Daniel Ricciardo has brushed off an accusation made by Carlos Sainz, following qualifying on Saturday at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
In the final qualifying session of the 2023 season, Sainz was embarrassingly eliminated in Q1 after only managing to set the 16th fastest time.
He blamed his poor final lap on Pierre Gasly blocking him, something the Ferrari driver stressed the Frenchman did on purpose.
Sainz actually took aim at several drivers after qualifying and insisted that they deliberately tried blocking others at the Yas Marina Circuit, something Ricciardo quashed.
In fact, the driver who has been moaned at the most this weekend for impeding is Sainz, who is often seen going slowly on the racing line in free practice particularly.
Oscar Piastri was one of the drivers to have been impeded by the 29-year-old earlier in the weekend, something which left him bitterly frustrated.
“It’s Sainz again as always, isn’t it?” Piastri asked over the McLaren radio in frustration.
Ricciardo was asked about Sainz’s accusations after qualifying and joked that it’s actually the Ferrari driver who is “always the culprit”; however, the AlphaTauri driver was keen to note that Sainz “hasn’t upset” him so far this weekend.
“I don’t know why he does it, but he’s always the culprit. He hasn’t upset me this weekend, but I don’t know if he’s just messing with us,” Ricciardo told media, including RacingNews365.com.
“He definitely seems to be the one that everyone likes to talk about in terms of impeding or whatever.”
Whilst Sainz starts 16th, Ricciardo will start in 15th, meaning the pair will be together on the eighth row of the grid.
Ricciardo is hoping that himself and Sainz could work together and that the Spaniard won’t “press his left foot too much”.
“I’m going to tell him to maybe not press his left foot too much to upset some people and help me out!” Ricciardo joked.
Sainz needs a big performance on Sunday to get himself into the points, with Ferrari entering the season finale four points behind Mercedes in the fight for second in the Constructors’ Championship.
Overtaking is possible at the Yas Marina Circuit but Sainz will need to be extremely careful in the opening laps to avoid picking up any damage.