During FP2 the red flag was thrown due to a timing wire coming loose on the start-finish straight and on his way back to the pits, Daniel Ricciardo drove just a bit too fast. As a result, he’s been handed a three-place grid penalty and two points on his superlicence. A stewards statement read:
“The stewards reviewed the data and found that Ricciardo did in fact fail to stay above the minimum time set by the FIA ECU in the penultimate and final marshalling sectors.”
This year the FIA is cracking down on drivers going too quickly under red flag conditions and said that breaching the regulations is an “extremely serious matter”. However in Ricciardo’s case, data showed that he had slowed down significantly in other parts of the circuit and was only marginally quicker than the minimum time, so has received a smaller penalty than would be usual.
What is it with Australian drivers and their home grand prix? Ever since Mark Webber’s sensational fifth place for Minardi on his debut in 2002, it seems that Albert Park has been something of a curse for Aussies.
It took Webber until 2012 to better that fifth-place finish in Australia and despite driving for Red Bull at the height of its dominance, he never managed to finish on the podium there. Ricciardo himself finished second in 2014 but was subsequently disqualified, and last year he crashed in qualifying, had to start from the pit lane, and then retired from the race.
This year Red Bull looks to be in strong contention for a podium (if not the win), but Ricciardo has made his hopes of being the driver to achieve it that bit slimmer. Still, with the extra DRS zone and the potential for the kind of crazy race that Albert Park often seems to throw up (especially with the rain that’s been forecast), it’s nothing a bit of trademark Danny Ric lunging won’t solve.