Daniel Ricciardo has been handed a three-place grid penalty for the next race for causing a bizarre crash with Daniil Kvyat in what the Australian described as a moment of panic at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
The Australian had been battling with his former teammate for 10th place when on Lap 31 he made a lunge down Kvyat’s inside into Turn 3, but overcommitted and had to escape into the run-off area, forcing the Russian to do the same to avoid the barriers.
Not realizing Kvyat had stopped only a few feet behind him, Ricciardo immediately engaged reverse and drove into the Toro Rosso, damaging both cars.
Daniel returned immediately to his Renault garage to retire — his third failure to finish in four races — while Daniil limped on for another two laps before succumbing to floor damage.
It was an embarrassing mistake from the usually composed Ricciardo, who fully accepted the blame for what he termed “a bit of panic.”
“I don’t feel good about what happened,” he said sheepishly. “We were starting to pick up the pace, and closing in on Dani I saw a gap and thought I’ll have a go.
“It’s always tight into Three, but initially I had the commitment and thought I’d pull it off. Then I felt I was going to start to lock and miss the corner.
“At that point, as soon as I went down the escape road, it was just a sense of urgency and a bit of panic.
“I found reverse and started going, and to be honest I had no idea he was there. I guess the urgency stopped me from looking.
“I just thought he’d have cut back and stayed on track, but I was just trying to minimize the mistake I made — which turned into another mistake. So kind of crappy on my part. I certainly feel bad for the team, and for Dani obviously it is not cool.”
Ricciardo will serve his three-place grid penalty at the Spanish Grand Prix on May 12 and has had two penalty points added to his license.
It was a painful conclusion to a dismal weekend for Renault, with both Ricciardo and teammate Nico Hulkenberg woefully off the pace from Friday onward and forced to leave Baku without points.
The result means the French works team has just a pair of seventh-place finishes and three DNFs so far this season. It sits seventh in the constructors standings behind engine customer McLaren, Racing Point and Alfa Romeo.
“Very clearly it’s been a bad weekend,” team boss Cyril Abiteboul said. “We never found our pace despite big changes to the car overnight.
“Overall the first stint of the season has been disappointing, but if we manage to get all things in order, we can have a decent competitiveness level, as demonstrated on several occasions.”