A distraught Daniel Ricciardo said he has been ‘screwed’ out of two certain victories by his Red Bull Racing team.
Having lost out to teenager Max Verstappen in Spain when the Tilbrook team decided to switch the Australian, who was comfortably leading the race, to an different strategy, Ricciardo looked certain to win in Monaco, having built up a comfortable lead over Lewis Hamilton.
But worse was to come for Ricciardo. Despite taking a sensational pole position and leading the way, a switch from wet tyres to intermediates in Monte Carlo allowed Hamilton to take over at the front as the Mercedes stayed out.
And with Ricciardo crawling all over the back of Hamilton in drying conditions, the Red Bull Racing man looked set to retake the lead when the world champion pitted. However, he arrived in his pit box to be met with a team without tyres. Sitting stationary for 13 seconds, Ricciardo emerged just behind Hamilton and was forced to watch as the Brit controlled the pace from the front around the tight, twisty streets where it is notoriously difficult to overtake.
On the podium, Ricciardo cut a stern figure, and said he couldn’t bring himself to talk to the team in the immediate aftermath of the race.
“Two weekends in a row, I’ve been screwed,” he said. “It sucks and it hurts. We put ourselves into a race against Lewis Hamilton that we really shouldn’t have been in.
“After the race, I told them (team bosses) to save their breath - nothing they could have said would make me feel better.
“Without swearing, it’s difficult. I feel like I’ve been run over by a truck for the second race in a row.
“I took Barcelona as well as I could, but I can’t stand here and try to be positive about that.
“I hate being like this, miserable. I got a podium in Monaco, I should be happy, and part of me will always be grateful for being able to do this.
“But two races in a row we should have woe, and especially with one of them being here.”
“I have no idea what to say about the strategy, I didn’t make the call, the team did. I don’t know why they weren’t ready.”
Team boss Christian Horner said a communications problem between the pitwall and the pit crew cost Ricciardo the victory.
He said: “We as a team owe Daniel a huge apology today as we failed to support him in the way we did to get him to his first pole position The delay at his pit stop cost him the lead and despite some excellent driving to get close to Lewis, he couldn’t get past, as is so often the case here in Monaco.
“The call was made to go to the super-soft tyre and based on how we are set up here in Monaco – the pit wall is upstairs and obviously the garage is downstairs – the tyres are on heat both in the garage and behind the garage, and unfortunately the set of tyres that were called for weren’t readily to hand and were at the back of the garage.
“There was a scramble, with the mechanics originally having a soft tyre ready, and when that change was requested to go to the super-soft those tyres were actually right at the back of the garage and couldn’t be got to the car in time. It cost probably about 10 seconds in the stop, and even despite the delay the two drivers were side-by-side when Daniel came out, showing how quick Daniel’s in-lap had been and how slow Lewis’ outlap had been.”