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“Made my blood boil”: Ricciardo seething after Stroll smash

Matt Clayton
Monday, 22 April 2024

Daniel Ricciardo’s weekend of promise in China was cut short by Lance Stroll taking him out at a safety car restart, an incident that left the RB driver fuming at the penalised Aston Martin driver’s reaction.

Daniel Ricciardo was furious after a weekend of gains at the Chinese Grand Prix was undone by a clumsy mistake by Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll, who was penalised by the stewards for running into the back of Ricciardo’s RB entry at a safety car restart and causing so much damage that the Australian had to retire from the race.

With a new chassis for round five of the season and bullish after outqualifying teammate Yuki Tsunoda for the Sprint and Grand Prix proper, Ricciardo was in ninth place awaiting the lap 26 restart when Stroll’s teammate Fernando Alonso (sixth) braked heavily at the Turn 14 hairpin, the resultant concertina effect seeing Ricciardo tap Oscar Piastri’s McLaren ahead of him before his own car was lifted skywards by Stroll’s Aston Martin, who ran straight into the back of him at speed.


On the team radio, Stroll said: “this idiot just slammed on the brake”.

Significant damage to Ricciardo’s car saw him retire seven laps later, a chance for his first points of the season going begging, and his anger was palpable after the race.

“I could see it was bunching up into the hairpin, everyone’s backing up, but then with how hard he’s hit me and pretty much put half his car under mine … it wasn’t a small lack of judgement, he was miles off,” Ricciardo seethed.

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“For that, for me, there’s no excuse. What’s frustrating is that I watched his on-board [camera] and he’s not even looking at me, you see his helmet and he’s looking [right] at the apex of the corner. I don’t know why he’s not looking at the car in front … it looks like he wasn’t looking at me and I think it shows with how hard he hit me. He was clearly focused on something else.

“I’d slowly started to calm down and then I was told what Lance thinks of the incident, and apparently I'm an idiot. That made my blood boil because it's clear as day, and it's also behind a safety car.

“I'm doing my best not to say what I want to say. But f**k that guy – and I'm being nice still.”

Stroll, who eventually finished 15th, was given a 10-second time penalty for the incident, the stewards’ verdict stating the Canadian “ought to have anticipated the pace of the cars in front” and “should have prepared to brake accordingly”.

“The biggest thing is if they’re like ‘oh, we’ll give him a five-place [grid] penalty the next race', but he still is then blaming me, that’s a bigger problem,” said Ricciardo of Stroll.

“We've all made mistakes. I've done it, we all have. As long as he understands that he was the one that's ruined not only his race but mine, that's the biggest thing we can take away.”

The early exit ruined a weekend in Shanghai, where Ricciardo won in 2018, of genuine improvement for the Australian, who was an outside chance of a points finish for the first time this season and spent 14 laps inside the top 10 in comfortably his most convincing race of the year.

“It's even more disappointing for us as a team, in the garage everyone feels it’s another blow to the start of the season,” he said.

“But 48 hours from now, when this disappointment starts to fade, we’ll look back on a positive weekend.

Daniel's Chinese Grand Prix by the numbers

Sprint (19 laps): Started 14th, finished 11th
Race (56 laps): Started 12th, did not finish (accident damage, lap 33)
Fastest lap: 1min 40.994secs (16th), lap 16
Points this event: 0
Points this season: 0 (18th in world championship)