The inaugural Miami Grand Prix was another race to forget for Daniel Ricciardo and McLaren after the Australian again failed to score championship points.
Despite a promising start in which he moved up two places from 14th on the opening lap, a subsequent strategic error blocked any chances for Riccardo to break out of midfield.
Adding insult to injury, moments after the end of the race – with Ricciardo receiving the checkered flag in 11th place – the stewards gave him a five-second penalty for leaving the track and gaining an advantage.
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The stewards determined that Ricciardo maintained his position in front of Kevin Magnussen by leaving the track at turn 12 and returning alongside the Haas, before using his speed to pass.
As a result, Ricciardo fell to 13th in the post-race standings behind Lance Stroll and Yuki Tsunoda.
In a tire foray gone wrong, Ricciardo was the last driver to make his first pit stop, entering for a fresh set of hard tires on lap 31 of the 57-lap race.
Ricciardo started from eighth but returned to the track in 17th behind a long DRS train, confusing the Sky Sports F1 commentary team.
“All McLaren did was roll him back,” said Ted Kravitz.
On the positive side, Ricciardo finished ahead of his McLaren teammate Lando Norris, who crashed out after making contact with Pierre Gasly.
Norris accident brings out the safety car
Speaking after the race, Ricciardo summed up the lackluster outing.
“There were battles and also some fun times, but it felt like we were defending more than he was attacking. We were doing our best to hold on,” he said.
“I think in the medium stint we were able to go far in the beginning, but I don’t know if we were that fast. I felt like we could at least hold the tire. But then with the hard, I just struggled, really struggled to make it work.
“Towards the end of the race when it all came together, we just couldn’t race with the fastest cars. So we fought hard and I thought I was close to the points there- down, but that just wasn’t enough today.
“We will continue. I think this circuit has certainly played on some of our weaknesses. A lot of long corners, a lot of long straights, so we have to work on that, and I hope Barcelona will suit us a bit. .more, so I’m looking forward to that.”
McLaren leaves Miami fourth in the constructors’ championship, with Ricciardo sitting 11th in the drivers’ standings – four points behind Magnussen.
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