Ricciardo rues ‘missed opportunity’ in Mexico

Daniel Ricciardo was upset with himself after hitting Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas on the opening turn in last Sunday’s race in Mexico; the McLaren driver will look to bounce back at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix this weekend

By Jack Collins

Last Updated: 11/11/21 6:25pm

McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo is desperate to put his error in Mexico behind him

Daniel Ricciardo believes he could have finished on the podium had he not collided into Valtteri Bottas in Mexico City, but the McLaren driver is determined to respond with an impressive performance at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix.

Ricciardo got off the line well at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez last Sunday before colliding with polesitter Bottas at the first corner, which saw both drop towards the back of the field.

The Australian could not quite get himself back into the points, finishing 12th, while Bottas could only muster 15th after also hitting trouble later in the race at a slow Mercedes pit stop.

Despite the underwhelming finish from seventh on the grid, Ricciardo feels he might have finished in the top three for just the second time this season had he not hit the Finnish driver.

Speaking at the press conference ahead of this weekend’s race in Brazil, he was asked whether Bottas came close to overtaking him in last Sunday’s race as they battled back through the field.

“He got close for sure a couple of times,” the 32-year-old said.

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Relive how Red Bull’s Max Verstappen took the lead of the Mexico City GP, with Valtteri Bottas sent spinning back from pole

Relive how Red Bull’s Max Verstappen took the lead of the Mexico City GP, with Valtteri Bottas sent spinning back from pole

“That was maybe the bigger frustration, you’re able to hold off a Mercedes but normally if you’re doing that you’re on the podium.

“Obviously in our case we were trying to come back through the field. I guess it was a pretty long Sunday for both of us but there was some promise in that we could hold him off.”

It did not go well at all for McLaren in Mexico, with Lando Norris finishing a disappointing 10th, while Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz came home in fifth and sixth respectively.

That saw Ferrari leapfrog McLaren into third in the constructor standings.

With four races to go, Ferrari are just 13.5 points ahead of McLaren in the constructor standings

With prize money at stake for each position, Ricciardo knows he can ill-afford to repeat his mistake in Sao Paulo, which has previously been the scene of Formula 1’s final race of the season.

“I was upset with myself for not getting through the first sequence of corners in a good position because I’d actually gained a couple of spots,” he said.

“It was looking like it could have been okay but then it obviously came undone. It’s frustrating, no matter what it is, you still want to have a good race and get good points.

“It happens, it’s racing. Fortunately I don’t make a trend of those things but nonetheless it’s still something you want to try to avoid.”

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