Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo has admitted his contact with Williams’s Felipe Massa at the start of the Japanese Grand Prix was a racing incident. The pair came together just as the lights went out, which meant both of them had a flat tyre before they even reached the first corner, forcing them to limp for almost a lap before they could pit for repairs.
Ricciardo had an ever long race, and was some good points wasted thanks to ‘silly mistakes’. The Australian arguably had the best start off the line, however the Massa contact left the Australian’s hopes in tatters. Likewise, team-mate Daniil Kvyat had a huge accident in qualifying, which forced the Russian into a pit-lane start. He to muscled his way past the field, however despite his best effort, he only managed 13th, and Ricciardo finished in 15th.
“I haven’t seen the footage and don’t want to put the blame on anyone so we’ll call it a racing incident for now. It’s a shame for the team, I think we could have gained some positions off the line and then the race would have been completely different.
“At the start, the best line for me was straight down the middle, I saw the gap between Kimi and Felipe and I knew it was close, but I thought they would make a bit of room.”
“But we had the puncture, and that damaged the floor so we lost some downforce. I tried to do what I could, we started to catch some cars towards the end but by then I didn’t have the grip to do anything. On a positive note, even with the damaged floor, the car was handling well.”