Daniel Ricciardo, AlphaTauri, Circuit of the Americas, 2023

Damage meant points weren’t possible on return – Ricciardo

Formula 1

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Daniel Ricciardo says the damage his car sustained during the United States Grand Prix ended his chances of scoring points in his first race back.

He picked up damage to his front-left brake duct during his first stint at the Circuit of the Americas which his team said cost him a significant amount of downforce.

“We lost a lot of pace very quickly,” said Ricciardo. “I told the team ‘sorry guys, I’ve got nothing right now, I really can’t do anything’.

“Then they said ‘it looks like we’ve lost something’, and they came back and said ‘yeah, there’s damage to somewhere on the front of the car’.

“I guess it was debris because they mentioned Stroll. I think we got close but I don’t think we touched. We must have picked up some debris somewhere and that made our race a pretty miserable one, I won’t lie.

“We’re at best a top ten car, and when you put damage into it we are certainly out of the points.”

Ricciardo’s team mate Yuki Tsunoda finished eighth on Sunday. Both drivers benefited from a new floor that the team brought to Circuit of the Americas but Ricciardo could only translate his pace into a lapped 15th place.

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“Most of our day today was misfortune,” he said afterwards. “But for sure there is still some things to work on, for the team’s side but also for me.”

“Even in the first stint, I think the timing of the stop wasn’t great, but I don’t know, I’ll always hold myself accountable and be like ‘okay, could I have read that a little bit better, should I have tried to be more proactive?’.

“I definitely did make it aware that I was going to probably lose time in traffic. I’ll always be a little bit critical of myself. For sure some things that we can do better, so I’m glad we don’t have too much of a break and I think also for my race fitness, just to keep smashing it out now I think is good. Today was a long one but I think we’ll quickly learn from this.”

Ricciardo broke his hand at Zandvoort almost two months ago and missed five grands prix. The United States Grand Prix was the first event in three back-to-back-to-back rounds, but Ricciardo thinks that after completing a grand prix distance his hand will not be an issue and his time out of the cockpit has not reduced his race fitness.

“Physically, it’s pretty good,” he said of the race on Sunday. “I actually felt probably worse [on Saturday]. I say worse. Obviously still okay, but I felt like I got out of the car probably sweating more. So maybe that was just a good little warm-up for me.

“I think there’s positives of the hand is no excuse [for a lack of performance]. I think that was good. I think we did well with the timing of the return to kind of have no hesitations or excuses. Physically, it’s definitely a tougher race and I still felt okay, we were just limited with damage.”

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Author information

Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching photography back in the UK. Currently based...
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...

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10 comments on “Damage meant points weren’t possible on return – Ricciardo”

  1. It’s good to know there is at least some excuse, even if it sounds a little flimsy (would a driver like Max not have been able to drive around the problem better?). Up until Sunday, his weekend had been pretty reasonable, and I felt his first long stint was quite promising, but then in the second part of the race he started being overtaken by drivers on older tyres, which I found puzzling.
    I suppose we’ll see shortly in the driver ratings article how the journalists judged his weekend.

    1. How is anyone supposed to ‘drive around’ a piece of debris blocking a brake duct, disrupting aero flow and completely unbalancing a car. Max himself had to drive within himself due to a brake issue, instead of blitzing the field by 20-30secs he was within 2… so yes the car makes a difference and even the Max the great can’t drive around physics.

      1. And yet people never give Yuki a break when bad luck, Perez or AT strategy destroys his race

      2. Yes, if the damage is big enough even verstappen can’t do miracles, you have hungary 2021 as an example.

  2. That beard style he had on race day, though, which is perhaps even more hideous (in a funny & positive way) than what he had on the 2014 US GP weekend.

  3. It would be great if we could get some weekends when neither Danny nor Yuki get a “bad” strategy or damage. That is really the only way to compare their relative performance.

  4. Coventry Climax
    24th October 2023, 18:53

    Ricciardo goes Regazzoni style!
    That was the ‘hairy seventies’, do we get a rivival of that? Bring back those cars too, please! I wouldn’t mind a bit! Those were real cars, not this hybrid farce we run these days.
    Also, it’d be nice to see Verstappen with some real facial hair, instead of the fluff he’s got now.

  5. He was slow all weekend, good for Yuki though his stocks will get higher.

    1. A couple things to note:

      -This should be considered no different than his first round back as he only had 2 weekends after nearly a year out of the car before being sidelined for 2+ more months before returning to a drastically altered car.

      -He went 1-1 in qualifying against Yuki during the weekend and was just as fast Yuki in the sprint. So, even if you don’t recognize DR having an unequal opp on Sunday, not sure how you can say Yuki was faster all weekend.

      -He came from what, 6 positions down the grid to be within 2 seconds of Yuki for most of the first until Yuki pitted. Multiple make comparing their GP useless:
      1. Horrible strategy and no ability to change strategy when it was obviously called for: AT tried to execute a disastrous one-stop strategy with DR (just like they tried with Yuki in Zandvoort) and the strategy was initially looking good based on the timing charts. Despite being on much older rubber, none of the early stoppers were lapping faster than him (IE, less than a tenth), but instead of pitting and banking that tire advantage when his tires started degrading and he started getting traffic to take advantage of the tire advantage he would have had in the 2nd and 3rd stint, they kept him out even when his times dropped off a cliff (maybe that’s when the damage occurred).

      2. Damage: with a problem that significant, you can’t really tell much. The issue and poor strategy allowed cars to jump him that he was clearly faster than, but he’d catch them and get badly help up. Likely cause he couldn’t run very close with his issue. So, between two different and a technical issue, there’s not much to glean.

      BTW, this is nothing against Yuki. I think he’a done good job this year. I find it funny that people are drooling all over Lawson despite the tact that the results he got from Singapore, the weekend that is 99% the basis of so many people raving about him, was almost purely down to freak circumstances. Getting into the points there required so much unlikely luck, including:
      1) Russell crashing

      2) Ocon’s car dying

      3) FA suspension issue

      4) Perez punting Albon off the track when Albon had pulled onto Lawson’s tail after gaining 3 seconds a lap on Lawson and was inevitably going to pass him

      5) Yuki’s quali (who was faster in practice) ruined by Max + then taken out on lap 1 by SP

      So, that means he’s realistically finishing 12th or 13th without unusual attrition and incidents.

      1. Ricciardo was 0.2-0.3 down to Yuki all weekend. In Sprint race Yuki had traffic as he started P19 so he lost time there. Obviously he missed his second SQ1 lap so Ricciardo got lucky and qualified to SQ2 instead. As for the main race, Ricciardo was lucky 4 guys started from pitlane so he only had 1 driver I think between him and Yuki. He was slow there as well. The gap was nearly 4secs. Though he had 5 more laps as he was in different strategy like Charles so it was not going to end good for him anyways. Ricciardo had good strategy in Hungary compared to his team mate but those 39laps on medium was impressive other than that he is no better than NDV or Lawson as they were also 0.2-0.3secs slower to Yuki

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