Daniel Ricciardo’s verdict on first-lap DNF with Alex Albon at F1 Japanese GP

“To be honest, at that point, I didn’t see Alex Albon," admits Daniel Ricciardo at Suzuka

The RB VCARB 01 of Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) RB is removed after he crashed out of the race. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd
The RB VCARB 01 of Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) RB is removed after he crashed…

Daniel Ricciardo admitted that he did not see Alex Albon before their crash at the F1 Japanese Grand Prix.

RB driver Ricciardo and Williams’ Albon both saw their races cut abruptly short on the first lap at Suzuka.

Albon’s attempt to overtake Ricciardo resulted in a collision which brought out the red flag and the Safety Car.

“Firstly, I felt it was very much under a racing incident scenario,” Ricciardo reacted to Sky.

“Simply, we - Yuki and myself - struggled on the medium.  I could see that he got away poorly.

“I got a bit of a jump, then went poorly.

“All the cars around us ate us up.

“In Turn 2, I felt that it started to settle. Getting traction out of Turn 2, I struggled a lot.

“I could see an Aston. I saw Stroll on the outside. I was trying to hold him off.

“I saw Alex’s onboard and he got so much better drive out of Turn 2. He then got onto my right side.

“To be honest, at that point, I didn’t see Alex.

“Everyone got bottled up at Turn 3.

“Not the way you want Sunday to go.

“In hindsight, we should have put on a soft. But coming into the race, we thought [mediums] were the best thing.

“That’s what happened.”

The unfortunate collision represented the latest downbeat moment in a very difficult season so far for Ricciardo.

He entered 2024 buoyantly hoping to earn next year’s Red Bull seat but, after four rounds, might even be battling to retain his current drive.

His best result of a drab campaign was 12th in Australia, his home race, which he entered under a cloud of scrutiny about his future in the sport.

Ricciardo (and Albon) are among seven drivers without a point after the fourth round of the 2024 F1 season.

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