Daniel Ricciardo played down a hand gesture he made to Romain Grosjean during practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as “heat of the moment.”
Having been blocked by Grosjean in the final sector during FP2 at the Yas Marina Circuit, Ricciardo raised his middle finger at the Frenchman when crossing the finish line. The gesture was followed by a sarcastic team radio message in which Ricciardo used an expletive, but the Red Bull driver insists he has already moved on from the incident.
“I had a bruised finger,” Ricciardo joked when asked about the gesture. “I had an oversteer, and I was just shaking it off.
“He didn’t mean it. It is only practice, so I am not phased by it. Heat of the moment. It was frustrating, I am on a heater and he is on an out lap. Was it good TV?”
All jokes aside was a good day out here. Think we can find some more pace on the long runs but not far off. I do enjoy it under the lights. And for the record RG and me are sweet
— Daniel Ricciardo (@danielricciardo) November 24, 2017
Ricciardo finished FP2 in third place behind Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel, and while Hamilton talked up Red Bull’s potential, the Australian feels the world champion may be out of reach.
“Race pace looks alright. The session was pretty good. On low fuel we looked decent. Race pace, probably we looked better on low fuel than high fuel today, but we can clean it up. I am not too worried. Generally it was a good afternoon and evening.
“Our short run pace looked pretty good. Still not on Lewis’ pace, but fairly there with Ferrari. We know we will need to find a couple more tenths tomorrow. The long run there is a little bit more to find. A bit more work tonight, but generally not a bad day.
“A podium would be a nice way to end the year. A win would be the nicest way, but if we are just saying a nice way then a podium.”
Ricciardo’s teammate Max Verstappen was third overall in FP1 but struggled in the second session and believes Red Bull went the wrong way with set-up on Friday.
“I was happy in the first practice, not happy in the second,” Verstappen said. We will see what we do for tomorrow.
“We know what we’ve changed on the car and second practice I just didn’t feel happy, I couldn’t get the car to turn quickly enough. On this track that’s quite killing because of the all sequence of corners. We just need to figure out how to get that back into the car tomorrow.”