Ricciardo misses out in tough Turkish GP
Monday 11 October, 2021
Photo: McLaren Media
Daniel Ricciardo’s strong run of results in the FIA Formula 1 World Championship has come to a halt after the Australian ended the Turkish Grand Prix in 13th.
In difficult conditions, Ricciardo had it all to do at the Istanbul Park Circuit after starting the final European race of the season from the back of the grid.
While Ricciardo didn’t qualify last on Saturday, he did fail to make it through Q1, prompting McLaren to make changes to his power unit, which sent him to P20 alongside Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz – whose engine swap also sent him to the back of the grid.
When the race got underway, both Ricciardo and Sainz made some early ground and Ricciardo looked to have passed him early, however it wasn’t long before Sainz regained his advantage.
That’s as close as the 33-year-old got all day to his Spaniard rival, who continued his race through the field, charging into the top 10.
Ricciardo gradually made his way through the pack, at one stage battling for the final points paying position with Lance Stroll, however having taken an earlier pitstop, his tyres reached their limit towards the closing stages, and he was passed by both Alfa Romeo cars on lap 55 and crossed the line in 13th.
Although Ricciardo ultimately missed out on a points paying finish for the first time since Spa, the Australian remained upbeat about the race.
“I think we had maybe four laps in the race where we had good pace but the rest was hard,” Ricciardo said.
“In the beginning we struggled a lot with front grip, so it was really hard to stay close to the others, and then we pitted for a new tyre.
“After that I didn’t have great rear grip to start and was struggling but after a while it came good. We had probably four good laps in that stint where I could feel like I could really push on the tyre, which was what I was looking for.
“Of the entire race, that was the positive. I got a bit excited because I thought maybe it will just keep getting better and better, but it lasted four laps and then the rear dropped away again, so the last 10 laps were a bit painful, just trying to hang on.
“Obviously, we were fighting for the points and that strategy was our best chance, but it was just really unpredictable. I know others went longer, with one going the entire race on one set, but at the end I saw my tyres and they were on their last legs.”
At the front of the field, Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas picked up his first win of the season after the polesitter led the 58-lap race for all but eight laps.
Finishing behind the Finn was Max Verstappen, who regained the championship lead off Lewis Hamilton after the Brit finished in fifth place behind Ferrari's Charles Leclerc - the only other driver to have led the Grand Prix aside from Bottas.
Verstappen's Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez rounded out the podium for the first time since the French Grand Prix in June thanks to some mighty defensive work midway through the race.
The championship now heads to the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas for the United States Grand Prix on 24 October.