The Brazilian Grand Prix proved to be a rollercoaster for AlphaTauri’s Daniel Ricciardo, starting with an unavoidable collision that caused significant damage to his car. The early incident, a result of Alex Albon making contact with Kevin Magnussen and sending a tire flying into Ricciardo’s vehicle, set a challenging tone for the race.
Oscar Piastri was not spared from the chaos as he too was embroiled in the aftermath. Just as retirement seemed imminent for the pair, a glimmer of hope emerged with the waving of the red flag, which gave a pause in the race that could allow teams to repair damages.
However, the FIA regulations stipulated that because their repairs were conducted in the garages during the red flag period—and because they pitted right before the red flag—they had to restart from the pitlane, a lap behind the rest of the competitors.
Ricciardo commented to the media:
“It’s incredibly frustrating when your race is compromised by circumstances beyond your control. Alex’s tire hitting my car was just bad luck, and we did everything we could to get back in the race. The team did a fantastic job repairing the car, and we were ready to fight again. But the rule that forced us to restart from the pitlane really hurt our chances. It’s disappointing, but that’s racing.”
“Was obviously frustrating, you look back at those things, and it’s nice it didn’t hit me, so then I was like, ‘hopefully, there’s a red flag, and we can get back in the race’.
“So we got to the pits, we heard there was red, so the team did a great job fixing the car. We’re ready to go, and then they tell me Oscar and I are starting a lap down.
“And yeah, all the excitement you have to race again just gets completely zapped out of you. There was not a green flag racing lap completed.
“I don’t know how we started the race a lap down, so that’s really frustrating. Something a bit lame in the rules. I think my argument is that if 15 cars had our issue today, are they going to start 15 cars in the pitlane a lap down and put five cars on the grid? No.
“I think they can use common sense and be a bit more open-minded. Frustrating that they ruined our day from the beginning.”
- Tyre Trouble: Daniel Ricciardo’s race at the Brazilian GP was first jeopardized by a tire from Alex Albon’s car, which caused unavoidable damage to his AlphaTauri AT04.
- Red Flag Respite: A red flag presented a silver lining as both Ricciardo’s and Piastri’s cars were repaired in time to rejoin the race, thanks to their team’s swift action.
- Controversial Rule: The FIA’s enforcement of a rule requiring cars repaired in garages under a red flag to restart from the pitlane put Ricciardo and Piastri an entire lap down, a decision that Ricciardo criticized for ruining their chances through no fault of their own.