Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo rubbished claims that he raised a middle finger to Romain Grosjean in Free Practice 2 (FP2) of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
After being stuck behind the Frenchman, Ricciardo seemed to raise his middle finger in the direction of Grosjean, but Ricciardo literally brushed off the footage as him simply ‘shaking off’ a pain in his hand.
The Haas driver is certainly no stranger when it comes to controversy surrounding his conduct on the track in practice sessions, as he was once described as a ‘’first-lap nutcase’’ by Australian driver Mark Webber back in 2012 after a run of incidents between him and other drivers.
Ricciardo’s inability to pass the Haas driver had led to a somewhat colourful exchange on the radio with his team, with the Red Bull members noticing the sarcasm in the Australian's voice.
Engineer: "OK mate, we saw that, Grosjean got in your way."
Ricciardo: "No, no, he was good, he didn't get in my way..."
Engineer: "I'm not sure if your sarcasm is coming across very well."
Ricciardo: "Yeah. (Expletive)!"
While that conversation was being broadcast to viewers, footage appeared to show the Australian remove one hand from the steering wheel and then thrust a middle finger in the direction of Grosjean’s car as the two sped down the longest straight.
In an interview after the day’s session, Ricciardo played ignorant to any message he was alleged to have delivered to Grosjean through the gesture, citing a ‘‘bruised finger’’ as the reason he shook his middle-finger.
"I had a bruised finger! I had an oversteer, and I was just shaking it off.
And, Ricciardo also played down any alleged attempts by Grosjean to disrupt his drive.
"He didn't mean it. It is only practice, so I am not fazed by it. Heat of the moment. It was frustrating, I am on a heater and he is on an out lap. Was it good TV?"
It certainly was, Daniel.