Having been “screwed” by Red Bull two race weekends in succession, Daniel Ricciardo’s frustrations with his team were evident in Monaco – and Ferrari must be smiling.
Two weeks ago in Spain, Red Bull decided to put race leader Ricciardo onto a three-stop strategy. It was expected to be the quickest way to cover the 66 laps at the Barcelona circuit.
Instead Ricciardo finished off the podium in fourth place while his new team-mate Max Verstappen claimed the win.
The Aussie admitted he was “bitter” and having a hard time getting over it and arrived in Monte Carlo determined to right that wrong.
That also didn’t go to plan.
Although he grabbed pole position with an incredible lap around the twisty street circuit and looked to be racing to the win ahead of Lewis Hamilton, he was robbed by his team.
Pitting for the second time, swapping his inters for slicks, Ricciardo was kept waiting by Red Bull, who had initially planned to put him onto softs before changing to the super-softs.
Team boss Christian Horner admitted that heading back into the garage for the different tyres “cost probably about 10 seconds in the stop.”
It is with a level of certainty that one can say what it did cost Ricciardo was the win.
He summed up the loss: “Two weekends in a row I’ve been screwed now. It sucks. It hurts.”
The question many are asking this week is will it hurt enough to push Ricciardo over to Ferrari.
The 25-year-old has been linked to the Scuderia on several occasions but reportedly has a long-term contract with Red Bull in place.
But with 18-year-old Verstappen rising up the Red Bull ranks, Sunday’s troubles may have him wondering just what his options are and whether it would be good to partner up with former team-mate Sebastian Vettel.
Then again, with Red Bull’s usurping of Ferrari as Mercedes’ main challenger, Ricciardo may worry that the grass is not always redder in Maranello.