Daniel Ricciardo’s horror start to life as a Renault driver has taken another dramatic twist after a spectacular mishap during testing for the new Formula One season.
The Aussie spun out on turn one after the Drag Reduction System (DRS) flap flew right off his rear wing on the second day of testing.
— Eau rouge (@Insidef1) February 19, 2019
The scary incident saw the Aussie spiral out of control as his Renault hurtled towards a side wall.
Fortunately for Ricciardo, the gravel trap slowed the vehicle down and prevented him from crashing into the wall at speed.
— Nico Herrmann (@MotorsportNico) February 19, 2019
The incident followed an opening day of the Formula One pre-season to forget for the Australian.
Ricciardo, who joined the team from Red Bull, and Nico Hulkenberg put in the slowest times of the first day, finishing more than 2.8 seconds slower than Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.
Vettel, the runner-up to the title last season, kicked things off with the fastest time, although he was the busiest driver with 169 laps and, most importantly, felt right at home behind the wheel of his new Ferrari.
“We couldn’t have hoped for a better day,” Vettel said after setting a session-best lap time of 1 minute, 18.161 seconds.
The German had been nearly two seconds faster than the best of the rest, despite saying he felt a bit rusty after the long winter break until McLaren’s new Spanish signing Carlos Sainz closed that gap in the afternoon with a 1:18.558 effort on softer tyres.
Sainz, stepping into the shoes of departed compatriot Fernando Alonso, was the only driver other than Vettel to break the 1.19 barrier.
Five times world champion Lewis Hamilton shared the work at Mercedes with teammate Valtteri Bottas, who did the morning session in the silver W10 before handing over.
Bottas was eighth fastest with Hamilton ninth, the pair completing 150 laps between them on harder tyres than the Ferrari, with mileage more important than outright speed as teams got to grips with their new cars.
Testing will continue through Thursday and then again from Feb. 26-March 1 at the Barcelona-Catalunya Circuit, home to the Spanish Grand Prix in May.
The season-opening Australian GP is on March 17.