Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren, Circuit of the Americas, 2021

“Dirty” contact with Sainz wasn’t deliberate, says Ricciardo

2021 United States Grand Prix

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Daniel Ricciardo said he didn’t intentionally collide with Carlos Sainz Jnr when the pair fought for position during the United States Grand Prix.

After the pair banged wheels at turn 13 Sainz told his team “that got a bit dirty” on the radio. “He did that on purpose, guys,” he added.

Ricciardo said his race engineer Tom Stallard advised him Sainz had “some endplate damage” following their contact. “I guess that was from us touching unless he took a kerb somewhere. But I think my car was okay.

“Obviously you don’t deliberately try to go into someone. But that’s a bit of ‘rubbing racing’.”

“When you put yourself on the outside, obviously you’re a little bit more exposed,” he explained. “So nothing was deliberate but I guess it’s the risk he ran by trying the outside.”

Ricciardo made light of Sainz’s criticism on his radio. “That’s cool, I’m happy to be dirty,” he said. “I’m a nice guy, so being dirty every now and then is alright.”

Sainz admitted his comments at the time had partly been an emotional reaction. “He was in his right to do what he did, just the little contact that he gave me I think was avoidable and that’s what triggered my reaction on the radio when we are in a emotional situation,” said Sainz. “Otherwise it was a good fun battle.”

However he felt Ricciardo’s move was “in the limit of the legality” after the pair touched.

“Obviously he’s in the inside, I’m in the outside, I have everything to lose being in the outside. But normally the car who is on the inside, you’re always trying to run the car out of road.”

Sainz admitted he “would have done exactly the same” in Ricciardo’s position. “Obviously, I wouldn’t have tried to have contact like we had in the end, but the guy in the inside has the right to run the car on the outside out of the road.”

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RJ O'Connell
Motorsport has been a lifelong interest for RJ, both virtual and ‘in the carbon’, since childhood. RJ picked up motorsports writing as a hobby...
Keith Collantine
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13 comments on ““Dirty” contact with Sainz wasn’t deliberate, says Ricciardo”

  1. ..but the guy in the inside has the right to run the car on the outside out of the road

    No he really hasn’t.

    “I’m a nice guy, so being dirty every now and then is alright.”

    No it really isn’t.

  2. Not sure Sainz has much of a point here. Ricciardo runs him to the edge of the road, but not off – Sainz just gets his outer wheels on the paint. At the point they make contact, though, Sainz is a metre or more away from the edge of the road, right hand down, turning into the next corner. He could have been made, quite fairly, to run wider than he was.

  3. “When you put yourself on the outside, obviously you’re a little bit more exposed,” he explained. “So nothing was deliberate but I guess it’s the risk he ran by trying the outside.”

    “Obviously he’s in the inside, I’m in the outside, I have everything to lose being in the outside. But normally the car who is on the inside, you’re always trying to run the car out of road.”

    The stewards interprete this in different ways depending on their mood swing.

    1. Yeah it’s quite interesting to hear Sainz using those exact words, even when it wasn’t in his favour in this case. Unfortunately the stewards don’t seem to have a consistent stance on this, since usually running the opponent out of road on corner exit is permitted, but occasionally it gets penalised.

      1. The couple of times where I’ve seen a penalty is because the driver on the outside is ahead when they get pushed out. But there have probably been times where this was the case and the incident wasn’t even investigated.

        They should just make it so drivers always have to leave room to the overtaker/defender, regardless of who’s ahead. Otherwise it’s just too open for interpretation.

        1. Instead of leaving room just brake and allow the guy on the outside to go ahead.
          Different corners have different characteristics and lines. When you now add dirth and debris, a driver can not always leave room on the outside for another driver.
          As I’ve said in a previous post, leaving room for another driver is analogous to football’s back pass rule and offside rule. They are created to increase the chances of a different outcome. In football it means goals and in F1 it means overtaking.
          Emboldened drivers now throw themselves recklessly on the outside line with impunity.

  4. On Dutch TV they actually played the slow-motion video and that showed the back of Riccardio sliding towards Sainz which certainly supports Riccardio claim that it was not deliberately.

    1. Of course it wasn’t. With these cars you certainly cannot plan for contact, the floor and the bargeboards almost always get damage. They bumped rear wheels they should consider themselves really lucky or really good.
      Sainz jr yet again embarrassing himself. I’m sure he’ll talk his way out of it.

      1. Vettel did that very well at Baku though.

      2. @peartree

        With these cars you certainly cannot plan for contact

        Some are better at it than others..

        1. @balue indeed some are

          really good

          That requires max precision, otherwise it is hambelievable.

    2. Is there a link?

      I had a similar thought, it looked like a small amount of oversteer on the mclaren as Dan put the power on.

      Correcting oversteer is not normally described as opening the steering wheel.

    3. @jelle-van-der-meer How does that prove anything? That’s just a matter of applying a bit more throttle. They know how to steer the car not just with their steering wheel, but also with the throttle.

      I think it was Palmer who said in his analysis of the Alonso/Raikkonen incident that Alonso probably applied more throttle to make the car take a wider line pushing Raikkonen off.

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