Daniel Ricciardo has affirmed that his penalty at the Hungarian Grand Prix last weekend was “fair” as he finished a disappointing P15.
The Australian started ninth on the grid, while team-mate Lando Norris qualified fourth, but he lost ground to Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez off the start as they looked to recover from a horrible day for Red Bull in qualifying.
The 33-year-old recovered back into the top 10 though, and found himself battling the Alpine pair of Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon.
The Spaniard had just pitted onto Hards while Ricciardo was on Mediums after starting the race on the Softs.
The McLaren driver was following Alonso through Turn One when Ocon came out of the pits, and the Alpines tripped over each other through Turn Two, allowing Ricciardo to swoop past.
After the eight-time race winner’s stop onto Hards though, his pace disappeared, and he ended up outside the top 10.
Before that though, he was rather enjoying his afternoon.
“Those races are not fun, of course, when you go backwards,” Ricciardo told Motorsport.com.
“I think there was a moment there where I made the double move on the Alpines, and I was like maybe we’ve got something going here? But it was still early in the race.
“That was a high, that gave me a little bit of a buzz today.
“It was some of the only [radio] chatter I had today, because unfortunately, we were going backwards most of time, and yeah, it got me geed up for a little bit.
“I could kind of see it transpiring, I knew Alonso was struggling a bit on the hard and I saw Ocon come out.
“And I was, alright, they might battle a bit here and I might be able to collect one of them, but then I saw them drift, drift, drift.
“And I was maybe I can get both, and I did so. Yeah, two-for-one is not common, so I thought we would get a little bit of screen time.”
Ricciardo found himself battling Stroll, who was on fresh Softs, and he ended up hitting the Aston Martin at Turn Two as the Canadian tried to pass him.
The Aussie picked up a five-second penalty, sending him down to P15 at the end of what turned into a horrible day.
“To be honest, as soon as I heard he was on a soft out of the pits, I was ‘oh no, this is going to be tough’,” conceded Ricciardo.
“And I even saw his traction out of Turn One, and I was I honestly didn’t even want to kind of go into Turn Two with him, because I knew that he would just cruise around the outside.
“And I felt like I’d even kind of braked early, because I knew if I went in hard, I was going to do exactly what I did.
“I felt like I gave him margin and it still wasn’t enough, so soon as I turned, I felt it lock and I knew exactly what was going to happen.
“So obviously no issue with a penalty there, that was completely fair.”
The former Red Bull driver sportingly found Stroll after the race to apologise for the incident, and the 23-year-old had no issue accepting.
“I saw him straight away, he knew straight away, he goes, ‘yeah, I know, the hard was a mess.’ And we had a bit of a laugh,” added Ricciardo.
“But obviously it doesn’t change what happened, it just wasn’t the tyre unfortunately, it just never really worked.
“And you might get a bit of temp in it, and then we obviously had blue flags, and you lose it, and so just simply never got going.
“The medium was okay at times, but just tricky, and the soft at the beginning was nowhere.
At the end of a difficult first half of the season, Ricciardo is “happy to have a break, yeah, not the six months I wanted.”
Ricciardo goes into the summer break 12th in the Drivers’ Standings on 19 points following a tough opening 13 rounds of 2022.