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Ricciardo rubbishes 2024 theory after 'isolated' Japanese GP crash

RB driver Daniel Ricciardo is looking at his lap one retirement from the Japanese Grand Prix in isolation, and doesn't believe that it part of a wider narrative surrounding his start to the current F1 season.

Ricciardo Japan Thurs
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To news overview © XPBimages

Daniel Ricciardo maintains that his lap one retirement from the Japanese Grand Prix is a “singular incident” and not a case of “when it rains, it pours,” amid a difficult start to his campaign.

The RB driver escaped sanction from the stewards after forcing himself and Alex Albon into an early finish to the race at Suzuka after drifting over and clipping the Williams at Turn 3 on the opening lap, sending both heavily into the barriers and triggering a red flag.

The stewards declared it to be a racing incident, although did write that had it not happened on the opening lap, or Lance Stroll's Aston Martin been present on the inside, they would have looked at the incident differently.

Ricciardo has had a poor start to the season, being out-performed by team-mate Yuki Tsunoda, and has no guarantees over his future, especially with Liam Lawson angling for a full-time seat.

However, the Australian was firm that this latest incident was not part of a pattern.

“I think today is a singular moment, I guess, in terms of: I don't look at today and think ‘oh man this year, like when it rains, it pours’ or whatever,” he told media including RacingNews365.

“I feel it was just one of those things. We know that in 24 races, it's probably likely that maybe I'm involved in another lap one incident. You know, it's just probability and that, so these things can happen.

“It obviously sucks when they do, but I don't look at it any more than today being a kind of singular incident.”

An underwhelming start

The eight-time grand prix winner underwhelming form has been further exacerbated by the strong form of his team-mate.

Yuki Tsunoda has taken seven points from back-to-back top-10 finishes, including an impressive seventh place at Ricciardo’s home grand prix, as well as becoming the first Japanese driver to score points at their home F1 race since Kamui Kobayashi in 2012.

Those two performances have vaulted RB to sixth place in the constructors’ standings, in a season in which points will be hard to come by given the dominance of the top five teams, who on a normal race weekend can expect to occupy all 10 points-scoring positions.

Ricciardo's preparation for the weekend was hampered after he sat out FP1 in favour of Japanese racer Ayumu Iwasa before the washout of FP2 limited him to just 60 minutes of practice before qualifying.

However, despite the lack of preparation, he narrowly missed out to Tsunoda in the fight to make it through to Q3, settling for 11th place on the grid – one place behind his team-mate, and felt something had been unlocked in qualifying.

“Of course, it would have been nice to get a race under our belt and try to show a little bit of something that I felt we were starting to show yesterday," he said.

“But we'll do that in China. I actually test here [Suzuka] on Tuesday. So, the laps that I missed today, I'll get back on Tuesday.”

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

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