Riccardo 12th after tough Mexican standoff
Monday 08 November, 2021
Photo: McLaren Media
A chaotic start to the 2021 Mexico City Grand Prix saw Daniel Ricciardo’s good work in qualifying undone as the Australian finished in 12th position.
Having qualified in seventh, Ricciardo was confident of powering through the field in the 72-lap race of the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, only to sustain damage on the opening lap.
When lights went out, Ricciardo coolly executed the first part of his plan and made up three places, having charged up the inside of the track before disaster struck on the first corner.
Now in fourth position and going wheel-to-wheel with Sergio Perez, Ricciardo slightly locked up heading into the turn and clipped Valtteri Bottas from behind.
As a result of the contact, a five-car incident occurred with Bottas turned around and Ricciardo losing his front wing, while a second collision between Yuki Tsunoda, Mick Schumacher and Esteban Ocon saw the former two out of the race.
With the safety car then called out, Ricciardo made his way to the pits to replace the wing and came out in P17 ahead of only Bottas.
For the majority of the Grand Prix, Ricciardo’s race saw him battling with the back markers and defending an aggressive Bottas.
The West Australian managed to hold the Mercedes driver at bay on multiple occasions but continued to lose ground on the drivers ahead every time he was forced to defend his position.
Eventually the Finn adopted a different strategy and the two were separated allowing Ricciardo to try and close on the top 10, however it was too late and Ricciardo could only finish as high as 12th.
Outside of a chaotic start, the race proved quite comfortable for championship leader Max Verstappen, who claimed a 16-second victory ahead of title rival Lewis Hamilton.
Finishing behind the seven-time champion was Verstappen's Red Bull teammate, Perez, who became the first Mexican driver to ever finish on the podium in Mexico City.
With just four rounds to go, Verstappen now holds a 19-point lead over Hamilton, while Perez’s third consecutive podium saw him close the gap on the third placed Bottas to just 20 points.
Ricciardo meanwhile fell further behind rivals Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz on the standings with the Ferrari drivers finishing fifth and sixth respectively.
It’s straight to Brazil for the Formula 1 World Championship’s next race, with the Brazilian Grand Prix taking place at Interlagos Circuit in Sao Paulo on 14 November.