Australian GP: Daniel Ricciardo slapped with grid penalty

24 March, 2018, 16:38 | Author: Ellis Copeland
  • Max Verstappen

The famous smile appears to have been wiped off Daniel Ricciardo's face after the Red Bull star had been sensationally hit with a three-place grid penalty ahead of Sunday's Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.

Ricciardo had been reported to the race stewards for going too fast under the red flag conditions midway through FP2.

The Australian driver explained to FIA that an error might have occurred in reading his car's dashboard. "Expect a fired up Honey Badger this weekend!" "They could give me a reprimand, give me a fine for all I care, but don't rob me of a front-row start".

Verstappen's ascension and potential, and Ricciardo's pending free agency, has given rise to talk of a move away from Red Bull, the company that provided a financial pathway to F1 in order to make his world championship dream a reality.

"You can only do so many burn-outs in a Hilux".

"I don't really know with the balance what I could have done, there's much, much more [pace] there so I'll see now but yeah, for sure it's frustrating a little bit".

Ricciardo was only seventh quickest in Practice Two but was on course to set a time good enough for the top five before the same red flag intervened - while he was sixth in FP3.

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Was that question answered Friday at Albert Park?

Following video and data evidence and a conversation with the driver, the stewards decreed that the Red Bull driver slowed significantly in the final turns.

Wherever Ricciardo lands - and there are compelling arguments for him to return to Melbourne in 12 months' time in any one of the sport's three standout teams - it will be much harder to keep a secret this time. Unfortunately he still completed the lap too fast after misreading his dash display. Last year, he spun out and was forced to retire.

"Breach of this regulation is seen to be an extremely serious matter", race stewards said in a statement.

Ricciardo will also receive two penalty points against his F1 Superlicence, which may come into play if he is penalised later during the 2018 season.

Saturday's Formula 1 action is due to start at 2pm, with a 60-minute third practice session.

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