Dark day for Ricciardo in Imola
Monday 25 April, 2022
Photo: McLaren Media
It’s been a tough outing at the famous Imola Circuit for Daniel Ricciardo after he crossed the finish line last in the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix overnight.
While the Aussie's former teammate Max Verstappen led Sergio Perez in a dominant one-two for Red Bull, current teammate Lando Norris rounded out the podium.
But it was a day to forget for Riccardo who finished 18th.
The West Australian had had a good weekend in the lead up to the fourth race of the 2022 FIA Formula 1 World Championship season, having placed sixth in both Friday’s qualifying session and Saturday’s Sprint race.
However, all his good work was undone less than 30 seconds into the race as he collided with Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz at turn three of the opening lap.
With the Ferrari driver alongside Ricciardo on the outside of the tamburello chicane, slight understeer from the Australian saw the McLaren collide with the Ferrari and spinning the Spaniard into the gravel.
Ricciardo also ended up in the gravel with Sainz but had enough momentum to get out and continue his race.
It was hardly a race though as Ricciardo occupied the back of the field for much of the remaining 59 laps – despite being the first to switch from inters to mediums and posting consecutive fastest laps as he made up some ground to 15th after 21 laps.
By lap 40 though, he was back in 18th and much slower than the rest of the competition as he was unable to close in on the next driver in Mick Schumacher, which signalled there was a larger problem at play.
Speaking to media after the race, Ricciardo admitted fault to the incident and was apologetic.
“What happened from memory was I got onto the kerb, I know it’s going to bottle up at some point, so I tried to give myself a little bit more space,” Ricciardo said.
“But I think as soon as I got onto it, I just started sliding straight off it and then slid up into the track, and obviously then went into Carlos.
“I’ll see if I could have done anything different. It’s tough because you go slower into Turn 1, you be more cautious and then someone’s going to probably do the same to you, or you might put yourself in a more sandwiched position.
“I went into [Turn] one feeling like it was all under control. Obviously it wasn’t, but for now I’ll go and see Carlos and apologise. It’s not fun to ruin your day but also someone else’s, so one of those days.”
It was a far better day for his teammate in Lando Norris as the Brit managed to sneak onto the podium within the final stint of the race thanks to an error to championship leader Charles Leclerc.
Leclerc had been chasing down Perez after a late pit stop to change tyres and found himself on the Mexican’s tail on lap 52 due to Red Bull responding with a pit stop of their own.
Unfortunately, in his attempt to get second place, the current championship leader made a crucial mistake at Variente Alta where he hit the curb and spun into the barrier – damaging his front wing in the process.
Forced to pit, Leclerc dropped back down to ninth, but managed to regain positions to sixth behind George Russell and Valterri Bottas by the time he reached the chequered flag.
Verstappen’s win and extra bonus point for fastest lap saw him move into second place and almost halve the deficit with just 27 points now separating him and Leclerc.
The FIA Formula 1 World Championship now heads to the United States for the inaugural Miami Grand Prix on 8 May.