RESULTS: Mexican Grand Prix – Race results
Daniel Ricciardo says he stands by his firm criticism of Sebastian Vettel's driving standards in the controversial closing stages of the Mexican Grand Prix after stewards sided with Red Bull Racing following a post-race protest.
In a bad tempered final few laps triggered by Max Verstappen running off at turn one and failing to cede his third position to an incensed Vettel, it was Ricciardo's attempt to pass his former team-mate that would ultimately land the Ferrari driver in hot water.
With Vettel seemingly distracted, Ricciardo attempted to pass into the inside of turn three, but would be squeezed to edge of the track. After light contact into the left-hander, Vettel prevailed to keep fourth, which would become third when Verstappen was penalised for his aforementioned misdemeanour.
However, Ricciardo was furious with Vettel's defence tactic, which he felt involved him changing his line under braking. A contentious topic throughout the 2016 season after Verstappen was accused by several drivers – including Vettel - of a similarly 'dangerous' action in Hungary, Belgium and Japan, it was an offence that was only officially outlawed from last week's Austin race.
POLL: Should Sebastian Vettel be punished for his foul mouthed outbursts?
With Red Bull lodging a protest, stewards sided with the British team and punished Vettel with a 10secs penalty. Becoming the first driver to fall foul of a regulation he had ironically lobbied hard for, Vettel drops from third to fifth, with Ricciardo rising to third and Verstappen back up to fourth.
Indeed, while Ricciardo admits he was scathing in his post-race analysis of Vettel, in which he said he 'didn't deserve to be on the podium', he was satisfied stewards agreed with the need to set precedent.
“When you're in the moment that sometimes what you think just happened maybe doesn't always look like that from the outside, but I was quite convinced that I committed to the move and he closed me on braking.
“So we go to the media straight away and I spoke my mind because I thought that's what happened, but when I got back here I still watched a replay because I wanted to make sure what I believed happened had happened. It was exactly as I thought it happened on the on-board, so with that … for starters, if you are going to move that late, you are already putting yourself in a bad position
“When a driver moves under braking he is trying to repair a mistake he has made, which was not defending more before braking. So he left the door open, that allowed me to have a go and then it looked like he realised I was going to make the position so then he started to close and that was that.
“Obviously the rule is written since Austin and there has obviously been cases of it earlier, but now it's on paper and that's all happened. Don't get me wrong, I love the fight, I love racing and I don't like the penalties and all that, but this moving under braking, all of us drivers agreed that it's not real racing and not correct.”
Indeed, Ricciardo goes on to add that he would accept it if Vettel had moved before he started braking. However, telemetry showed Vettel only changed line after he had started applying brakes.
“If he moved before braking there should be no penalty, but once you are then in the braking zone and you keep closing, that's why you see on the on-board and all the data that that's when I start to lock. I went into him but it was because of the moving that I had to try to avoid it.”
Speaking before the stewards' hearing, Vettel himself admitted that he would need to review the incident again after Ricciardo suggested he could potentially be in the wrong.
POINTS: The F1 World Championship standings after the Mexican GP
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