Daniel Ricciardo says the first lap, first corner incident that sent team-mate Esteban Ocon spinning was ‘the last thing’ he wanted to do, but the Australian was unable to avoid clipping the Frenchman with Lewis Hamilton on his inside.
The Renault DP World F1 Team racer was delayed in the contact and lost a couple of positions, and was on course for a top five finish, only for him to struggle on his second set of intermediate tyres towards the end. Ultimately, he slipped down the order and scored only one point in tenth.
Ricciardo said the whole Turkish Grand Prix was a ‘lottery’ when it came to tyres, with the Australian at times being one of the quickest cars on track only for the tyres to then fade away and lose performance, leaving him struggling.
“We made a great start today, but I was squashed in between Lewis [Hamilton] and Esteban into Turn 1, so I had nowhere to go and I clipped my team-mate which is the last thing you want to do,” said Ricciardo.
“We lost a couple of positions from the incident and then when we switched to the Intermediate tyres and we just couldn’t make them last. There were moments during the race when I was told I was one of the fastest out there, then just a few laps later my tyres were completely gone so it was all a bit of a lottery.”
Two Hits on Lap One End Ocon’s Chances of Points
Team-mate Ocon felt his chances of points all but disappeared on lap one, with his contact with Ricciardo and then Valtteri Bottas leaving him with a puncture and at the back of the field.
Ocon felt he had made his best start of the year and was on course to run inside the top three or four from seventh on the grid, only to be tipped into a spin at turn one by Ricciardo. He was then hit from behind by Bottas at turn nine that left him with the puncture and an unscheduled pit stop.
The Frenchman tried hard to recover but was unable to work his way back into the top ten, finishing eleventh on a day that had the potential for so much more for a driver renowned for impressing in wet and damp conditions.
“It was a difficult race for us today,” said Ocon. “I got hit twice at the start and that ended our chances of scoring good points.
“I was happy with my start and it was probably my best one of the year. I was third or fourth at Turn 1 and then I was unlucky to spin after Lewis [Hamilton] got close to Daniel, who clipped my rear. I then got hit at Turn 9, which punctured my rear tyre and from there it was always going to be hard to recover.
“We did our best and we move onto the next one.”
“Today’s race result is very disappointing” – Marcin Budkowski
Marcin Budkowski, the Executive Director at Renault, admitted the first lap contact between his drivers was ‘unfortunate’, but struggles with tyres for both drivers and the additional first lap contact with Bottas for Ocon left the team finishing tenth and eleventh.
Taking one point when both the BWT Racing Point Formula One Team and McLaren F1 Team scored heavily was not what they were hoping for at Intercity Istanbul Park, but Budkowski says they will come back fighting in the final three races to claim back third place in the Constructors’ Championship.
“Today’s race result is very disappointing,” reflected Budkowski. “It was unfortunate that Daniel and Esteban touched at the start.
“Daniel looked competitive in the first part of the race, but his pace significantly deteriorated after his second stop as he struggled with his tyres. Esteban drove a solid race to finish eleventh and that was the best we could have hoped for after the first lap incidents and the lack of pace with the Intermediate tyres.
“We now turn our focus to the final three races in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi where we expect to be competitive on more conventional and grippy surfaces and aim to fight back for third position in the Championship.”