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Sport Ricciardo's 'exasperating' race explained

05:55  02 december  2019
05:55  02 december  2019 Source:   wwos.nine.com.au

Ricciardo welcomes Toro Rosso pressure in F1 finale

  Ricciardo welcomes Toro Rosso pressure in F1 finale Daniel Ricciardo says he relishes the fact that Toro Rosso is now a serious threat to Renault in the constructors' championship ahead of the Formula 1 season finale in Abu Dhabi. Pierre Gasly's shock podium finish at the Brazilian Grand Prix has helped Toro Rosso to close to within eight points of Renault in the team standings with one race left to go. require(["inlineoutstreamAd", "c.

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The Aussie driver explains why the fight is so close between his team and Mclaren. “I would say on one lap, splitting it between qualifying and race , I do feel, and if I watch the onboards, I do feel like if I look at McLaren they seem to be able to get the lap time out of the car a bit easier,” started Ricciardo

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The world championship was already in the bag but Lewis Hamilton signed off 2019 with a convincing win in Abu Dhabi, although there was perhaps more interest in Hamilton's off-track moves this weekend with speculation over his future with Mercedes.

Daniel Ricciardo and Renault endured another frustrating weekend, and the FIA was left red-faced after an embarrassing stuff-up.

Wide World of Sports has all the fallout from the final race of the 2019 season.

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Ricciardo Aware of Struggle Ahead. Recently both Red Bull boss Christian Horner and advisor Helmut Marko have made snide remarks about Renault pertaining to Daniel But Ricciardo himself is well aware of Renaults current position and explained that he’ s invested in the team for the long term.

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 Pointless race for Renault

It's been a season of frustration for Renault, and Abu Dhabi was simply a continuation of that, with Ricciardo finishing 11th and Nico Hulkenberg 12th.

This time it was a rule that is set to be scrapped for 2020 that hindered their chances, namely the requirement for drivers who qualify in the top 10 to start on the tyres they used in the second qualifying session.

While drivers who qualify 11th or lower have a free choice of tyres, and the top three teams (Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull) enjoy such a speed advantage that they effectively also have a free choice, those drivers who qualify towards the back of the top 10 often find themselves struggling to compete in races with drivers starting 11th or 12th on fresh tyres.

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“ Racing has always been a big part of my life. It’ s my passion. All the work I put in is to become the best. The track was designed with racing in mind. As well as the waterside marina area, there are high-speed sections (including the longest straight on the F1 calendar), tight corners for overtaking

A change to the rule has already been proposed for 2020, but requires the unanimous approval of the teams to be implemented.

"Today was on the one hand a race like 20 others in the season, but on the other a race where we had the imperative objective to secure a championship position and we did it," Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul said.

Daniel Ricciardo, Michael Cuffe are posing for a picture: Daniel Ricciardo (left) and Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul. © AAP Daniel Ricciardo (left) and Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul.

"Having said that, it was an exasperating race and we saw the current rules of starting on the qualifying tyre again penalising teams from P7 to P10.

"This was aggravated by being blocked behind McLaren and DRS not working due to an FIA technicality, meaning we were in dirty air at a critical part of the race, effectively another penalty."

The one positive for Renault was wrapping up fifth place in the constructor's championship, although that is balanced by the fact the team finished fourth in 2018 and has fallen behind McLaren, instead of gaining on the top three teams.

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Why Ricciardo received two post- race penalties in France. His all-action approach made him one of the stars of the French Grand Prix, but Daniel Ricciardo will leave the French Riviera without a single point after the stewards at Circuit Paul Ricard handed him “[The car] is on the edge," he explained .

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"It was quite a standard race for me today," Ricciardo said.

"We struggled a little on the hard tyre after the first stop, which was a shame, and at the end I tried to make up the ground on the faster tyre, but we just ran out of time.

"Although, looking at the bigger picture for us, it was a positive that we managed to secure fifth in the constructors' championship, which was our goal coming into the weekend. We're optimistic heading into the off-season and looking ahead for next season."

Daniel Ricciardo in action for Renault. © Getty Daniel Ricciardo in action for Renault.

Ricciardo will have a new teammate in 2020, with Esteban Ocon replacing Hulkenberg. The 32-year-old German leaves the sport holding the unwanted record of having driven in the most races (179) without ever finishing on the podium.

While all the seats for next season are already taken, Hulkenberg hasn't given up on a return to F1 in 2021.

"It was a worthy final race for me with the team," Hulkenberg said.

"I crossed the line with good feelings. It's been three good years with them and we've grown very close like a family.

"I'm grateful and thankful towards them for all the highs and lows we've had together and I wish them every success for the future." 

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Ricciardo ' s drive was an epic that will live long in the memory, and one that could hardly have been imagined as he led cleanly away from pole, comfortably Vettel was suddenly on Ricciardo ’ s tail. The Australian had lost power. His team investigated the problem and while they identified what it was

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a close up of a man: Daniel Ricciardo endured a frustrating season. © Getty Daniel Ricciardo endured a frustrating season.

