Daniel Ricciardo’s penultimate race at McLaren ended in disastrous fashion on Monday morning [AEDT]with the Australian crashing on the first lap of the Brazilian Grand Prix.
Ricciardo was trying to pass Kevin Magnussen on the inside at Turn 9 but struggled as the two made contact and both cars sustained significant damage.
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It was enough to see both drivers ruled out of the race in what was a sad end to what had been an otherwise fantastic weekend for Magnussen, who took his first career pole position.
Incident assessment for sky sportsMartin Brundle said it was “100 percent Daniel’s fault”.
“Everything is going to go terribly wrong… that’s 100% Daniel’s fault,” he said.
“That was a shame. I have to give Daniel 100 percent, I’m afraid.”
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“Somehow you can say don’t roll back, jam your foot in the brakes – had to let it roll back and get out of the way.”
The incident prompted a safety car, which remained out until the end of lap 6, but the drama was far from over when Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton also made contact.
Ricciardo’s teammate Lando Norris also hit Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz and received a five-second penalty as a result, with Verstappen also receiving the same punishment.
It was not the end of the drama for Norris, who was forced to retire with engine trouble in a disastrous blow to McLaren’s chances of claiming fourth place in the Constructors’ Championship. Norris lost power and swerved to the side of the road. After Marshalls failed to move the McLaren safely out of the way, a full safety car was called.
It meant a highly successful finish to the race with Mercedes driver George Russell preventing teammate Lewis Hamilton from claiming his first win.
Meanwhile, Ricciardo’s near-term future in the sport is still up in the air, as Ricciardo told reporters ahead of Monday’s race that he was no closer to making a final decision.
“Not really. Nothing close or confirmed or anything yet. I can make something up, but nothing new to tell you,” he said.
“Look, like I told you before, I have nothing to hide. Even from a contractual point of view in terms of, I guess I’m free to talk and whatever, but nothing gets done. If anything was done, trust me, I’d be saying it. So there’s nothing to stop him.”
Ricciardo has been heavily linked to a reserve driver role with Red Bull or Mercedes, having been replaced by fellow Australian Oscar Piastri at McLaren next year.