Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, Singapore, 2017

Gearbox problem didn’t cost us win – Ricciardo

2017 Singapore Grand Prix

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Daniel Ricciardo says his gearbox problem in the Singapore Grand Prix didn’t cost him the win but his set-up choice might have.

The Red Bull driver was in danger of retiring from early on in the race according to team principal Christian Horner. However Ricciardo said the gearbox problem wasn’t what prevented him challenging Lewis Hamilton for the lead.

Singapore, 2017
Singapore Grand Prix in pictures
“We had a couple of little issues,” said Ricciardo. “I had to manage the car in some situations with the gearbox and that, but ultimately I don’t think it changed the shape of the race. I don’t think that was the reason we were second and not first.”

“I have an idea, if we were to do the race again, how to set up the car differently. I feel something we did on the car it would have helped if we went the other way for how the track conditions were, but it was fun nonetheless, you know the beginning, never going around here really in the wet.”

Ricciardo said he didn’t know what the nature of his gearbox problem was.

“I’m actually not too sure what the issue was but I was just advised to do some short shifts from fairly early in the race and I was then reminded to continue to do that up to the end.”

“Obviously there were probably some issues going on and that was a way of managing it. I think that was the main thing. But I’m not sure the reason, but that’s what I was told to do.”

2017 Singapore 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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  • 9 comments on “Gearbox problem didn’t cost us win – Ricciardo”

    1. Certainly won’t have helped. But I highly doubt even Ricciardo would’ve been able to overtake Hamilton once he was behind – Perez couldn’t overtake Sainz when he was within DRS, and that was Mercedes on Renault, so I doubt a Renault engine could’ve overtaken a Mercedes.

    2. He can be a bit of a style monkey but calling him Ricc’airdo is a bit much Keith.

    3. tgu (@thegrapeunwashed)
      18th September 2017, 15:43

      This is a strange story, after the race Horner claimed that Ricciardo was losing 0.5s per lap from about the halfway point, the team having told him to manage the gearbox, and he was lucky just to finish. But here’s the thing, that’s exactly the type of message FOM usually broadcasts – yet we heard nothing. In fact these developing problems usually result in multiple messages, but we got nada.

      The next day we see varying reports that the problem started 5-6 laps into the race (practically from the start) or 15 laps in (about 25% through), but Channel 4 puts up videos of the drivers chatting before the podium, and Lee McKenzie’s interview with Ricciardo afterwards: in both videos he’s asked how his race went, in both videos he doesn’t mention the gearbox, but instead reports difficulty with the inters.

      The story has all the hallmarks of one of Christian Horner’s smokescreens – purely put out to wrongfoot the opposition, and now Ricciardo is covering for him. If Ricciardo had a gearbox problem, there’s no way he’d be trading fastest laps with Hamilton at the end of the race, this whole story is a red herring.

      1. And kudos to Ricciardo for not using the gearbox issue as a scapegoat for his surprising lack of race pace; taking the blame himself. What honesty!

      2. Most of radio traffic is filtered so we miss 90% of the technical stuff which they think it’s boring.

        1. while indeed most of the radio coms are filtered by FOM, i totally agree with @thegrapeunwashed as this was definately not a boring message. The P2 in the race having gearbox difficulties from early on would have surely been worthy of broadcasting.

      3. After hearing horner complaining of the gearbox issue, i thought damn, never amazes me some teams are great at making up excuses/stories for PR to make them look better than they are…

        If he really was managing anything, Bottas would have been up in his bumper, 0.5 secs a lap slower was what bottas was doing… Hamilton was doing a better job, and at time they matched times. They only equalized when ham was asked to hold his horses!

    4. Daniel is one of few F1 drivers who does honest responses & comments and its really good to see rather than the normal PR BS – no-one buys it.

      When asked why Max had him in quali earlier this year he simply said “he’s been too quick” – few F1 drivers would say that! (Side note- when Max has beaten Dan quite often its been a close gap, Singapore was real close, so when all say Max is so good still shows Dan pretty quick too- a good driver combo there!).

      I did find it frustrating when Lewis pulled out an easy gap on Dan real quick on each re-start but RIC got the job done as he always seems to.

    5. tgu
      You raise an interesting and valid point that appears to have been studiously ignored, or at the very least dismissed by the F1 commentariat.
      I too saw Ricciardo’s pre podium interview – on F1.com – where he was asked directly “what happened to the pace RB had shown in practice/qualification?” To his credit he answered honestly, never once raising any issue/problem with his gearbox, on the contrary he spoke about the car not being set up for a wet race and consequently lacking grip. Some may consider this explanation itself an excuse but it was true to say that all cars on the grid were struggling with this conundrum when the rain started.
      Like evilhomer said,I respect his honesty. Even when Horner raised this smokescreen, effectively contradicting his driver, putting him in an uncomfortable position where he had to back up his boss, he was still honest enough to say that he didn’t think that the gearbox had any influence on the race result.
      For me that’s classy, and a nod to his rival Lewis saying I respect what you did out there in those conditions.
      I raise this only because I believe the real story of the Singapore race (apart from the crash obviously) was Hamiltons race pace, especially the way he was able to build a commanding lead after 2 SCs on older rubber. Let’s not forget the MB was the 3rd quickest car that weekend.
      The RB gearbox smokescreen story was used to negate this narrative and widely reported despite ample evidence to the contrary.

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