Ricciardo: Massa clash a ‘racing incident’

Daniel Ricciardo shortly after the start line clash

Daniel Ricciardo shortly after the startline clash

Daniel Ricciardo described the startline clash with Felipe Massa that ruined his Japanese Grand Prix hopes as a ‘racing incident’.

The Red Bull driver was forced into damage limitation mode on the opening lap after suffering a left rear puncture as a result of contact with Massa’s Williams at the start.

A strong start from seventh on the grid saw the Australian draw alongside Massa before the Williams driver moved over on the Red Bull causing the pair to touch wheels.

The clash, which also saw Massa pick up a right front puncture, forced both drivers to pit their wounded cars on the opening lap, dashing any hopes of a top 10 finish.

“At the start, the best line for me was straight down the middle.” said Ricciardo.

“I saw the gap between Kimi and Felipe and I knew it was close, but I thought they would make a bit of room.

“I haven’t seen the footage and don’t want to put the blame on anyone so we’ll call it a racing incident for now.”

Ricciardo, who suffered a damaged floor in the incident, finished in 15th, while Massa came home in 17th position.

“It’s a shame for the team, I think we could have gained some positions off the line and then the race would have been completely different,” added Ricciardo.

“But we had the puncture, and that damaged the floor so we lost some downforce.

“I tried to do what I could, we started to catch some cars towards the end but by then I didn’t have the grip to do anything.

“On a positive note, even with the damaged floor, the car was handling well.”

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