Championship leader Sebastian Vettel, who led from pole until the first set of tyre stops, dropped back to finish eighth after colliding with Max Verstappen, who was penalised 10 seconds for hitting the German.
Defending world champion Lewis Hamilton crossed the line fifth behind Verstappen but was promoted to fourth after the Dutchman’s penalty was applied.
More to follow…
— Formula 1 (@F1) April 15, 2018
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The Red Bull driver was found to have failed to stay above the mandatory minimum time set by the FIA in the final two mini sectors of the lap in the second practice session.
As a result, Ricciardo was handed a three-place grid penalty and two penalty points.
Stewards said the penalty was lessened as Ricciardo had slowed to a degree, and no ‘danger was created’.
“The stewards reviewed the data and video and found that Ricciardo did in fact fail to stay above the minimum time set by the FIA ECU in the penultimate and final mini marshalling sectors,” read the report.
— Red Bull Racing (@redbullracing) March 23, 2018
“The stewards also found that Ricciardo slowed by as much as 175km/h from his fast times at Turn 12 and was consistently and significantly slower in the final three turns, indicating that he was fully complying with the requirements of the International Sporting Code.
“However, he admitted an error in reading his dash and was slightly below the minimum time.”
Ricciardo, who did not finish in last year’s Melbourne race, cannot now start Sunday’s race any higher than sixth place.
No home driver has finished on the podium in the 33-year history of the Australian GP, although Ricciardo did climb the rostrum in second place in 2014 only to be disqualified for a fuel flow technicality on his Red Bull car.
Provided by AFP Sport
The Red Bull pilot – who aged 18 became the youngest driver to win a Formula One Grand Prix in 2016 in Spain – is gearing up for the curtain-raising race of the season, the Australian GP in Melbourne this weekend.
Verstappen – who added two further victories to his tally in last year’s championship to sweeten the frustrations of seven retirements – told The Guardian he never pauses to consider how strong he is feeling mentally.
“I never even think of the mental side of things because I never had any issues,” said Verstappen, who is now 20.
“If you are a bit weak in your head maybe you can train your mind but it will never be your strong point.
“Many people ask: ‘What do you need mentally to succeed in F1?’ I say: ‘What do you mean mentally?’ I just enjoy it and drive as fast I can.
“But so many people think your psychology is such a massive thing. For me, it’s not necessary.”
Verstappen, whose father Jos also competed in Formula One, had an incredible record in karting racing of 68 wins in his first 70 races. He says that early success shaped his enormous self-belief.
“You always have to believe in yourself and I had that from karting,” said Verstappen.
“I was never one of those kids saying: ‘Is it all going to be all right?’ If you start doubting yourself like that, thinking: ‘Am I good enough?’ – maybe there is a reason you’re thinking that.”
Verstappen, who finished sixth in last year’s championship with 168 points, says he is pleased with what he has seen of this year’s car and even dares to hope it is better than the one which saw him finish last season with two victories in the last six races.
“I hope it will be better than that,” said Verstappen.
“I’m very happy with the progress but we have to wait until Melbourne to see where we are.”
As for whether he will one day be crowned world champion, he is more circumspect.
“I always think if I have the right car, the fastest car, then I can become world champion,” said Verstappen.
“But you need to have that car and so far I haven’t had the fastest package.”
Provided by AFP Sport