Daniel Ricciardo has suggested that Carlos Sainz seems to have a knack for frequently positioning himself in the path of other drivers during practice or qualifying, and he believes that eventually, what goes around will come around for the Ferrari driver.
After Saturday evening’s qualifying session in Abu Dhabi, in which Sainz was eliminated as early as Q1, the Spaniard accused several drivers of using the turbulence thrown up by their car, or dirty air, to impede rivals without actually blocking them.
Ricciardo qualified P15 for Sunday’s race and will line up one spot ahead of Sainz on the grid. When told about the Ferrari driver’s presence alongside him, the AlphaTauri charger joked that he would have a word with his colleague ahead of the race to make sure that Sainz doesn’t get in his way.
"Oh, directly behind me?,” said Ricciardo. “I'm going to speak to him. I know he upsets some people in practice and stuff, like he's normally the upsetter. He gets in the way.
“So I'm going to tell him to maybe not press his left foot too much into Turn 1 tomorrow and upset some people and help me out!”
Ricciardo suggested that Sainz complaining about other drivers impeding him out on the track, as he did after qualifying, was a case of the pot calling the kettle black.
"I don't know why he does it,” commented the Aussie. “But he is always the culprit. But look, he hasn't upset me this weekend.
“I don't know if he's just messing with us, but he definitely seems to be the one that everyone likes to talk about in terms of impeding and whatever.
“He's going to get what he's given. But he started it!"
This season, aerodynamic development has allowed engineers to add more downforce to their cars which in turn has made more difficult once again for drivers to run close to each other due to the renewed wake of dirty air.
Ricciardo says that it hasn’t been lost on drivers that they can use their turbulence to hamper a rival’s car.
"Yeah, I felt like this year it's got worse,” he said. “I think definitely last year, it was a bit better. But for me, I feel this year, it definitely seems a bit harder to follow or not like be affected.
“We know what we're doing. My approach is if I do it to someone, they're going to do it back to me.
“So I'm like, I'll try to be nice to everyone and hopefully get it back to me in a nice way. But anyway, I just talked a bit of shit on him [Sainz]. He hasn't upset me in a while, but you mentioned it!”
Ricciardo insisted that he does his best to not cause any aggravation of his own out on track.
"I feel like I'm doing a good job of trying to get out of people's way,” he said. “I think it's more in practice as well, when there's nothing on the line.
"That's when probably we get most frustrated, okay, we're honestly not fighting for positions in practice.
“So that's where it probably upsets you more. I think qualifying there'll probably be a penalty, but it's more practice where maybe you feel they'll get away with it, and that's where it can rub you the wrong way.”