'Broken record': Concern over Daniel Ricciardo's crucial F1 error

·Sports Reporter
·4-min read
Daniel Ricciardo's crucial pitstop error during last weekend's Portuguese GP is a mistake he hopes not to repeat. (Photo by Faith Moran/GC Images)
Daniel Ricciardo's crucial pitstop error during last weekend's Portuguese GP is a mistake he hopes not to repeat. (Photo by Faith Moran/GC Images)

Formula One is a sport where centimetres, if not millimetres, count for a lot - just ask Daniel Ricciardo.

In a sport where fractions of a second are all that separate the 20 fastest drivers in the world, precision is everything.

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That's why Ricciardo's crucial error entering his pit box during last weekend's Portuguese Grand Prix cost him so dearly.

The Australian star came in a little bit hot pitting from 5th place during Sunday's race, noticeably missing the marks painted as a guide and forcing his pit crew to readjust.

The error cost him valuable seconds and scuppered any hope he held of continuing his impressive recovery drive, having started a lowly 16th on the grid after a disastrous qualifying session the previous day.

Ricciardo's stop took 4.8 seconds as the McLaren crew struggled with his front right tyre - much slower than the fastest stop of the weekend, a 2.26 second change executed by Ferrari for Carlos Sainz.

Wasted time in the pits meant Ricciardo had to work harder to catch Alpha Tauri's Pierre Gasly, who was 2.5 seconds ahead in 10th place by the time he was back up to speed.

Sky Sports commentator David Croft pointed out the error during the live broadcast.

“I’ll tell you why that was slow, look how far beyond his mark Daniel Ricciardo was,” he said.

“That little T is where the wheels are drivers are expected to stop and any further and the crew has got to start reaching for where the wheels are going.”

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After the race, Ricciardo took ownership over the error over team radio.

“Okay, that was a good comeback guys, good comeback, thank you,” he said.

"I also know it’s a bit of a broken record but apologies for the stop. 

“Realise I came in quite long. Sorry for that.”

His engineer was quick to focus on this weekend's race at Barcelona.

“Don’t worry about that Daniel, everyone’s okay. No harm done, we’ll come back in a week’s time and smash some stuff up," came the reply.

McLaren boss keen for F1 'consistency' from Daniel Ricciardo

Speaking after the race, McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl said few early struggles weren't a massive surprise, given the shortened pre-season testing didn't give Ricciardo the amount of time behind the wheel he might have enjoyed otherwise.

He added that he didn't expect repeats of the pit stop error from the Australian star.

“I think we need to separate what happened today, Daniel overshot the position by quite a bit and that (affected the) front jack. So I think it was well done by the crew to recover that loss of two seconds," Seidl said.

“In general it is clear that we are not there yet, we want to be, because we want to have each single pit stop be the best ones.

“But we are working on that. We’re working on both the consistency and the speed. I definitely see that we’ve made steps forward there. But at the same time we still need to make further steps.”

McLaren's Zak Brown and team principal Andreas Seidl are confident Daniel Ricciardo can get to grips with the car. (Photo by Charles Coates/Getty Images)
McLaren's Zak Brown and team principal Andreas Seidl are confident Daniel Ricciardo can get to grips with the car. (Photo by Charles Coates/Getty Images)

With Ricciardo having been thoroughly outpointed by young British teammate Lando Norris over the first three races of the season, Seidl was confident the 31-year-old's best was ahead of him yet.

“He’s the one who’s probably disappointed the most because he knows he has it in him, he’s disappointed that he can’t extract the performance of our car yet,” Seidl said.

“But at the same time, he’s very experienced. We are also very experienced on the team side. It’s important to stay calm, work through this.

“I’m one hundred per cent sure that it is just a matter of a bit more time, and then we will see Daniel back to the performance that we all know from him.”

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