Of course he’s furious. He’s had eight retirements this year, six of which have been reliability related. This weekend’s DNF was one of the toughest yet as he dropped out of second with 10 laps to go, which means his two victories this year are still his only two podium appearances of the season. In championship terms, he’s now a massive 70 points behind his teammate and if the last two races go badly, he’ll be closer to Nico Hulkenberg in the championship than he will the top five.
After the race, the smile we saw after qualifying was a distant memory as he emotionally told TV crews what he thought of the end of this season:
“Helpless, I think is the best word. Another problem with this car. It’s not been a clean weekend for so long, even today. The [practice] starts have been so good all weekend, and for the race start it’s been all over the place with the pre-start.
“Things are happening on Sunday which I’ve got no more explanation for. I don’t know, the car is… I’ll let Gasly drive it. I’m done with it.”
It’s almost heartbreaking to read, made all the worse by the fact that his teammate is having the majority of his reliability issues in sessions which aren’t the race, and then going on to rake in the points on a Sunday.
Wanting to get out and let Gasly have the car from next year is understandable with the way things have, but next year the Red Bull will have Honda power units. Ricciardo will still have to race with Renault ones when he takes over Carlos Sainz’s seat. And Sainz retired today, too…