Russian Grand Prix – Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo went three quarters of the way through the race in Sochi with some damage to his front wing.
The two Red Bull Racing drivers started the race from the very back, with Daniel Ricciardo starting P18 and Max Verstappen lining up in P19.
While Verstappen ended up being one of the stars of the show as he picked his way into the points within three laps and up into P5 by Lap 8, Ricciardo’s progress was slower. It took him until Lap 12 to get up to P6. While Verstappen was able to grab some of the spotlight by being ahead of the leaders after they made their pitstop, he was shuffled down to P5 after his stop while Ricciardo was P6 with a drive that was effective, if not attention-grabbing.
Speaking after the race, Ricciardo explained that he had encountered damage on the opening lap. Diving up the inside of Toro Rosso’s Brendon Hartley at the end of the back straight, he hit a chunk of carbon fibre that damaged his front wing: “The first lap was a bit of a mess and there are a few little things I will look back on and try to do better. Two cars were fighting at Turn 8 and as I went to pass them I was on the marbles, then off-track, which lost me positions. I then tried to take the slipstream of what I think was the McLaren but when I pulled out of the tow I hit some debris damaging my front wing.”
“From then on, we had a bit of a limp and my race was pretty lonely.”
Ricciardo changed his front wing at his sole pitstop on Lap 42 and, realistically, didn’t lose out on anything bar the opportunity to fight with his teammate over P5, which he acknowledged: “I think as a team, fifth and sixth was probably the best we could achieve from the back of the grid today but obviously I would like to have been closer to fifth than seventh.”
“Although we had better pace than expected this weekend I think we still made the right decision to take the penalties and on paper Suzuka, Austin and Mexico look better for us. I may have forgotten what champagne tastes like and I definitely want more before the season is out, so I will do what I can in Suzuka to get that.”