Daniel Ricciardo admitted his collision with Renault team-mate Esteban Ocon at the start of the Turkish Grand Prix came after his start was “too good”.
Both Renault drivers made a smart getaway from the right side of the grid, and as the field approached Turn 1, Ricciardo’s line through the corner was blocked by Racing Point’s Sergio Perez.
Ricciardo was sandwiched by Ocon on the outside and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton on the inside, and the Australian tapped his team-mate into a spin, which also forced Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas to rotate in avoiding action.
Speaking after the race, Ricciardo said he was surprised by his good start, but conceded it led to his incident with Ocon.
“The first 500 metres – it ended in disaster, but I would say the first 100, I was like, ‘Wow’,” the 31-year-old said.
“I had a really good launch, but then I had nowhere to go, because from memory, I think Max was trying to get into the better line, and then Perez was catching him and I was catching Perez, so I had to lift, so I lost my momentum there. So the start was too good.
“And then all I remember is Esteban on the outside, and I thought I was okay, but then I saw Lewis come on the inside… I don’t know if Lewis got into me, but it was inevitable I was going to hit Esteban, so I hit him, he spun, so we lost a couple of positions there.
“Whether it’s a racing incident or not, still it’s obviously the worst scenario if you and your team-mate collide. I apologised to the team, but then we obviously had to try and get on with it.”
Ricciardo avoided a penalty for the incident, but spun late in the race battling McLaren’s Lando Norris and came home in the final points-paying position, marking the race as a “fight for survival”.
“I remember Karel (Loos), my engineer, came on the radio and said, ‘Your pace is good, you’re one of the quickest on track.’ And about two laps later, my front tyre was dead,” Ricciardo said.
“And then the race just went downhill for us… just a real fight for survival at the end.
“There were some brief moments of some positive signs, but overall we didn’t really have a good one today.”
Frenchman Ocon believed the contact with his team-mate was part of a “domino effect” following Hamilton’s dive-bomb, but lamented missing out on a potential top-five finish of his own.
“I was up to third or fourth at the start and then got hit by Daniel,” the 24-year-old said.
“It was not (Ricciardo’s) fault because he got hit by Lewis as well, so it was a domino effect through there that sent me into a spin, I got hit again in turn nine.
“It feels like there was a lot more on the table today, potentially a top five or six. It was a great pace but we didn’t make the maximum today. It feels like there is a lot of bad luck going around so hopefully, we will turn it around.”
Ricciardo dropped to sixth in the drivers’ standings behind Racing Point’s Sergio Perez and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, who finished second and fourth respectively.
Renault were demoted to fifth in the constructors’ standings, with the French squad 18 points behind Racing Point and 13 down on McLaren with three races remaining.