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Ricciardo frustrated by "fortunate" Virtual Safety Car

NEWS STORY
24/10/2016

Timing of VSC couldn't have been worse for Australian who was relishing fight with Nico Rosberg.

On a day where he got the star of 300 to drink from his boot whilst adding another 15 points to his tally and thereby consolidating third spot in the Drivers' Championship, and runner-up spot for Red Bull in the team standing, the one fly in the ointment was the deployment of the Virtual Safety Car following his teammate's retirement.

As Lewis Hamilton cruised to victory, Ricciardo and Rosberg, on different strategies, were battling for second, a battle that was likely to go all the way to the chequered flag as the German enjoyed tyre advantage but the Australian track advantage.

However, the appearance of the VSC essentially gave Rosberg a free pit stop robbing the fans of what would have been a tasty dog fight and, according to Ricciardo, the Australian of second place.

"It was definitely ours, at least for that moment," said the Australian, "and even if Nico caught me towards the end I was not going down without a fight.

"I was looking forward to the battle," he grinned. "I think we had good pace. It was frustrating at the time; as soon as the Virtual Safety Car came out I got on the radio and said 'this isn't good for us, is it'. Simon, my engineer, said ' no, it's going to have us over'. I was pretty upset, but that's how it goes.

"We had relatively good pace compared to Nico," he insisted. "I think we had a pretty good car for second. Shame we didn't get that, but hey, I'm not going to get too disappointed. It's just cool to be on the podium.

"It's frustrating, but I still enjoyed the day,” he concluded. "The anthem before the race is pretty awesome, I had goosebumps, I'm not gonna lie. And then the podium and everything afterwards, I love coming here."

Team boss Christian Horner wasn't altogether convinced that the end result would have been any different.

"We would have had track position, but Rosberg would have run a set of soft tyres, so he'd have been on a quicker tyre," admitted the Briton. "We'd have given it a go, but you'd have to say the advantage would have been with Rosberg."

However, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff appeared to agree with the Australian, admitting the VSC was "fortunate".

"I think it would be a different scenario," he said, when asked the result if the VSC hadn't been deployed. "We had the pace, and it was very fortunate when the VSC came out. We have not been very fortunate in the last few races, so we will take that."

Check out our Sunday gallery from Austin, here.

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