Daniel Ricciardo issues clear verdict on latest blow after Lap 1 DNF in Japan

Michelle Foster
Daniel Ricciardo and Alex Albon crashed in Japan.

Daniel Ricciardo and Alex Albon crashed in Japan.

Crashing out of the Japanese Grand Prix two corners in, Daniel Ricciardo has denied his Lap One crash was a consequence of growing pressure, calling it a “singular” incident.

Lining up 11th on the Suzuka grid, Ricciardo had a poor start on the mediums as he revealed he struggled for traction.

Daniel Ricciardo’s mediums v Alex Albon’s soft tyres

As he got swallowed up by the midfield, Alex Albon on the soft Pirellis shot forward.

That meant the Williams driver found himself with a gap on the outside of Ricciardo through Turn Two, but with the Honey Badger moving slightly over onto the racing line, Albon ran out of room and the two collided.

Ricciardo believes it was the decision, one that he agreed on, to line up on the grid on the medium tyres that put him in that position to start with.

“We definitely got gobbled up on that medium,” he told the media. “That was weird because the cars in front of us looked like they got off the line well.

“It just looks like Yuki and I didn’t have the grip that we anticipated and as soon as we launched I could see Bottas and Hulkenberg just split us and go around.

“And then into One, I was in the middle with Yuki and an Alpine. And into Turn Two I thought ‘all right, let’s just settle’.

“And as soon as I got on the throttle, I was still struggling so then I think Stroll was on the outside so I was trying to hold him off and then I guess as I started to come back for Three Albon was there.

“I watched his onboard and yeah, I mean I don’t even know if he wanted to be there but his traction was so much better on the soft that he was like, well, there’s space until there wasn’t. I didn’t see him.

“But honestly, I always assume maybe someone is there at One. I never tried to let’s say use the full width of the track and be completely ignorant. But yeah, I guess there was obviously not enough room.

“All things considered, if we could wind back the clock, I would start on the softs. But for the record, I wanted to be on the medium. That’s not something I fought against but knowing what we know now the softs would have been a lot a lot better for us.”

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Daniel Ricciardo insists ‘singular’ moment, not season’s story

The 34-year-old was quick to deny that Sunday’s crash was indicative of his season, adamant it was a “singular” moment and nothing more than a Lap One racing incident.

“It is,” he admitted when asked if it was frustrating to lose a potential points-scoring finish given his team-mate started one place higher and finished inside the top ten.

“I think also yesterday, I was obviously frustrated not to not to make it by half a 10th [into Q3]. But there were some positives, there were some things that we felt like we could probably show today.

“Lap One incidents, they’re the worst because there’s always those questions, ‘Oh, what could have been, maybe we could have done this’. So yeah, shame for not only us as a team, but Alex, and you never want to see someone go out on Lap One.”

Ricciardo’s DNF comes on the back of three difficult races for the 2025 Red Bull hopeful. He, however, insists what happened on Sunday was not a result of mounting pressure.

“I think today is a singular moment, I guess in terms of… I don’t look at today and think, ‘Oh man this year, like when it rains, it pours or whatever’. I feel it was just one of those things.

“We know that 24 races, it’s probably likely that maybe I’m involved in another Lap One incident. It’s just probability in that. So these things kind of happen.

“It obviously sucks when they do but I don’t look at it any more than today being a kind of singular incident. Of course, would have been nice to get a race under our belt and try to show a little bit of something that I felt we were starting to show yesterday.

“But yeah, we’ll do that in China. I actually test on Tuesday. So the laps that I missed today I’ll get back on Tuesday.

Read next: Japanese GP: Max Verstappen back in cruise control as Daniel Ricciardo’s nightmare continues