Sport Ricciardo reveals 'filthy dark' Monaco heartbreak

05:06  19 may  2021
05:06  19 may  2021 Source:   wwos.nine.com.au

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Daniel Ricciardo wearing a suit and tie: Daniel Ricciardo fumes on the podium at Monaco in 2016. © Getty Daniel Ricciardo fumes on the podium at Monaco in 2016.

Australia's Daniel Ricciardo says he didn't want to be behind the wheel of his Red Bull during the closing stages of the 2016 Monaco Grand Prix, after having the win ripped from his grasp by a pitstop error.

Ricciardo had done everything right that weekend, taking pole and leading in tricky conditions, before being called in for a pitstop, only to find the team didn't have his tyres ready.

The Australian was forced to wait as the seconds ticked by, with Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton sweeping past into the lead.

Ricciardo tried every trick in the book but wasn't able to find a way by, having to settle for second.

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Renowned for his ready smile, Ricciardo cut a dark figure on the podium that day, having also lost a win at the previous race in Spain due to the team's strategy of pitting him before teammate Max Verstappen.

"I was filthy, that's how I'd describe it," he told the In the Fast Lane podcast.

"It was filthy dark. Barcelona, the team pitted me from the lead, Max ended up staying out and winning the race, and I dropped to fourth. So I was already coming in to Monaco with a bit of anger.

"I vividly remember driving the later part of that race, and I knew I wasn't going to pass Lewis unless he made a big mistake.

"I've still got images of driving through turn seven (and) turn eight and definitely not wanting to be there."

Ricciardo acknowledged that with Mercedes having the dominant car, he wondered if he'd lost his only chance to win the sport's most prestigious race.

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"In my mind I was like, 'Will I ever get a chance to win Monaco again?' he said.

"There was a lot going through my head."

Ricciardo got his Monaco redemption in 2018, overcoming an engine problem early in the race to become the third Australian, after Sir Jack Brabham and Mark Webber, to win the race.

"The race was stressful, the whole day was stressful," he recalled.

Daniel Ricciardo wearing a costume: Daniel Ricciardo celebrates his victory at the 2018 Monaco Grand Prix. © Getty Daniel Ricciardo celebrates his victory at the 2018 Monaco Grand Prix.

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"When that happened (the engine problem) there was still 50 laps to go, so I was just like, 'for whatever reason, something is stopping me from winning this race.'

"All these crappy thoughts coming to mind, even some stuff I don't really believe in. To fight it off and win, it was relief more than anything."

Ricciardo admitted he had been enthralled by the Monaco circuit since watching the race on TV as a child in Perth.

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"Just seeing F1 cars drive through a tunnel was kind of weird. I couldn't get my head around it," he said.

"I was fascinated by these cars going from light to dark, back into light, and you see the harbour, the boats, it wasn't my image of a racetrack.

"It was a fascinating thing to see."

The Formula One season continues in the famous principality this weekend, but Ricciardo won't be the only Australian in action at Monaco, with F1 hopeful Oscar Piastri also featuring in the Formula 2 race.

a truck that is driving down the road: Oscar Piastri during F2 testing in Barcelona. © Getty Oscar Piastri during F2 testing in Barcelona.

Piastri, who's fourth in the championship after the opening round, knows the Monaco circuit from 2019, when he raced there on the way to winning the Formula Renault EuroCup championship.

"It's a bit ridiculous to be honest, in a good way," he told Wide World of Sports.

"Driving a qualifying lap around there is awesome, you don't get that feeling anywhere else.

"You know that you can't make a single mistake, because it will end in disaster."

Piastri's experience from 2019, as an 18-year-old, will stand him in good stead this time around, with last year's race cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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It means many of his F2 rivals this weekend haven't raced at the famous circuit previously.

"For me the biggest eye-opener the first time I went there was driving from the Formula Renault paddock to the F1 pit-lane," he explained.

"You do it behind the safety car, so you're only doing about 50kph, so you've got time to look around.

a man wearing a uniform: Oscar Piastri during F2 testing in Barcelona. © Getty Oscar Piastri during F2 testing in Barcelona.

"You can see the boats on your left as you come out of the tunnel, and all the skyscrapers.

"You're thinking how cool it is, but at the same time it's pretty nuts, to say the least."

And according to the Melbourne-born driver, there's one particular corner that stands out.

"Tabac, which is just after the chicane around the harbour, is the most satisfying corner to get right, because by Monaco standards it's a pretty fast corner, but it's so tight.

"You have to be super precise, because there's a wall on the inside and on the outside, so there's no margin for error.

"You can probably lose more lap time in the slower corners, but in terms of driving satisfaction, Tabac is the best."

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