Ric­cia­rdo slams claims

Aussie de­nies driv­ing team­mate up wall in qual­i­fy­ing

NT News - - SPORT -

DANIEL Ric­cia­rdo has re­jected claims he rubbed his qual­i­fy­ing suc­cess at the Mex­ico Grand Prix in Max Ver­stap­pen’s face, say­ing he had no in­ten­tion of dis­re­spect­ing his Red Bull team­mate.

Aus­tralian Ric­cia­rdo claimed pole po­si­tion in Mex­ico while Ver­stap­pen – yet to start at the front of the grid in his F1 ca­reer – slipped be­hind and qual­i­fied sec­ond fastest.

The Dutch­man had the last laugh, win­ning the main race last Sun­day while Ric­cia­rdo suf­fered an­other heart­break­ing tech­ni­cal fail­ure that pre­vented him from fin­ish­ing.

But ac­cord­ing to Dutch me­dia, Ver­stap­pen’s fa­ther Jos – a for­mer F1 star him­self – said his son was in­censed by what he thought was Ric­cia­rdo’s over-the-top cel­e­bra­tion af­ter get­ting the bet­ter of his team­mate in qual­i­fy­ing.

But Ric­cia­rdo, speak­ing ahead of the Brazil­ian Grand Prix on Mon­day morn­ing, said he didn’t mean to of­fend any­one and, while he knew Ver­stap­pen was up­set, didn’t be­lieve any of that anger was di­rected his way.

“I am not aware of that (Jos’s com­ments about Max). I was aware Max was p***ed af­ter quali, the press con­fer­ence and that you could tell he was not too pleased,” Ric­cia­rdo said.

“I don’t think it was re­ally di­rected at me. I think any­one miss­ing their first pole by such a small mar­gin is go­ing to be p***ed. Even if I missed that pole, if I was in his shoes, … I would still be up­set. That is the com­peti­tor in us.

“I didn’t see it as any­thing per­sonal, like I was rub­bing it in. I was su­per happy be­cause it has been a tough year. I was the un­der­dog in that fight for pole. So … I was pretty stoked.

“From his point of view, he was the favourite all week­end, top­ping all the ses­sions, and to get pipped by your team­mate by two hun­dredths (of a sec­ond), it is go­ing to p*** you off. That is just the com­peti­tor.”

Daniel Ric­cia­rdo

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