Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, Circuit de Catalunya, 2016

Vettel’s strategy “screwed” my race in Spain – Ricciardo

2016 Spanish Grand Prix

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Daniel Ricciardo said he has spoken to his team about the strategy decision which potentially cost him victory in the Spanish Grand Prix.

The Red Bull driver led team mate Max Verstappen in the opening stages of the Spanish Grand Prix but fell to fourth after a switch to a three-stop strategy. Verstappen, who pitted just twice, won the race.

Ricciardo said Red Bull put him on the strategy which seemed the best solution at the time.

“We had a few discussions after the race and the week afterwards as well I spent quite a bit of time with the team,” he told reporters in Monaco. “Just basically it seems at the time, through their eyes, the three-stop was the best thing.”

“It looked like [Sebastian] Vettel was our biggest challenger, I guess, for the victory so once we had the gap to fit the three-stop in they pitted me and I think then Vettel pitted the lap later.”

However Vettel returned to the pits just eight laps later which both got him in front of Ricciardo and doomed the Red Bull driver to being stuck behind a car with only slightly older tyres.

“It was then that second-last stint when he went really short and undercut me and that sort of screwed it all up because then he didn’t have the speed to catch the leaders either,” said Ricciardo.

“So it all sort of just unfolded on itself in not a good way for us. But at the time that was their thinking and they thought the three-stop was the one. And they didn’t really think Max or Kimi [Raikkonen] could make the two-stop work.”

Ricciardo added the team expected a grater performance difference at the end of the race between those who had pitted twice and three times.

“As the race goes on, the track does improve a bit and you burn fuel so the car does handle a bit better,” he said. “So the last stint you can probably always go longer than you think you can but still they didn’t think it would go for that long, or they thought we’d have a bigger speed advantage at the end to pass them.”

2016 Spanish Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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17 comments on “Vettel’s strategy “screwed” my race in Spain – Ricciardo”

  1. Daniel only repeating what his team has been told him on why three stop was thought to be better strategy.
    He never said that he believe that its true nor said that he can make two stop work too.
    Maybe two stopper only turn out to be better strategy because of safety car in the early laps.

  2. “Ricciardo said Red Bull put him on the strategy which seemed the best solution at the time.”
    Yes, that is a basic problem with transportation, you don’t know what is down the road or around the next corner. One can argue that every decision could be a wrong decision, even one that ends up with a favourable result. In this case someone decided to change a two stop strategy to a 3 stop strategy, and now we have another person arguing it was the wrong decision.
    Red Bull walked away from the race with 37 Constructors points, which was more than Ferrari (33), and that has to be a good result.

  3. I don’t get Ricciardo’s complaining: Max said on a dutch TV interview that he and Daniel both were on a 2-stop strategy for the race. That they gave Daniel the 3-stop because his tires were wearing of faster then his tires.

    So Daniel: take better care of your tires then Max and they will give you the chance to complete 32 rounds on the mediums.

    1. duncan idaho
      26th May 2016, 2:08

      Rinse, repeat… still not right.

    2. Is that what they told Max? It’s different to what they told Dan.

      Or is that just what Max thought happened?

  4. David (@ringridder)
    26th May 2016, 5:53

    Irrelevant due to his puncture. His puncture would have cost him victory!

  5. 1. Three stops seemed the best strategy at the time, so Ricciardo was put on the best strategy beforehand, not Verstappen.
    2. To beat Verstappen in qualifying he added more front wing (confirmed), causing more tyre wear (unconfirmed). He wouldn’t have made it with a 2 stop (unconfirmed).

    Can we just leave it?

    1. It doesn’t occur to you that RB easily could have switched back to less FW during the race.. confirm please.

  6. By bringing Vettel in after just 8 laps, Ferrari guaranteed that Vettel would beat Ricciardo but also made both their chances of a win significantly less likely.

    Ricciardo probably needs to give it up though and show a bit more grace in defeat, I don’t remember Vettel moaning quite this much when Ricciardo pinched his three fortunate victories in 2014.

    1. I’m pretty sure the problem is that people keep asking him about it. There’s no way RIC has been searching for journalists just to keep sharing his story.

    2. @marcusbreese

      Ricciardo probably needs to give it up though and show a bit more grace in defeat

      Nothing about his attitude since the race has struck me as ungracious.

    3. @marcusbreese I don’t think Ricciardo has handled this badly. In an interview I read just yesterday or the day before he even was very, very magnanimous towards Verstappen. What he says above is all measured and correct.

      It is true that Ferrari basically cost both Vettel AND Ricciardo any shot at the win with that stupidly short third stint. Vettel’s tyres were only 3 laps longer than Raikkonen’s so the chances of him making up a gap that large and then pass the both of Raikkonen and Verstappen were slim at best.

      It did assure Vettel had won the battle with Ricciardo though. And if the twostoppers had ran out of tyres 2 or 3 laps before the end, he would have been there to pick up the win.

      1. “3 laps longer” should have read “3 laps newer”, of course.

  7. He has a point. A very good point actually. I thought the same in the aftermath.

  8. Ricciardo added the team expected a grater performance difference at the end of the race between those who had pitted twice and three times.

    Unusual unit to measure performance difference there, the “grater”. Maybe it means they expected the two-stoppers tyres to be behaving as if someone took a cheese grater to them? LOL

    * END FACETIOUS COMMENT *

    @keithcollantine Greater? :)

    1. Trust a mouse to have cheese on the brain. :)

      1. Well, mouse with doctoral degree.. Why not?

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