Daniel Ricciardo says he apologized to Valtteri Bottas for the the first-lap collision that ruined both their races in the Mexico City Grand Prix.
Pole-sitter Bottas was being overtaken by Max Verstappen on his outside and Lewis Hamilton on the inside, while Ricciardo made a good start from seventh to attack Sergio Perez. However, as Bottas tightened his line into Turn 1 behind the front two, he was tapped into a spin by Ricciardo, who broke his front wing in the process.
“It happened so quickly,” Ricciardo said. “The run down to Turn 1 is always pretty exciting here. You get massive slipstreams. I had a good start in a few good slipstreams. I was alongside Perez, he was on my inside. So it looked pretty good. I felt it was more or less under control until the last moment. When I got to the apex it was all closing in and I locked a bit, and that is when we made contact.
“What is done is done. I want to see if there was something I could’ve done better to avoid him. The outcome was that our race was done at that moment. (It’s) frustrating because the start was good, and for a moment you have very happy thoughts. And just like that, everything has gone. I’m a bit heartbroken at the moment.”
Ricciardo spent the rest of the race ahead of Bottas after a slow pit stop for the Mercedes driver, and the Australian admitted that made the whole incident even more painful since he had the pace to hold position if he’d made it through Turn 1 cleanly.
“That was another frustrating thing,” he said. “Normally, if you can keep a Mercedes behind you, you are in a good position. But we were fighting at the back with the incident. A pretty risible day for us.
“I saw him, and I apologized. I want to see a replay, but in any case I apologized because I am the one that went from behind. So for now, I’ll take some of the responsibility. It is not something that you want to do.
“The track is dirty, so maybe that is a factor that makes it trickier. But I do not want to say that is the reason. We know the dirty side always has less grip. I saw that there was a bit of space there. A Red Bull was to the left of me, so I thought there was room, and then it all closed up at the apex.”
While Bottas said his race was over after the contact, he held no grudge against Ricciardo for the incident.
“Obviously, the spin in Turn 1, with the hit from Daniel, really compromised it and after that the best chance we had to get past was stopping immediately, but others did the same too,” Bottas said. “Also, following other cars, just with the engine and brakes overheating, was more of an issue than what we thought.
“Yes, he really ruined my day, but I’m sure he didn’t do the initial hit on purpose. It compromised his race as well, but he was not ideal for my race”