United States Grand Prix – Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo is approaching the end of his time with the team, and says he wants one more chance to have a happy occasion with them before departing.
The popular Australian, now in his fifth year with the team, departs for the Renault squad at the end of this season, having decided against renewing with RBR for 2019. His luck throughout this season has been disastrous, retiring from seven different Grands Prix throughout this season and encountering countless technical problems. Included in that list is his sole win of the year at Monaco, where his car developed an engine problem that saw his car sapped of power while leading. He was able to ease the car home to the win despite this, the characteristics of the circuit preventing him from being threatened.
Last weekend’s race was more of the same. Having started from P4 and weathered an attack from Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel that resulted in the German driver spinning down the order, Ricciardo looked as though he’d be able to join in the fight for the podium when his car switched off entering the back straight on Lap 10 – a full battery failure that completely killed the power in his car. “Everything just switched off and it seemed pretty much identical to the issue I had in Bahrain at the beginning of the year.” said a very disappointed Ricciardo afterwards. “I couldn’t even communicate with anyone on the radio so it looks like a battery failure. Now, seeing how the race played out makes it even harder to take as it could have been pretty interesting and it was a great afternoon for Max. There’s not much more to say about it to be honest.”
“It’s incredibly frustrating to retire so early in the race and I just don’t seem to have any luck at the moment.”
While Max Verstappen was able to challenge for the race victory after running an alternative strategy from P18 on the grid, Ricciardo was forced to watch from the sidelines yet again. With just three races left in his current Red Bull career before switching to Renault, Ricciardo says he’s hoping for one more reason to celebrate with his current team: “A lot of times this year there have been things out of my control but I can only keep trying. The biggest shame is that I only have a handful of races left with Red Bull and I want to have more highs than we’ve had. I want to be able to celebrate with the Team at least one more time and be on the podium to enjoy that feeling, but we’re running out of races which is pretty tough to take at the moment.”
Team boss Christian Horner said that the issue is unlikely to have any further consequences: “Having started the race strongly and looking so competitive it was hugely frustrating to lose him so early on with what looks like a repeat issue of Bahrain, where the engine energy store is suspected to have failed terminally. Thankfully we have one more in our allocation that we introduced in Sochi, meaning we should avoid a penalty in Mexico next weekend. The whole team feels for Daniel as we just want to see him finish on a high in the remaining races with us and for reasons beyond our control, in recent races, that hasn’t been possible.”