Ricciardo ‘frustration box very full’ as DRS plays havoc

Daniel Ricciardo conceded to considerable frustration after the São Paulo sprint

Daniel Ricciardo conceded to considerable frustration after the São Paulo sprint. Image: Jamey Price/XPB

Daniel Ricciardo was left frustrated by the DRS around Interlagos he feels potentially cost him a points finish at the end of the São Paulo sprint.

Ricciardo had to settle for ninth after the 24 laps, a position shy of a points-paying finish, with Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and the Ferrari of Carlos Sainz within six-tenths of a second of the AlphaTauri driver as they crossed the line.

The problem for Ricciardo was that being in the pack, he initially became bogged down in a DRS train.

Once the field slowly began to spread, he was in shooting range of Sainz, but with fellow Australian Oscar Piastri in his McLaren directly behind him.

Ricciardo twice, but all too briefly, was running in eighth position after overtaking Sainz into Turn 1 with the aid of the DRS.

The problem with Interlagos is the second DRS, out of Turn 2 and on the run down to Turn 4, arrives immediately, leaving a driver open to an instant counter-attack from a rival he has just passed. In Ricciardo’s case, Sainz was able to respond on both occasions.

After the second opportunity, and on the same lap, Ricciardo was passed by an opportunistic Piastri into Turn 8.

The 34-year-old had to bide his time to gain revenge to reclaim ninth, and although on the heels of Sainz at the death, it was too late.

“On one hand, it was nice to be in a battle and certainly wasn’t a boring race, so part of my fun box is fulfilled, but my frustration box is also very full,” assessed Ricciardo.

“We obviously had pace for points but every time I passed Carlos, I then gave him the DRS for turn two, and beyond that.

“I passed him, I got it done, and then I’d just wave him by with the DRS open.

“I know it’s always been there but that detection seems frustrating. It encourages you not to pass in one but if they defend…

“I’ll see if strategically I can make better moves tomorrow (for the grand prix) but if I just sat behind him I was never going to pass.

“I had to make it work but I kind of hoped he would make a mistake in two and just not pass me, but he did.

“I tried, and then frustrated with myself into Turn 8, leaving the door open for Oscar.

“It was frustrating because I was in the middle, I was trying to attack Carlos but then trying to watch Oscar, and I just left too much of a gap for him, so I lost a few laps behind him.

“I got him back, and then in some free air with a couple of laps to go, we were able to get the pace back, and I caught Carlos, but over the line, we were one lap too short, and Lewis was there as well.

“So what could have been, but anyway, I don’t want to be that guy.”

Following an unhappy qualifying for the grand prix on Friday evening, in which Ricciardo endured “a bad lap” that means he starts the 71-lap race from 17th, he knows he has the pace that could see him fare well in the race, and at least scrape into the points.

“I think if there’s a lot of tyre deg and some guys are struggling, then yeah,” said Ricciardo when asked by Speedcafe if a top-1o finish was possible.

“Also, there are some things I’ve learned through the race which I’ll keep in my back pocket for tomorrow.

“There were definitely some things in the sprint which I figured out, and which have put me in a bit of a better place, so I’m optimistic.

“Overtaking was obviously a bit of an Achilles heel for us today, so I’ll watch the replay and try to figure out if I can plan my overtakes better, or try to find a bit more clear air and use our pace.”

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