Daniel Ricciardo believed that in hindsight he should have followed the lead of team-mate Max Verstappen and adopted a one-stop strategy during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after finishing fifth in the final race of 2016.
The Red Bull Racing ace had started third on the grid but dropped behind Kimi Raikkonen at the start, and despite getting back ahead of the Finn during the pit stops found himself jumped by Verstappen as a result of the extra stop, and then by Sebastian Vettel as the German ran the faster Supersoft tyre in the final stint.
“I don’t want to be too down as I’m still fifth,” said Ricciardo. “I’m just frustrated in how the strategy played out in the end. We had the Supersofts at the start and it was still going pretty well and we tried to make a move on Kimi.
“For sure it was close but we didn’t pull it off and that really hurt me. I think we should have just gone long and one-stopped but in hindsight it’s always easy to say. I saw Max spin in mirrors in turn 1, so I thought he was out of the race and then he does a one-stop and fights for the podium so he did well.
“I just feel we hurt with the two-stop strategy as the Supersoft was a good tyre today.”
Looking back at the season, Ricciardo admitted it was a positive 2016 with more highs than lows, including a race win in Malaysia, and the Australian praised Nico Rosberg for taking the title, something he wants to be fighting for in 2017.
“Hats off to Nico. It must be an amazing feeling to be world champion,” said Ricciardo. “They both pushed each other until the end and it’s nice to see the title go down to the line like that.
“Looking at the season overall I’m super happy and very pleased with the year. It’s definitely been more highs than lows this year with a lot of podiums, satisfying races and a good chunk of points. I got amongst it when I could so I think it was a good 2016 for sure.
“I’m not going to get too caught up with thinking about next year, but if we woke up in February for testing and the car’s quick then you’ll see me fighting for it (the title).”