Daniel Ricciardo has been left to lament missing out on a possible top five finish after an early pit stop under Safety Car ruined his Monaco Grand Prix.
The West Australian could only claim ninth after getting stuck behind Kimi Raikkonen and Lando Norris for over 30 laps around the Principality, as Raikkonen stretched his first stint to 46 laps despite starting on soft tyres.
Ricciardo had qualified seventh fastest after ‘brave’ set-up changes to his Renault and started from sixth, alongside Kevin Magnussen, as a result of a grid penalty for Pierre Gasly.
He managed to hang on the outside of Magnussen through Sainte Devote and head the Haas up the hill for the first time.
When debris from Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari drew a Safety Car on Lap 11, the top six pitted.
Ricciardo’s slow early pace meant that the top four remained at the front, albeit in a different order, but the #3 Renault and the #20 Haas of Magnussen resumed in 13th and 14th, wearing medium tyres after starting on the soft compound.
They would be stuck behind Raikkonen’s Alfa Romeo until the end of Lap 46, while Norris (McLaren) got off his medium compound tyres a lap later.
Meanwhile, Gasly (Red Bull Racing), Carlos Sainz (McLaren), both Toro Rossos of Daniil Kvyat and Alexander Albon, and Romain Grosjean in the other Haas, could take their respective pit stops without any threat whatsoever from Ricciardo or Magnussen.
When asked on Sky Sports F1 if the decision to pit under the sole Safety Car of the race was bad judgement or bad luck, a clearly frustrated Ricciardo responded, “We have to figure it out.
“I got called in Rascasse, so as soon as they said ‘box’, I got no time to obviously react or react differently, but obviously it wasn’t the right call.
“Look, I’ll settle and we’ll sort it out as a team, what we could have done better, but for now have to have a look and see what they saw at the time and obviously why they called us in, if it was to cover Kevin or whatever, but obviously we both came in and just handed everyone else the positions.
“It’s a shame because we had a great start, Kevin obviously was our target, and we had a good Turn 1 and got into fifth and that was really our place.
“It’s a shame (because) we could have had a real big result today.”
It appeared that Ricciardo would finish 10th but a five-second penalty issued to Grosjean for cutting the pit exit line did cost the Frenchman a position when the time was added at the end.
The two points are just Ricciardo’s second collect of the campaign following the six he got for finishing seventh in Shanghai, in and he now sits 13th in the drivers’ championship.
Kvyat and Albon are a point either side of the Australian.