27 September 2015
F1 Japanese Grand Prix: Ricciardo not ready to play blame game in Massa incident
Daniel Ricciardo says he wants to see footage of the clash with Felipe Massa that effectively ended their Japanese Grand Prix before turn one...
Daniel Ricciardo says he wants to review footage of his start at the Japanese Grand Prix before determining who – if anyone – was at fault for the first lap scrape that ruined his afternoon and that of Felipe Massa.
The Australian made a better getaway than either of the drivers on the third row but was left with little option when it came to using his initial pace, diving into the only gap he could see – which just happened to be between Massa's Williams and the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen. While the Finn later admitted to having seen the Red Bull flying through, Massa drifted towards the #3 machine, with the inevitable contact fortunately being restricted to punctures on both cars and a damaged wing on the Williams.
“At the start, the best line for me was straight down the middle,” Ricciardo confirmed, “I saw the gap between Kimi and Felipe and I knew it was close, but I thought they would make a bit of room. I haven't seen the footage and don't want to put the blame on anyone, so we'll call it a racing incident for now.”
Having hoped for a battle with Williams and Ferrari over a place in the top five, Ricciardo was left to battle his way from the back of the field, eventually reaching 15th place by the chequered flag.
“It's a shame for the team,” he admitted, “I think we could have gained some positions off the line and then the race would have been completely different. But we had the puncture, and that damaged the floor, so we lost some downforce.
“I tried to do what I could, and we started to catch some cars towards the end, but, by then, I didn't have the grip to do anything.”
Massa, meanwhile, took even longer to limp his hobbled car back to the pits, and only narrowly avoided having to move over for the leaders as they came around to complete their second lap. Once behind on the count, however, the Brazilian was always fighting a losing battle and had to content himself with racing to unlap himself from the slower runners.
“It was a very tough day for me today, right from the first lap,” he sighed, “I had a bad start and then had contact with Ricciardo and it took me a long time to get back to the pits. From there, it was the end of the race barring any miracle.
“We have scored some decent points for the constructors' championship with Valtteri [Bottas]' fifth place, but I had the car to contribute a good haul of points as well. We have to regroup and get those points back at the next race.”
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