Daniel Ricciardo made no apology for being a touch “dirty” in his ongoing battle with Carlos Sainz in Austin.
McLaren and Ferrari are battling for third place in the Constructors’ Championship and with the exception of Charles Leclerc, who cleared off into the distance to finish fourth, their other three drivers were all closely matched at the United States Grand Prix.
Sainz was having to tackle two McLarens on his own and ended up P7, with Ricciardo eventually pulling away from him to finish fifth and Valtteri Bottas’ Mercedes splitting the duo.
Lando Norris, meanwhile, who was also racing his Spanish former team-mate, came home right behind the second Ferrari in eighth.
Afterwards, Ricciardo reflected on various separate occasions when he had been duelling with Sainz, the last of which had resulted in the Spaniard saying over team radio “that got a bit dirty” after the cars had made contact and the Ferrari incurred front wing endplate damage.
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“[Sainz] put on a good attack later on in the race and we obviously went side by side, and a little bit of banging wheels. So it was very fun, and very needed to hold on for everything I could,” said Ricciardo, quoted by Motorsport.com, about the incident on lap 43 of 56.
“Obviously you don’t deliberately try to go into someone, but that’s obviously a bit of rubbing racing.
“And when you put yourself on the outside, obviously you’re a little bit more exposed. So nothing was deliberate, but I guess it’s the risk he ran by trying on the outside.”
Told about Sainz’s radio comment, Ricciardo added: “That’s cool. I’m happy to be dirty. I’m a nice guy, so being dirty every now and then is alright!”
Of their earlier skirmishes, Ricciardo said: “The first lap was a lot of fun. I got Carlos I think at the start, then he got me back with a good move outside of [turn] six into seven.
“Then I got him back at turn 17 I think on the inside. So it was three kind of changes in position on the first lap, which was cool, but that was crucial for me to get a top-five.
“Charles showed Ferrari were quicker, we couldn’t match that pace. So obviously that’s something we’ve got to still try to find. But to beat one of them is quite rewarding.”