Ricciardo relieved to dodge dramatic near-miss in Brazil


Daniel Ricciardo was relieved to have - quite literally - survived the commotion at the start of the Sao Paulo Grand Prix after a stray tyre hit the rear wing of the Aussie’s AlphaTauri rather than his head.

Ricciardo launched his race from P17 on the grid, giving him a front row seat to the melee that unfolded ahead of him when Haas Nico Hulkenberg tagged Alex Albon’s Williams and pitched the latter into the side of the other Haas of Kevin Magnussen.

As the Dane and Albon veered off into the barriers on the outside of Turn 1, Ricciardo did his best to steer clear of the tumult and debris.

However, as he barreled into the first corner, a tyre detached from a rim of Albon's car was thrown up by the field and bounced into the path of the oncoming AlphaTauri.

Fortunately, the stray rubber landed on Ricciardo’s rear wing rather than in his car’s cockpit. It had nevertheless been a close call for the Honey Badger.

“Obviously, I saw quite a big crash in front of me, lots of debris, and I felt like I was getting through it,” he recounted.

“Then I saw a tyre off the rim, kind of like frisbeeing through the air and it started getting closer. I remember ducking my head.


“I didn’t feel anything hit me, so I was happy, but then I checked my mirrors and I saw the rear wing was pretty much off, so I assumed the tyre had hit the wing, which was obviously frustrating.

“You look back at those things now, and it’s nice it didn’t hit me.”

Indeed, the eight-time Grand Prix was “thankful” to have escaped a potentially terminal fate. But his sense of relief was quickly followed by a feeling of disappointment.

“It’s funny, but as soon as I realised it didn’t hit me, then I looked at the wing, and I was like, ‘Damn it!’

“So my immediate relief was turned into disappointment because I realised the race could be over.

“When you’re in that race mode you don’t even think about it, but now, with hindsight, I’m thankful we all got out of it safe.

“All these things can always be worse. I’ll leave certainly feeling a little bit thankful for that.

“I just wish they could have let us be in the race so that one hurts a bit.”

AlphaTauri undertook the necessary repairs on Ricciardo’s car during the race’s red flag period. But the remainder of his afternoon was spent at the tail end of the field just ahead his countryman Oscar Piastri whose McLaren had also been collateral damage during the start-line crash.

The two drivers concluded their day respectively P13 and P14 in the running order.

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