‘Wasted my time’: Ricciardo’s rage
Aussie F1 star Daniel Ricciardo cast a furious figure before the 2019 Singapore Grand Prix after he was shunted to the back of the grid.
Ricciardo backed up his Renault-best fourth-placed finish at the Italian Grand Prix with an eighth place in qualifying to put the Aussie in the mix for the points in Singapore.
But at 3am Singapore time on the day of the race, the news trickled down that Ricciardo was disqualified from qualifying, meaning he would start from the back of the grid.
In a moment from his second-fastest lap in qualifying, Ricciardo reportedly hit a kerb, with his power unit exceeding the regulation governing how much power can be emitted, revving past 120kW.
The stewards' statement rejected Renault's arguments for leniency in the early hours of the morning.
"The team's defence rested on two points. First, that the excess was very small and offered no measurable benefit. Second, that the excess occurred during the second fastest lap during Q1," the stewards' verdict read.
"The team explained to the stewards how they believe the excess occurred, however the stewards consider this information to be confidential to the team, and not relevant to this decision."
Renault accepted but weren't happy with the call with the advantage said to be one-microsecond. That is one millionth of a second.
Asked before today's race about it, Ricciardo wasn't happy, particularly in light of FIA showing more leniency during racing incidents in recent races.
"They ruined it for them (the Aussie fans in Singapore) to be honest, they've ruined it for me, it's terrible actually," Ricciardo said on Sky Sports.
"They've done the right things on track as far as the racing and let that go, handing out less penalties during the race which all drivers have been pretty in line with and they've done well on that front, but doing this yesterday it's going against everything they're trying to get from the sport. It wasn't even quantifiable the gain.
"Treat it like a track limit, if you go off the track, delete that lap but don't take the whole qualifying away. Qualifying is everything here, so I've basically flown halfway around the world for … they've wasted my time now."
"I've been stitched with that one but I hope moving forward they can not stitch anyone else because it's too harsh for what the penalty is," he added. "I don't know, fine us or something. Anyway, I'll stop, but we'll try to do something today but it's slim around here."
While there were three safety cars throughout the race and Ricciardo at one point made his way up to third before he pitted, the Aussie star finished 14th in the race with Ferrari claiming a 1-2 with Sebastian Vettel ending his 392-day drought.
"It was a long one today and it's a shame it ended up like that," Ricciardo said. "The start was fun with some good overtakes and getting into a decent position. I gained some confidence there and got into a rhythm.
"We were ticking every box and really made the most of everyone being bunched up."
But the Aussie's race was hampered by a collision with Alfa Romeo's Antonio Giovinazzi which left him with a rear puncture.
"It all came undone with the incident and the puncture meant our race was more or less over," he said. "We deserved a better outcome today."
If you need more proof that #F1 stewards are ruining the sport...— Daniel Sankey (@Daniel_Sankey) September 22, 2019
“Renault F1 Team acknowledges the decision from FIA Stewards to disqualify Daniel Ricciardo from Singapore qualifying after he benefitted from one-microsecond advantage due to MGU-K overrev on slowest lap of Q1.”
Ricciardo’s penalty & DQ from quali for “having too much power” encapsulates everything that is wrong with #F1 at the moment. What a joke.— Robert Capper (@Robcapper) September 22, 2019
Renault team principal Cyril Abiteboul said the team didn't contest the fact that there was a spike which was why they didn't appeal further.
He said it was interesting that the team had decided to take such a strong stance on such a negligible issue.
"I think the FIA has decided to take a very black and white approach to this, which frankly, I am on the receiving end so you expect me to say this, I regret because on one side since a few races, there has been a very interesting and reasonable response on a number of things with the black and white flag, which on my opinion is a good thing. I think we all like the common sense approach. It's a new stream of thought. And then on the other side, you've got that which is dictated by pure data analysis, so we all talk about AI and (being) automatic, but I don't think the sport should be governed in that way."
Sky Sports' Martin Brundle said it was like "comparing apples with pears".
"It's like being a quarter of a kilo underweight and then the next week being half a kilo underweight and saying 'but I'm only a quarter of a kilo more underweight that he was last week'. It just can't happen," he said. "There has to be a defined line.
"What really stands out is when you see the long long list that the FIA do to monitor all the cars, it's just brilliantly comprehensive. They've got pulled up, it was tiny, it is unfortunate but you can cut no slack on that sort of thing."