Sebastian Vettel: Ferrari must to do better

Sebastian Vettel might be a four-time world champion, but he admitted after the race that 2019 "wasn't a great year from my side" and he "must do better and can do better" in 2020.

Vettel came off second best in his battle with rookie teammate Charles Leclerc, finishing behind him in the championship, as well as recording fewer wins and pole positions than the 22-year-old.

Tensions between the pair escalated in the second half of the season, culminating in the collision that eliminated both drivers from the Brazilian Grand Prix, while Vettel threw away victory in the Canadian Grand Prix with a late-race mistake.

"(We) didn't have the year that we were hoping for, full stop," Vettel told Sky Sports.

"I think the reasons are clear, the lessons are clear, now it's up to us to make sure to take them on board.

"As a team we must perform stronger, as an individual I think I can." 

a red and black truck sitting on top of a table: Sebastian Vettel says he must do better in 2021. © Getty Sebastian Vettel says he must do better in 2021.

Lando Norris' blunt admission

McLaren's Lando Norris lost seventh place on the last lap to Racing Point's Sergio Perez, with the Mexican able to make the pass with the aid of significantly newer tyres.

"Going to sound like I'm pretty terrible now, but he did me around the outside, (at the) end of the back straight," Norris told motorsport.com.

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Plus, he gives his view on Daniel Ricciardo ’ s much anticipated move to Renault next season You can listen to the full episode via the player above, but to ensure you don’t miss an episode, subscribe via Apple Podcasts, Spotify or your favourite podcast app. To check out all the episodes to date, click here.

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"I was a bit nervous of locking or doing something stupid, but I just wasn't forceful enough.

"I just was a shit driver, basically, in my mind, because he was the one guy I had to beat today, and I didn't."

Still, Norris can be pleased with finishing 11th in the championship in his rookie year, and helping McLaren to 4th in the constructor's championship, the team's best result since 2012. 

a man wearing a hat and sunglasses: Lando Norris was disappointed with his finish to the Abu Dhabi GP. © Getty Lando Norris was disappointed with his finish to the Abu Dhabi GP.

The 2021 Silly Season has started already

18 of the 20 drivers are staying put for 2020, but that's all set to change in 2021 with a host of drivers, including Hamilton, Vettel and Ricciardo off contract. Combined with sweeping regulation changes, the stage is set for a complete upheaval of the pecking order.

Central to driver negotiations is six-times world champion Lewis Hamilton, who is increasingly being linked to a move from Mercedes to Ferrari for 2021. The Italian media reported over the weekend that Hamilton had met with Ferrari president John Elkann, something the world champion didn't deny.

It appears Hamilton's future will be tied to that of Mercedes boss Toto Wolff, who is also off-contract at the end of 2020.

"I know Toto is looking at his options in terms of his future and only he will know what is the best thing for him and his family. So I'm waiting to see what he's doing with that," Hamilton said.

"I love where I am so it's obviously not a quick decision to go do something else but I think it's only smart and wise for me to sit and think of what I want and if it is the last stage of my career.

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Toto Wolff wearing a suit and tie: Mercedes boss Toto Wolff. © Getty Mercedes boss Toto Wolff.

"Naturally I want to keep winning. I can't really tell you what else is going to happen moving forward."

Another interesting face in Abu Dhabi was that of the 2005 and 2006 world champion Fernando Alonso, who left the sport at the end of 2018 after four horror years with McLaren.

Despite the fact he turns 39 in the mid-2020, the Spaniard isn't ruling out a return to F1 in 2021, although any comeback would presumably have to be with a front-running team.

"We will keep it open in the future, maybe (do) Formula One in 2021," Alonso told Sky Sports.

"I think in 2021 that is the reason why I keep open the possibilities. Maybe things mix up with the new rules so let's see if an opportunity comes." 

a close up of a camera: Lewis Hamilton in action for Mercedes. © Getty Lewis Hamilton in action for Mercedes.

FIA's DRS stuff-up

Abu Dhabi might not be the hardest track of the year to pass on, but it's on the podium. So when DRS had to be disabled for the first 18 laps of the race, it made for a long afternoon. And despite being one of the most technically advanced sports in the world, a basic failure can still have big consequences.

"The simple part is a data server crashed," race director Michael Masi said.

"The timing still operated fine as we all saw but that crashed and we immediately disabled it and until we were 100 per cent confident that it was all, not only back up and running but back up and running with the correct data available, that was when we re-enabled it.

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"We made various checks collaboratively between the FIA and F1 group to make sure everything was working hunky dory. Until that point in time we were not going to take a chance until we were confident."

F1 commentator calls out 'clown' Ricciardo .
Daniel Ricciardo is under fire from one of the sport's longest serving commentators after failing to drag Renault forward in 2019.Despite finishing fourth in the constructor's championship in 2018, and with the stated aim of closing the gap to the three front-running teams, Renault slipped to fifth in 2019, falling behind McLaren, a team using Renault customer engines.

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