Ricciardo thought strategy was a "stich up"


Having qualified seventh - behind a Haas - it was an uncharacteristically downbeat Daniel Ricciardo who faced the media in the aftermath.

Clearly feeling that he should have had some help from his teammate in terms of a tow, the Australian complained that Red Bull's strategy had not been fair.

Shortly afterwards however, Max Verstappen and team boss Christian Horner made clear that in terms of aiding teammates with a tow, there is system in place at Red Bull which sees the drivers take it in turns to help one another, and that as Ricciardo benefitted from the Dutch driver in France a week ago, this week it was the Australian's turn to help the youngster.

With three DRS zones and the Bulls making three runs in Q3, Ricciardo is understood to have been told by his engineer on his final run however, that he would get a tow from Verstappen. But when asked to pass the Australian the youngster refused insisting that it was "discipline" to stick with the pre-arranged rule whereby it was Ricciardo's turn to lead no matter how many runs or DRS zones.

"We have a very simple policy here that has operated for the last seven years," said the Briton, "and that is to alternate who drives out of the garage first from race to race.

"This is the only way to keep it scrupulously fair between both drivers," he continued. "This weekend it was Daniel's turn to drive out of the garage first.

"In the heat of qualifying he felt that on a track like this where a tow can sometimes help, he could be at a slight disadvantage going out first," he admitted. "Last weekend it was the reverse and he benefited.

"Now that both drivers have had time to review what happened they have a rather different view of things than they did in the heat of the moment.

"This is natural when you want to win and we would not want to take that away from them."

At the subsequent Red Bull media debrief Ricciardo was his usual smiley self. Seeing an unusually large gathering of journos - clearly sensing a possible falling-out between the two drivers - the Australian grinned and said: "I either won or I said something!"

Asked whether his earlier comments, reflected the fact that at the time he thought he had been "stitched up", he nodded and replied: "In the heat of it all, I thought so.

"I've had a few discussions since with Christian and with my engineer," he continued. "I probably should have just talked about it more beforehand.

"I had concerns and I spoke a little bit with my engineer about it, but I guess as a team it wasn't discussed. But in my mind, in the car, I'm just like, ‘It's obvious what's happening, isn't it? Give me a run where I'm getting a tow instead of giving everyone else a tow'. It was probably miscommunication."

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Published: 30/06/2018
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