Daniel Ricciardo says his contact with Kimi Raikkonen was normal in order to make an overtaking move in the Monaco Grand Prix.
Running sixth behind Raikkonen following a late pit stop for supersoft tyres, Ricciardo tapped the left rear of the Ferrari heading in to Mirabeau, sending Raikkonen wide and allowing the Red Bull through. Raikkonen complained over the radio that the move was “not very nice” but the stewards cleared Ricciardo after an investigation and the Australian says it was good for the sport he wasn’t penalised.
“It was a good race today and a good result for the team,” Ricciardo said. “I had some fun in the last few laps trying to get close to [Lewis] Hamilton and [Sebastian] Vettel to fight for a podium position. I knew we were in a position to attack in the end which made it exciting I think. The team worked well, Dany [Kvyat] let me past to have a crack at the podium and I gave back the place on the last lap when I couldn’t get past Hamilton.
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“I had a little incident with Kimi and it’s hard to get a clean move without a little contact in Monaco, I appreciate the stewards not taking any further action and I think the crowd and the fans enjoyed it. We’ll try and keep up the pace in the next few races to hopefully stay in the top five.”
With Kvyat eventually finishing fourth – one place ahead of Ricciardo – the Russian is delighted with his best ever F1 result.
“I am happy with today’s race, it was my best finish in Formula One and it was a great result for the team to finish fourth and fifth,” Kvyat said. “I had a good start and was able to control my race from then on.
“We took a gamble with strategy allowing Daniel past after the last safety car to try and fight for a podium position, as he was on the faster Supersoft tyres. But as he was unable to pass anyone, as agreed, he gave the place back on the last lap. We hope we can carry this momentum onto the next races.”
Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene believes Mercedes got too complacent about its advantage when pitting Lewis Hamilton in the Monaco Grand Prix.
Hamilton stopped under the safety car late in the race despite enjoying a substantial lead, a move which dropped him to third place behind Nico Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel. Despite being on fresh tyres, Hamilton – who believed his two rivals would also pit – was unable to pass the Ferrari and finished in third.
Asked if Ferrari considered pitting, Arrivabene replied: "No, actually it was the opposite and we were nervous at the beginning thinking about them to pit.
"We were looking for the window and our strategist said ‘we stay cool, they are doing a kind of show’. In any case, he said that if they come in then we would stay out. He was really straightforward on this and he was right. I know that we were lucky, I’m not telling you something different.
"In my opinion, they were a bit too much convinced about their power, and I recognise they are very intelligent and stronger than us, but this time we were smarter."
Mercedes’ head of motorsport Toto Wolff has apologised to Lewis Hamilton for the miscalculation that cost him victory at the Monaco Grand Prix.
An otherwise run-of-the-mill race on the streets of the principality came alive late on when Max Verstappen crashed his Toro Rosso.
It proved the defining moment as it led the safety car to be deployed for the first time in the race, first virtually and then a real car, and the bemusing decision for Hamilton to pit.
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It was a horribly misjudged choice, with the Brit overtaken by both team-mate Nico Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel as almost certain victory slipped out of his hands.
“What the hell happened there? That’s exactly the right question and the simple answer is we got the math, the calculation, wrong,” Mercedes chief Wolff said.
“We thought we had a gap which we didn’t have when the safety car came out and Lewis was behind the safety car. “The calculation was simply wrong, hence what happened.”
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Wolff refused to apportion the blame – “this was a team decision, we are all in this together” – and knows it looks a risky move from the outside.
“The decisions are being made jointly with a lot of information at the same time,” Wolff said of the decision taken just 50 metres before the pit entry.
“Within a fraction of seconds, you need to make a call. We tried to get as much input as possible from the engineers, from the management, from the driver and then take a decision. In that case, the algorithm was wrong.”
Hamilton cut an understandably gloomy figure after becoming just the second driver in the last 12 races to have started Monaco in pole and failed to win.
The Brit kept his counsel, though, and Wolff was impressed by the composed nature of his post-race interviews.
“We win and we lose together and that one goes on the team,” he said. “I apologised and that is probably the only thing you can do.
“He is a great leader, a great driver and I am sure that he will understand that sometimes we make errors and this was such a situation. I said ‘apologies for that one’. It was all good between us.”