Ricciardo rues 'long and painful afternoon' after first corner clash

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Daniel Ricciardo says he endured a "long and painful afternoon" in Mexico City after a first lap clash with Valtteri Bottas ruined both drivers' race.

The McLaren charger had enjoyed a good launch off the grid from P7 and veered towards the right side of the track inside to brake deep into the first corner, just behind the two Mercedes of Bottas and Lewis Hamilton.

But the move was a tad optimistic for the Aussie who tagged Bottas as the Finn turned in, a contact that spun the Mercedes and damaged the McLaren's front wing, and which sent both drivers down the order

"It was obviously a pretty painful race, I'm sure for both of us, after lap one," said a desolate Ricciardo.

"I had a good launch, so I had a slipstream and we were looking pretty good. I was alongside, I think, Perez into [turn] one, and I locked initially and then I collected it.

"I locked before kind of the entry point, and then I gathered it up again. Valtteri has come to kind of close the apex and then its me, I think Perez, and there’s basically not enough room for all of us.

"So it was actually a lot smaller hit than I thought."


Mercedes boss Toto Wolff was surprised the stewards did not take action against the McLaren driver as the move looked like it warranted a clear penalty.

"Yes, I think the stewards should have a look into it," said Wolff. "In hindsight, it was surprising that they didn’t look at a penalty."

Indeed, Ricciardo himself seemed surprised that there had been no sanction, until he watched a replay and got a better understanding of what had happened.

"Obviously, I was the one who went into him [Bottas], I saw him to apologize in any case," commented the Aussie.

"I see why the stewards call it a racing incident but, in any case, it's not the way you want the race to go.

"But honestly, looking at the replay, I just think it’s a first-lap incident and a matter of maybe me being optimistic. But I feel that one of those gaps, if you don’t go for it, someone else will and then you’re going to get the short end of the straw."

After both drivers pitted following the incident, they resumed their race together, with Ricciardo holding off Bottas for the remainder of the afternoon but without ever reaching the top ten.

"Frustrating to have this, it's the nature of the beast obviously with the sport, and lap 1 incidents can happen.

"Obviously the cars are pretty fragile as well, you just hit at the wrong angle and a lot of think kind of go breaking.

"To obviously have the race go from here to here in a few seconds, that's the disappointing part, the sad part of the sport sometimes.

"We definitely had a bit of damage, we were still able to hold off Valtteri but we were not fighting for position. So let's says a long and pretty painful afternoon for both of us."

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