F1 fans are questioning a controversial ruling that cruelled Daniel Ricciardo and Oscar Piastri in the Brazilian Grand Prix after the Aussie drivers were affected by a chaotic start. Ricciardo finished 13th and Piastri 14th after they were made to start a lap behind everyone else after a restart to Sunday's race.
Ricciardo narrowly escaped injury after his car was struck by a flying tyre in a crazy start to the race. The rear wing of Ricciardo's AlphaTauri was struck by the tyre following a collision between Alex Albon and Nico Hulkenberg just moments into the race in Interlagos.
'WE WILL SEE': Verstappen remarks fuel swirling Ricciardo rumours
Albon drew alongside Hulkenberg and the two cars made contact, sending Albon into Hulkenberg's Haas teammate Kevin Magnussen and then into the barrier. The left-rear trye of Albon's Williams car was ripped off in the incident, before flying narrowly over the top of Ricciardo's head and smashing into the back of his car.
Daniel Ricciardo's rear wing getting tagged by a flying tyre on the hectic race start in Sao Paulo 😲 pic.twitter.com/efJ15IFNI4
— Sky Sports F1 (@SkySportsF1) November 5, 2023
The tyre of a Formula 1 car weighs 11.5 kilograms - roughly 1.5 times the weight of a 10-pin bowling ball. Footage from Ricciardo's cockpit showed him managing to turn sharply to the left to avoid the flying rubber. "I tried to miss it, but the tyre was in the air and it clipped my rear wing," he told his team.
The Aussie driver was forced to limp back to the pits, but managed to continue his race after some repair work. Fellow Aussie Piastri was also caught up in the drama, as his McLaren was rear-ended by Magnussen's spinning vehicle during the incident.
Both Australians were able to return for a restart after a 25-minute red flag delay, but both were penalised a lap because they didn't complete a lap under the Safety Car and went straight into the pits before the red flag. Ricciardo was left fuming over the ruling, telling his team: “I could rant and explain how f***ing s*** these rules are, but we all know it. So sorry for you guys. You did a great job repairing the car.” He added: “Just because I’m an arsehole, thanks FIA”.
The ruling also caused mass confusion for fans, with many wondering why the Aussies weren't able to make up any ground for the rest of the race.
Their pit line starts should be as if they never fell a lap down.
— Ainesh Das (@ainesh_08) November 5, 2023
— A G (@AG39012919) November 5, 2023
— Kibitzer (@Kibitzer_r) November 5, 2023
Why were Ricciardo and Piastri starting one lap down ? Wasn’t the pit start enough to penalise them for coming back into their box ?
— Kaio | Cho (@cho_rmz) November 5, 2023
— Trekkin’ Along (@EarthTrekkin) November 5, 2023
— Rob (@Rhbox1) November 5, 2023
It was clear as day when the first lap crash happened that they'd need a red flag to tidy track up. But they delayed by 1 lap, meaning both Ricciardo and Piastri were a lap down and their race was ruined. Surely the FIA or race director can do better than this?
— dulpit27 (@dulpit27) November 5, 2023
Max Verstappen dominates once again
Meanwhile, Max Verstappen completed another emphatic victory, with Lando Norris finishing second for McLaren. Fernando Alonso of Aston Martin held off Verstappen's Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez by just 0.053 seconds for third.
Mercedes had a tough time on Sunday as well, with Lewis Hamilton eighth and George Russell forced to retire his car with an engine failure 12 laps from the end. Hamilton crossed the line an eye-watering 63 seconds behind.
When the race was restarted following the first-lap crash, Norris put the pressure on Verstappen. But the Dutch world champion responded brilliantly, leading from start to finish and eventually beating Norris by 8.2 seconds.
Verstappen now has 52 career race wins after clinching the world title in Qatar last month. Red Bull have also retained their constructors' championship title and have won 19 of the 20 races so far this season.
Alonso had a late battle with Perez in which he showed all the attacking fire and defensive skill of a double world champion. The Spaniard crossed the finish line just 0.053 seconds ahead of the Mexican after Perez passed him on the penultimate lap. Alonso, the oldest man in the race at 42, grabbed the place back on the last circuit.
Sign up to our newsletter and score the biggest sport stories of the week.