Daniel Ricciardo lifts lid on 'stressful' Dutch GP drama

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Pictured here, Daniel Ricciardo wears a mask before the Dutch Grand Prix.
Dan Ricciardo says a dramatic pre-race moment left him "stressed" at the Dutch GP. Pic: AAP

Daniel Ricciardo has opened up on a dramatic pre-race moment at the Dutch Grand Prix that left him "stressing" seconds before the race got underway.

Max Verstappen has made light of the burden of expectation to become the first Dutch driver to win his home grand prix, in a race where Ricciardo fell just short of a points finish.

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The Aussie driver suffered a number of mishaps and also questioned his McLaren team's strategy after being ordered to let teammate Lando Norris pass him late in the race.

Ricciardo's issues started long before that moment, however, with the Aussie revealing just how close he came to suffering a catastrophic start.

Sky Sports commentators noticed smoke coming out from Ricciardo's tyres during a warm-up lap where his wheels appeared to be spinning too fast.

The Aussie was then seen waving frantically to his team seconds before the race as he waited on the grid for the lights to go green.

Ricciardo revealed afterwards that he couldn't get his car into first gear and only managed to salvage the situation seconds before the race started.

“There were some stressful moments on the start,” Ricciardo explained to Motorsport.com.

“We have two clutch paddles, and you have your preferred one, and obviously if you‘re right-handed, you probably choose the right hand to do a start. And that one chose not to work.

“So I was on the grid stressing, because it wasn‘t engaging. So I thought I had a gearbox problem. I was waving my hands thinking I’d have to get pulled off the grid. And then I tried the left one, pulled first and it worked.

“So I was trying to figure out how to do a start with my left hand. I was prepared for a pretty poor start.”

Ricciardo's woes continued into the race where his car started to smoke and drip oil onto the track after passing Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi.

The 32-year-old was also lapped by several of the frontrunners in a race where the Aussie struggled throughout for pace.

Pictured here, Daniel Ricciardo's McLaren turns a corner at the Dutch GP.
Daniel Ricciardo finished 11th after starting the Dutch GP in 10th. Pic: Getty

Ricciardo also criticised the strategy employed by McLaren to let Norris - on fresher and faster tyres - pass his teammate in a bid to maximise the team's points.

Norris was unable to put any pressure on Esteban Ocon after catching him, and soon fell prey to the resurgent Sergio Perez, who was mounting his own impressive recovery in the Red Bull.

Daniel Ricciardo questions team strategy

Speaking to media after the race, Ricciardo said difficulties with the setup had him of the belief that a low points finish was likely the best result on offer for the team.

Ricciardo also said he didn't think the team strategy between himself and Norris was well executed by McLaren.

“I don’t ultimately think we had massive pace, so I think that was the reality,” Ricciardo said in an interview for the official F1 website.

“I think, at best, maybe we were getting one point today.

“But we tried a little bit of a, let’s say, teamwork strategy to help out Lando, but I don’t think we executed it very well.

“Obviously it’s something we talked about and the team have good oversight on (the) pit wall, so if they see an opportunity to maximise points for the team you have to go for it and trust their view.

“My feeling was it wasn’t executed perfectly, but in saying that, I don’t know. I don’t think we could have done much better."

The team was aiming to catch the Alpine duo of Ocon and Fernando Alonso, with the French manufacturer's recent run of impressive results posing a threat to McLaren's standing in the constructors' championship.

with agencies

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