Spa so there is a little bit of a trend.”
Joking, he said: “Monaco though, high downforce we were quick there but that was pure driver skill!”