'Ultimate strategy' fails to pay off for Daniel Ricciardo

Glenn Valencich
Sports Reporter

Daniel Ricciardo says he now understands Lewis Hamilton’s grievances in Monaco earlier this year after the Australian finished a ‘frustrating’ sixth at the Singapore Grand Prix.

The Red Bull driver completed a race for the first time since July but it came at the end of a weekend that never really got going.

Ricciardo qualified sixth at the back of the Mercedes-Ferrari-Red Bull pack and stayed there for the 61 laps on Sunday night after a first-lap safety car spread out the field.

The race proved a procession as no further incidents caused a second safety car to shake up the plans.

“In the end, the race was a bit as we expected but we hoped for some sort of ultimate strategy,” Ricciardo said.

“We tried something different by going long on the hypersoft (tyre) and we had good pace but a street circuit is only really great if you are on pole, otherwise it’s not only hard to overtake but even to follow.

“Qualifying is so important here and the race was really lost yesterday.”

The Singapore Grand Prix proved a night to forget for Daniel Ricciardo. Pic: Getty

Ricciardo closed the gap to Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen on the ultrasoft tyres after his pit stop but was never in a position to take fifth.

As the Australian’s teammate Max Verstappen claimed an impressive second on the back of a smart pit stop that put him ahead of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, Ricciardo experienced the other side of the street story.

He won an uneventful Monaco race from pole earlier this year.

While Ricciardo had reason to celebrate, Hamilton said “cruising around” the tight circuit “wasn’t really racing” and Fernando Alonso labelled it “the most boring race ever”.

In Singapore, Hamilton extended his lead in the championship race and Ricciardo effectively cashed his cheque and moved closer to exit from Red Bull.

“Street circuits are my favourite tracks to drive but they can also be frustrating,” he said.

“In Monaco I listened to Lewis … complaining about following closely and now I understand what he was complaining about.

“I think everyone was in the same boat. I would have loved to fight for something more today but I couldn’t.”

The Formula One circus now heads to Sochi for the fifth running of the Russian Grand Prix, won by Mercedes in each of the past four years.

“I hope in Russia everything will fall into place,” Ricciardo said.

“We’ll keep fighting, try to get better and maybe we can get a win at a circuit where we don’t expect it.”