Daniel Ricciardo has defended his last-lap French Grand Prix overtakes despite suffering post-race penalties which dropped him out of the points places by reasoning he would rather risk the penalty then not fight for positions.

The Renault driver finished his team’s home race in seventh place following last-lap moves on Lando Norris and Kimi Raikkonen. But following a post-race FIA stewards’ investigation, the Australian driver was judged made both overtakes while off the track which duly landed him with two separate five-second time penalties.

The combined 10-second penalty means Ricciardo’s final position drops from seventh to 11th place and out of the points.

While frustrated with the decision from the FIA stewards Ricciardo has defended his actions and is eager to move on from the incidents.

“It’s clearly disappointing to drop outside the points with a post-race penalty, especially at the team’s home race,” Ricciardo said. “The last lap was a lot of fun, we had a fight and I enjoyed it. I’d rather give it a go than not try at all, and I’m sure the French fans and the people at home liked watching.

“It’s a shame to be penalised for it, but we’ll aim to move on from that as quickly as possible.

“In terms of the race, I feel like I missed out a little bit at the start, especially after a really good launch off the line. I braked too early for turn one and that was too conservative looking back.

“That made the rest of the race hard work, but we kept it clean and smooth from there. There are still a lot of positives to take and we’ll be looking for an immediate response in Austria.”

Renault team principal Cyril Abiteboul shares Ricciardo’s frustration at the decision and FIA ruling on each incident but points to the overall situation showing where the French manufacturer must improve its package in the future.

“The 10-second penalty imposed to Daniel means that he dropped out of the points. It is disappointing as it was probably the most thrilling point of an otherwise uneventful race, with four great drivers fighting safely and fiercely in the last corners,” Abiteboul said.

“With all the challenges to overtake cars on-track it is another demonstration that qualifying is the defining part of the weekend and our focus point for improvement.”

Ricciardo also picked up three penalty points on his racing licence for the incidents, lifting his overall total to five across a 12-month period.

 

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