The pit stop confusion that caused Daniel Ricciardo to lose any chance of winning the Monaco Grand Prix, was caused by his tyres being trapped at the back of the Red Bull Racing team garage.
Ricciardo had controlled the opening part of the race, after building up a good lead following the release of the safety car, that a rain drenched Monaco had seen the drivers start the grand prix behind.
After pitting to switch to the intermediate tyres, despite Lewis Hamilton who was now leading the race staying out on the full wets, the Australian was able to close right back up behind the Brit. When the track had started to dry and the Mercedes AMG PETRONAS man made his first pit stop of the day to switch straight onto the ultra-soft tyre, the call was made to Ricciardo to come in on the next lap.
But as the Australian made his way down the pit lane it was clear the mechanics were not ready with his tyres. Having originally planned on switching their man to a new set of the soft compound tyre, a split moment change was made to move him onto a used set of the super-soft tyre instead, and that is when it all went wrong for Ricciardo.
The team felt they had enough time to make the switch to the different tyre before Ricciardo made it to the pit box, but they were wrong. In the cramped confines of the Monaco pit area, the set of tyres needed were now stuck at the back of the garage, with mechanics unable to retrieve them within the short space of time they had. That left Ricciardo stationary in the pits for 13 seconds, four times that of a usual stop, putting any hopes he had of winning in Monaco, straight out the window.
Speaking to motorsport.com, Red Bull Team Boss Christian Horner, confirmed what went wrong.
“Based on how we are set up here in Monaco, the pit wall is upstairs and the garage is downstairs.
“The tyres are on heat both in the garage and behind the garage, and unfortunately the set of tyres that were called for were not readily to hand, and were at the back of the garage.
“They couldn’t be got to the car in time, which cost probably about 10 seconds in the stop.
“But even despite that delay, they came out alongside each other, showing how quick Daniel’s in lap had been and how slow Lewis’ out lap had been. So it was gutting for the whole team to lose a victory like that.”
Apart from apologising, there was nothing more that could be done to appease Ricciardo of the loss, but Horner confirmed that they would ensure nothing like this ever happened again.
“As a team we win together and we lose together, and all we can do is apologise to Daniel that we haven’t given him a good enough service today, having done a great job with him yesterday to get the pole.
“He had done everything right in the race. Even going to the intermediates, it was the right way of going about things to get to the slicks.
“But unfortunately this communication error between the pit wall upstairs and the tyre management has let us down today. But despite this he had a really good go at attacking Lewis.
“He got pretty close at the end of the chicane on one occasion but just didn’t quite have the opportunity to get past. We know how hard it is in Monaco to overtake and effectively the race was lost at the pit stop.”
Ricciardo was quite rightly not a happy bunny after the race, stating that the tyres should have been ready, and that he felt like he had been screwed two weekends in a row, He also made it clear that right now there was nothing the team could say that would make him feel any better.