Daniel Ricciardo says Mercedes’ tyre mix-up in Sunday’s Sakhir GP that crushed George Russell’s hopes of winning his first race with Mercedes inevitably reminded him of his own misfortune and botched win at Monaco in 2016.
Russell was on course to achieve a sensational maiden F1 win in Bahrain as Lewis Hamilton’s stand-in when a double dose of trouble halted the Briton’s charge dead in its tracks, not once but twice.
During a double-stacked pitstop under the safety Car, Mercedes fumbled its set of tyres, mistakenly bolting on to Russell’s car two tyres destined for teammate Valtteri Bottas.
The costly mistake forced Russell into an additional pitstop after which, when the race resumed, he undertook a spirited charge to hunt down race leader Sergio Perez only to be recalled by his team for a fourth time into the pitlane following a puncture.
Ricciardo admitted the commotion and confusion in the Mercedes camp reminded him of when he pitted from an authoritative lead at Monaco in 2016 only to find his Red Bull team unprepared, an oversight that robbed the Aussie of a sure win.
“What an insane race last night. Where do I start?” Ricciardo said in a message posted on social media.
“Checo got his first win after nearly being out on lap 1! Long time coming so congrats again to him.
“George also had something which reminded me of Monaco 2016. Damn. I know his pain but he’s a young rooster and will get plenty more stabs at it. So in short, F1 won yesterday.”
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Ricciardo concluded his evening of racing at Sakhir P5, a result the Renault driver did not hail as particularly impressive.
“Fifth for me seems ok on paper, but yeah not the best executed race,” he said.
“Was pretty filthy but all good. One to go. Let’s close out 2020 strong as it has been and fuck this year right off!”
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