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Daniel Ricciardo hits out at Australian Grand Prix grid penalty

25 March 2018

Race stewards claim he breached safety regulations by driving too slowly and Ricciardo was furious at the decision, blasting it as "s***house".

Ricciardo has said that the mistake was caused simply by him reading his dashboard incorrectly through the final two micro-sectors; the FIA says: "The Stewards thoroughly reviewed the breach and found that the driver slowed significantly, such that no danger was created, and that the driver proceeded with due care". Before the cars had turned a wheel at Albert Park last week, Ricciardo's voice was nearly shot, a result of countless interviews answering "5000 questions" about his future, and he was relieved to strap himself into Red Bull's RB14 machine for practice on Friday.

"This is a year which our prep's been well and good", he said. They could have given me a reprimand, they could have given something else.

"Hopefully we can catch up", insisted Ricciardo. Champion Lewis Hamilton grabbed a record seventh pole at the Australian race for Mercedes, surpassing Ayrton Senna's six and leaving a gap of more than six-tenths of a second to Ferrari's second-placed Kimi Raikkonen.

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If Ricciardo is to buck that trend, he'll likely need to repel the Ferrari of former teammate Vettel, keep pace with the all-conquering Mercedes of four-time world champion Lewis Hamilton, and combat Dutch teammate Max Verstappen, the sport's most exciting youngster at age 20 and the first F1 teammate who has matched - and beaten - Ricciardo on pace in equal equipment.

"The session itself didn't go too badly, it started off pretty well and even in Q2 on the Supersofts we were looking good", said Ricciardo. "Yes, for sure it was frustrating a little bit".

"It is the most exciting driver pairing in F1", Red Bull team principal Christian Horner told The Guardian.

"I always think if I have the right auto, the fastest vehicle, then I can become world champion", said Verstappen.

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No Australian has ever made their home podium in 33 races between Adelaide and Albert Park. "He's had some great wins for us and it would be great to see him add to that". "It's still eating him up and he's still pretty revved up about it".

In 2014, he finished second behind Mercedes victor Nico Rosberg but was later disqualified due to a technical infringement that was no fault of his own.

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 vehicle 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.

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Daniel Ricciardo hits out at Australian Grand Prix grid penalty