Daniel Ricciardo says the opening lap clash with Valtteri Bottas was ‘as painful as they get’ as it meant his chances of points in the Mexico City Grand Prix were pretty much over.
Ricciardo was attempting a pass down the inside of both Sergio Pérez and Pierre Gasly heading into turn one, but he misjudged the move ever so slightly and made contact with Bottas, spinning around the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team driver and breaking his own front wing.
The McLaren F1 Team driver was at the back of the field for much of the race as overtaking proved extremely difficult around the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, with Ricciardo ending the day twelfth, but he did not regret making the attempt to pass at turn one.
“The first lap incident was about as painful as they get because your race is pretty much over from the start,” said Ricciardo. “I was in a tricky position because I know that if I didn’t go for it, someone else would have, and I’d probably have been swamped by other cars. At the end of the day, I think it’s just a lap one incident.
“The start was good and those first few hundred metres were looking positive. I think we were potentially in P4, and in a split-second it changes. That’s the nature of the beast, but these ones are pretty painful because you have to endure the race and hope something happens, but nothing really did.
“I was able to defend Bottas, normally when you’re doing that it’s for a good position, but we were both obviously at the back. The car was also damaged, and we had a chunk of downforce missing. A bit heart-breaking.
“For a few seconds it looked awesome and then it looked pretty un-awesome. We’ll try to come back in Brazil.”
“We knew it was going to be difficult to come through the field” – Lando Norris
Team-mate Lando Norris was able to claim one point in tenth place on Sunday, but the British racer always knew it was going to be a difficult day having started the race down in eighteenth.
Norris was at the back of the pace having taken a grid penalty for an unscheduled engine change, and he gambled on pitting late for his one and only pit stop.
The move ensured he moved ahead of Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN’s Antonio Giovinazzi to secure the final point, although he would have hoped for more knowing the pace of the MCL35M.
“Obviously not the best for us as a team but a good day from my side, from eighteenth to tenth,” said Norris. “We knew it was going to be difficult to come through the field, but we did the best we could do today.
“I don’t think we could’ve achieved too much more, regarding our pace and the difficulty to overtake and follow. One point is more than nothing.
“We’ll keep trying to work hard and make some improvements in Brazil.”