Daniel Ricciardo slams Australian Grand Prix stewards over grid penalty

Australian F1 Grand Prix - Qualifying

Daniel Ricciardo has angrily criticised the FIA stewards following his three-place grid penalty for the Australian Grand Prix.

The Australian was penalised following a red flag during FP2 which saw a loose wire on the start/finish straight suspend the session for a few minutes.

Ricciardo backed off sufficiently and slowed down a lot once the red flag was flown, but he did not stay above the new minimum speed in which drivers have to adhere too this year under red flag conditions.

The slight change to the rules, whereas before a driver just had to slow sufficiently, caught the Australian out as he headed to the pits.

Ricciardo said: "They could have given a reprimand, they could have given something [else].

"To give me a grid penalty before the season has started is ****house.

"I slowed down. I knew there was a red flag, I didn't go slow enough. When I went in there [the stewards' office] I said I did break that rule, but there are guidelines and one of them is a grid-place penalty, but as well you've got to have a bit of common sense."

It was unusual to hear one of F1's calmest, funniest, and usually happiest drivers vent such frustration, which has only really been seen recently at Monaco back in 2016 and Hungary last year.

Fans also expressed their displeasure at the penalty, labelling it unfair and too severe for the crime in which was being punished.

Australian F1 Grand Prix - Practice

Particularly as Ricciardo had slowed more than enough to not be a hazard to anyone who may be on the track and that he was heading for the pits anyway with the danger being on the start line. 

Red Bull chief Christian Horner has also had his say, and as expected, he's just as annoyed.

"It's tremendously frustrating. He's marginally committed the offence but as soon as it's triggered and goes to the stewards, the stewards have nowhere to go. I don't think they wanted to give him the penalty they had to.

"It's hard enough for us to understand let alone explain it to the viewers and the fans. You'd have thought a fine or slap on the wrist could have been more appropriate."

Australian F1 Grand Prix - Practice

Horner added: "I've never seen him that angry before."

The penalty didn't allow the Australian a front row start after qualifying, and instead, he will start much lower down the order than he'd hoped and well towards the bottom of the top 10, which will be a shame, especially if the race pace of the Red Bull is as good as it looks like it could be.

"There was no incident, I still slowed down," Ricciardo added.

"I wasn't speeding, I wasn't driving in danger and I wasn't trying to achieve anything from it. It was just an honest mistake.

AUTO-PRIX-F1-AUS

"Does that really rob me of a front-row start? They could give me a reprimand, give me a fine for all I care, but don't rob me of a front-row start."

Ricciardo, though, is a fighter and will come back from this very quickly.

Being one of the bravest and most committed drivers out there, expect plenty of incredible overtakes from the home favourite to help spice up the first race of the season.

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