Ricciardo unpunished after second Renault retirement
Daniel Ricciardo has escaped penalty following his late retirement from the Formula 1 Bahrain Grand Prix.
The Australian ground to a halt when his car appeared to switch off in the closing stages, and caught the eye of the stewards in the process.
Ricciardo’s failure to finish, for the second time in as many races for Renault, came just seconds after team-mate Nico Hulkenberg had been forced out with an apparent engine failure.
However, it was an electrical issue that afflicted Ricciardo, the team instructing him to stop the car and jump clear.
Following those instructions, he was then referred to the stewards for not replacing the car’s steering wheel, breaching Article 22.5 of the sporting regulations.
“I had the light on, so I couldn’t touch the car,” Ricciardo explained prior to the steward’s hearing.
“I saw the flashing red light or something so I wasn’t taking any risks. Don’t really feel like getting electrocuted today.”
In the hearing, the stewards sided with the 29-year-old, who went unpunished citing Ricciardo followed instructions from the team which were in line with standard safety procedures in such circumstances.
By that stage of the race, Ricciardo was already struggling.
One of the few in the field to roll the dice on a one-stop strategy, it was a gamble that failed to pay dividends as even Hulkenberg had caught and passed him on track, despite starting seven places behind him on the grid.
“We kind of got past that point in the first stint where it was too late to come back and it was pretty much at that point I knew it wasn’t the best thing to do,” said Ricciardo.
“If we just did the two stop we would have come out behind everyone else, so we just had to commit to it
“In hindsight, even during the race, I think we knew it wasn’t the best thing but we tried it, that was the idea, but I guess a two-stop would have been much more preferred.”
“So we’ll have a look, see if we could have salvaged something,” he added.
“It’s always a bit easier as well at the end. Absolutely if we’re in that kind of limbo again we’ll obviously try to make the right decision out of the two.”
Ricciardo currently sits 18th in the drivers’ championship standings, without a point to his name in 2019.
China hosts the next round of the world championship on April 12-14, an event Ricciardo won for Red Bull last year.