RED BULL FALLOUT
Australian felt “screwed” for second race running after pit shambles
Daniel Ricciardo has blasted the Red Bull Racing team after a pit stop blunder cost him a shot at victory in last weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix.
Ricciardo was angered when the team called him in for his second pit stop of the race as it looked to change to super soft tyres for the final stint, only for the mechanics to have no rubber ready. Ricciardo lost time while his team scrambled to fetch new tyres from the garage in a flahspoint that lost him the race lead to eventual winner Lewis Hamilton.
The blunder marks the second questionable Red Bull decision in as many races concerning Ricciardo.
The Australian said he felt the team cost him a shot at victory in the preceding Spanish GP when it moved him to a three-stop strategy, allowing his two-stopping team-mate Max Verstappen to win in Barcelona.
Ricciardo blasted his engineers over the radio after the race, refusing to hear or accept the team’s apologies.
He said: “To explain how I feel without swearing is difficult. I feel like I’ve been run over by an 18-wheeled truck for the second race in a row. I felt I handled it [the bad decision] in Barcelona pretty well, but to try and stand here after that and still be positive – I can’t do it this time.
“I’m a positive guy and I hate being like this. Being on the podium in Monaco should be awesome, but this hurts. I was quick in the race and pulled away and I just have no idea what happened with the strategy call. The team called me in, it’s not even like I made a snap late decision [to pit]. I just know they should have been ready and that it’s not good enough.
“After the race I just told them to save their breath as there’s nothing they could say to make this any better. I just want to get the hell out of here [Monaco] to be honest. That’s two races in a row now that I’ve been screwed.
“A big part of racing is relying on the team and their strategy calls, so to get it wrong twice hurts. I’m not sure where to go from here. They’ve got to understand what’s going on and learn from it because this is a win I’ll never get back. That’s a fact.”
Red Bull team head Christian Horner apologised to Ricciardo, and said the unusual pit layout at Monaco – where team perches are placed above the garage, not trackside – may have contributed to the error.
“Basically there was a miscommunication with the tyres,” he said. “The pitwall is upstairs, obviously the garage is downstairs, tyres are on heat both in the garage and behind it. Unfortunately the set of slicks that were called for weren’t readily to hand and were at the back of the garage and there was a scramble.
“Not making excuses, as there aren’t any. But it’s a communication error that happened with 30 seconds notice that on a normal working day [without tight garages] wouldn’t have happened. The race engineers don’t have sight of which tyres are in the garage from upstairs.
“All we can do is apologise to Daniel that we haven’t given him good enough service today.”