Exhaust issue blamed for Ricciardo retirement
A broken exhaust forced Daniel Ricciardo out of an Austrian Grand Prix that briefly offered a podium chance for the Red Bull driver.
The Australian ran as high as second after climbing from seventh on the grid in the early stages of the race before his day began to unravel.
Ricciardo battled blistering tyres that required him to pit twice while team-mate Max Verstappen was able to preserve his rubber to score a deserved win, after emerging in the lead on lap 25 of 71.
After dropping to fifth following his second stop, the Monaco Grand Prix winner pulled off the circuit after suffering an exhaust failure on lap 54.
The retirement on his birthday sealed an ultimately challenging weekend highlighted by a qualifying dispute with Verstappen.
“It was a broken exhaust apparently. I could feel something was up down the back straight,” said Ricciardo when asked what caused his retirement.
“I mentioned it (to the team) and I got to do a procedure and then the team told me to stop.
“It was just one of those days.
“This is the sport I signed up for as a kid if I could live my youth again I’d probably change it because there are so many variables which can happen, but it comes in swings and roundabouts.
“I’m sure at one point it will turn my way.
“It is out of your control. It is frustrating, but it is what it is.
“For Red Bull, the team, Mr (Dietrich) Mateschitz, the ‘Orange Army’, it’s the perfect day, so I don’t want to stand here and talk about my sob story and how my birthday didn’t become a great birthday. It happens.
“I would love to be the one up there, I’m not going to lie, but congratulations to Max and congratulations to the team.
“I hope they enjoy it. We’ve won Monaco and we’ve won their home one so I think they’ve had a good 2018 so far.”
Ricciardo admitted he was surprised by his lack of pace on the soft tyres after his first stop compared to his rivals, in particular the Ferraris of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel, which finished second and third.
“On the one side I’m disappointed with how the day went because at one stage it was looking like a one-two, but to be honest as soon as we put the softs on I didn’t feel it gave me much,” he added.
“We struggled quite a lot in the first few laps and even though I was able to get Kimi he made mistake in Turn 3 and allowed me to attack him.
“As soon as I got in front I wasn’t getting away and then I saw the tyre was getting torn apart.
“It was strange I don’t know if it was debris or something. The fact Kimi set the best lap on the last lap with the same tyre life and I had to pit 30 laps earlier and Lewis did too, I’m not convinced.”
After a frustrating weekend Ricciardo joked that it may be time to switch sports when quizzed about his retirement in the race.
“Is it too late to start my MMA career? I’m out of contract so maybe I swap sports altogether,” he smiled.
Ricciardo is fourth in the championship standings with a three point margin over Verstappen ahead of next weekend’s British Grand Prix.