Renault DP World F1 Team’s Daniel Ricciardo finished just shy of the podium after a thrilling, incident-filled Pirelli Tuscan Grand Prix, which featured multiple safety cars and two red flag stoppages. Esteban Ocon retired from the race with a brake issue.
Daniel took the chequered flag just 2.3seconds away from third place after a pulsating 59-lap race in Italy, which ran just short of two and a half hours with a flurry of incidents meaning the race had to restart twice.
Both drivers had made strong and, importantly, clean starts with Daniel holding sixth and Esteban tenth at the end of the first lap. An initial Safety Car period led to a frantic restart with both drivers again staying free from trouble after a multi-car collision, which subsequently led to the first red flag.
Esteban’s car was identified to have a brake issue and was retired prior to the grid format restart with Daniel continuing his way up the order. A smart and well-executed 2.7second pit-stop for Mediums on lap 27 hoisted Daniel into third place as the race headed for an intriguing finale with a handful of cars sniffing for the final podium spot.
But a second Safety Car, which was upgraded to a red flag, meant the field was once again bunched together for the grid restart. Daniel, on Softs, was the quickest car to 200km/h, and that lightning start put him into second place.
Despite a heroic effort, the Australian couldn’t hold on, relinquishing second place a lap later and third with nine laps to go, crossing the line in fourth for the third time this season.
Daniel Ricciardo, started P8, finished P4:
“I’m really happy with today’s race and we’re so close to the podium again. It was a long day, a long race with the stoppages and incidents, but the main thing is that all the drivers are okay. It looked like we were on for third towards the end of the race, so it’s a shame to come so close. We can’t get any closer than that and we’ll keep pushing. Our starts were good, we got Valtteri [Bottas], but he and Alex [Albon] were just too quick to hold on. It hurts not to be on the podium after that, but fourth is still a big result today.”
Esteban Ocon, started P10, DNF:
“We had a brake overheating issue, which is why we had to retire today. Under the Safety Car, the rear brakes were on fire, which caused damage to the rear of the car and the brake line and we couldn’t put the car back together during the red flag. We were in a good position at the start, but I had to go around, Carlos [Sainz] and I lost a couple of positions there. I felt we had the pace for solid points. It looked a cool race to be in with lots going on. It’s getting pretty crazy this year, which is interesting and there are more opportunities for big results.”
Cyril Abiteboul, Team Principal:
“After a rollercoaster of emotions since Friday, it’s good to be disappointed with fourth! We have believed in that podium for a while and the team probably deserved it, but Alex Albon had better pace at the last restart with the Red Bull. It was a very eventful race, but I believe we did all the right things. Daniel drove a great race to finish where he did. The only regret is that we had only one car in this brilliant race as Esteban had to retire due to a brake overheating problem; the root cause of which will have to be investigated. The main takeaway from this weekend is that we should never take anything for granted. We came here expecting a very difficult weekend with track characteristics that usually do not suit our car, but we still managed to make it work. It’s another indication that we can extract more while the factories develop future improvements. It’s also been a fantastic first event at Mugello, a great track for the drivers and their machines!”