Daniel Ricciardo says he was ‘helpless’ defending against his F1 rivals during a chaotic Portuguese Grand Prix, which saw him finish behind Renault teammate Esteban Ocon for just the second time this season.
The Australian F1 ace could muster only a ninth-placed finish, behind Ocon in eighth, after a disastrous weekend at the Portimao circuit which saw him spin off in qualifying and struggle for grip and pace.
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Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton won the race, the first at the Portuguese circuit, surpassing Michael Schumacher for the most victories in F1 history thanks to his 92nd chequered flag.
Ricciardo was a long way off the pace, despite fighting up to eighth place after staring 10th on the grid.
The affable Western Australian said maintaining proper tyre temperature had been a constant battle throughout the race.
“It was difficult. I don’t think (I) had the pace today,” he told Sky Sports.
“The soft (tyre), pitted quite early, the front left was graining pretty heavily and I was just struggling with that first stint.
“So was a bit helpless with that one and we jumped on the mediums, but then the medium I struggled just to actually keep the temperature in the tyre.
“I was always on the edge of temperature and trying to push a bit harder to get the temperature up and then you make a mistake because the grip’s not there.”
— FOX Sports Asia (@FOXSportsAsia) October 25, 2020
Just under an hour to go for the #PortugueseGP. Expecting one of Verstappen, Leclerc or Albon to be on the podium today. Ricciardo far behind on the starting grid, so no big hopes from the big guy.
— Manasi Pathak (@ThatUnitedLady) October 25, 2020
Despite the poor result, Ricciardo remains in fourth place in the driver’s standings with 80 points, ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc (75) and Racing Point’s Sergio Perez (74).
His Renault team remains fifth in the tight battle for third place in the constructors’ championship with 120 points - behind fourth-placed McLaren (124) and Racing Point (126).
Lewis Hamilton surpasses Michael Schumacher’s F1 win record
Lewis Hamilton has cemented his standing in the pantheon of all-time sporting greats by winning his 92nd Grand Prix in Portugal - and now promises to continue to rewrite Formula One's record books.
Only a fortnight after he drew level with Michael Schumacher on 91 victories in Germany, Hamilton etched his name into motor racing immortality with another virtuoso display at Portimao.
He was an 11-year-old boy from Stevenage dominating Britain's karting scene and winning the aptly named Champions of the Future series the last time a grand prix was staged in Portugal in 1996.
Little did Hamilton know then, that almost a quarter of a century later, he would stand on the brink of clinching seven world championships - his triumph here moving him 77 points clear in the standings with just 131 remaining - and breaking F1's all-time win record.
Lewis' father Anthony worked four jobs to pave the way for his first son to start out in motor racing. How fitting that he was trackside here for the first time this season to witness his son's most remarkable of feats.
Estranged for a number of years after Lewis sacked Anthony as his manager in 2010, they shared a long embrace after the race. Armed with his iPad, Hamilton Snr then captured the reaction of the 30,000 fans as his son held aloft the winner's trophy.
Looking to the future, Hamilton said: "I don't believe in the saying the sky is the limit.
"It depends how much we want it, how much we want to continue to raise the bar. Going by our history together, we don't sit back on our results. We keep working and keep elevating.
"I am 35-years-old and I still feel physically strong, but of course you wonder when it is going to tip over and when you are going to start losing performance. Judging by today, it is not yet."
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