Daniel Ricciardo has taken aim at the driving standards of Sebastian Vettel after the former teammates clashed while battling for fourth place in the closing stages of the Mexican Grand Prix.
Vettel was subsequently promoted to a podium finish after Ricciardo’s Red Bull Racing teammate Max Verstappen was hit with a five-second post-race time penalty for leaving the track and gaining an advantage when he locked up under braking at Turn 1 trying to fend off the German.
Vettel then came under attack from Ricciardo at Turn 4 and appeared to squeeze the Australian under braking as they approached the apex of the left-hander. The pair touched side-by-side, with Ricciardo damaging a tyre and crossing the line in fifth place, which became fourth when Verstappen was penalised.
The FIA Stewards announced that they would investigate the Vettel-Ricciardo stoush, and Ricciardo was quick to liken Vettel’s conduct as hypocritical after he had previously attacked Verstappen for similar antics.
“I feel that I should be on the podium because Seb, I feel, moved under braking,” a frustrated Ricciardo told the assembled media after the race.
“I committed to the inside [of the corner], and then he moved. Sure, I had to move to try not to crash into him, but he kept closing, closing.
“We crashed and then I damaged the tyre, so I could not attack on the last lap. I think we make a protest because for me it is what everyone has been complaining about lately, and he has done it to me today.”
Ricciardo also criticised the apparent inconsistency of the race stewards, who penalised Verstappen while letting race-winner Lewis Hamilton’s similar move at the start of the race go uninvestigated.
“With Max, I saw that he defended and cut the chicane, I think that deserves a penalty. But from what it looked like Lewis did the same thing at the start. So I thought he deserved a penalty also,” Ricciardo added.
“Even if I eventually get third – if we protest and we win – I still want to be on the podium.”
The FIA Stewards are yet to announce their findings into the Vettel/Ricciardo incident at the time of publication.
Images via FOM and Red Bull Content Pool