Ricciardo: “You don’t need enemies” in F1 as he does not expect to talk with an unrepentant Stroll

Photo Credit: Red Bull Content Pool
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Behind his smiles and constant laughter, Daniel Ricciardo’s road to Miami has been paved with challenges, circling back to the last grand prix in China.

With a battle in the midfield of the sport, RB is currently sixth in the constructor’s championship, with seven points scored this season so far through Yuki Tsunoda.

Team principal Laurent Mekies has emphasised the significance of RB’s latest upgrade, hoping that it will improve their position and aid them in defending against the teams behind.

The recent Chinese Grand Prix was a poor weekend for the team, with both drivers DNFing due to incidents out of their control.

Unfolding with a rollercoaster of emotions for the Honey Badger, a collision with Lance Stroll ruined his race, understandably eliciting frustration throughout the team.

“In any DNF, it’s frustrating, but that one, of course, was even more frustrating.”

When asked if he would like to approach Stroll to talk about the incident, he noted, I would say no because I feel it’s not going to go anywhere.

“If he texted just saying, ‘yeah, you know, my bad’, whatever. I can accept an apology. I’m not that much of an asshole.

“But the fact that there’s not even that, I’m like, he clearly doesn’t think he did anything wrong. So, I guess there’s not much to say.”

In the aftermath of the incident, Ricciardo spoke about his approach to racing and sportsmanship with the other drivers. 

“If we sit next to each other tomorrow in driver’s briefing, and he wants to chat, like, I’m not going to ignore him or anything.

“When I was younger, yeah, maybe I was more stubborn. And, yeah, maybe I didn’t always apologise for maybe something that was my fault.

“Certainly, like, the last few years, you know, if I make a mistake or take someone out, or even if it’s like 50-50, I’ll still say, look, ‘yeah, maybe I could have done better’.”

While acknowledging the competitive nature of Formula 1, he emphasised the importance of accountability and respect among drivers. 

“We’re all rivals, but you don’t want to have a target, I guess… you don’t need enemies.”

Ricciardo spoke of his willingness to clear the air and move forward from incidents on track.

“In that position, I at least, if I didn’t see him in person, I would at least say, ‘hey man, I’m sorry, you know, I was looking somewhere else, or he braked really hard and caught me off guard’, whatever, just something.

“Obviously, we’re talking about it, but I have certainly moved on. I was frustrated then.”

Ricciardo will serve a 3-place grid penalty on Sunday as a result of overtaking Nico Hülkenberg behind the second Safety Car. The German had passed the Australian after Stroll had clouted the VCARB 01.

“I mean, with the three-place thing, three-place penalty. Because, yeah, that one was, like, I put my hand up. I was frustrated, and I should know the rules better. But they saw it pretty black and white. 

“Like, Nico did nothing wrong. And, yeah, for me, like, they were a little bit one-sided in that one. So, yeah, I paid the price for that.”

As he settles into his VCARB 01, Ricciardo claims he is growing more comfortable with each lap, whilst a chassis change helped a lot, claiming that he definitely felt a lot better in China”.

“Once it hit the track in China, I did feel like I had a bit more control in my hands.

“Let’s say, hopefully, that’s the real start of my season. It was just everything felt a bit more like normal.

“It just certainly did come to me a little bit more naturally, a bit easier. And the lap time was kind of more what I expected to see. So, certainly some positives.”

Speaking about this weekend’s race in Miami, Ricciardo spoke about the controversial sprint format that we will be seeing once again on track: “I’m actually really happy it’s a sprint weekend because it’s two races… I’m excited to be here.”

As Miami is the first US race of the season, he noted that Formula 1 racing in America is similar to the Superbowl in the NFL. 

“Build-up, it feels like it’s… not to this level… I’m not trying to say it’s Superbowl, but Superbowl week, it’s like a whole week of things.

“I love when you mix sports and the states. I think it’s always a lot of fun.

“There’s kind of hype, you know, from a Wednesday onwards. It’s not just the Sunday that they’re excited for the race. So, we had a really good crowd yesterday, a lot of young people. I feel like a lot of a new audience coming in. So, it’s good to grow the sport, for sure.”