Damon Hill feels Daniel Ricciardo could have avoided Valtteri Bottas at the start in Mexico by backing out earlier.
The run to Turn 1 at the Mexican Grand Prix proved one of the most action-packed starts so far in 2021, with several incidents and major talking points stemming from it.
Up at the front, pole-sitter Valtteri Bottas and his Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton were swamped by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, who found a clear path around the outside – although for Bottas, the drama was only just beginning.
As the drivers entered Turn 1, Bottas was clipped by Ricciardo’s McLaren from behind, sending the Mercedes into a spin.
Both drivers then spent the rest of their race stuck in the midfield with Ricciardo crossing the line P12, while a poor pit-stop for Bottas and later a successful fastest lap attempt saw him finish P15.
LAP 4/71 SAFETY CAR ENDING
The moment of contact between Bottas and Ricciardo 💥
— Formula 1 (@F1) November 7, 2021
Ricciardo after the race stated his belief that it was a racing incident, apologising to Bottas for his part in the crash.
And while Hill said Bottas’ racing line had contributed, Ricciardo nonetheless should have realised the move was not on and backed off earlier.
“What is a racing line…it’s to make the corner as shallow as possible,” said the 1996 World Champion on the F1 Nation podcast. “Well he [Ricciardo] made it as tight as possible by going down the inside.
“You’ve one option – you can stop and then turn right, which he couldn’t do, or you can go straight across it. Basically what happened [is] he hadn’t got enough [space] and it’s the dirty side of the track.
“But Valtteri did cut into the apex. I think it’s always worth leaving a bit of space at the beginning part of the race. I used to try and look really vague about where I was going, then I’d hope that would put people off, not knowing whether I would go right or left.
“So taking the normal racing line into the first corner of a race was probably not a good move from Valtteri.
“[But] I think Danny should have backed out of that a bit earlier.”
Did Ricciardo deserve a penalty?
Mercedes believe that Daniel Ricciardo deserved a penalty after the first lap incident at Mexico.