Why Daniel Ricciardo Wasn’t Worried About His Time Penalty During the Russian GP

Published 10/01/2020, 6:37 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Russian Grand Prix – Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia – Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo during the press conference FIA/Handout via REUTERS


The Russian Grand Prix brought an element of drama to the action. Not through actual racing, but through the time penalties imposed. And one of the drivers to receive a penalty was Daniel Ricciardo.

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Renowned for an incredibly sharp Turn 2, the Sochi Autodrom has brought pain to many drivers over the years. Even this time, many drivers voiced their opinion over the run-off area at the circuit.

Notably, Daniel Ricciardo and Alex Albon took 5-second penalties for not following the Race Director’s instructions. But from a strategic point of view, was that their only option to make up places?

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Daniel Ricciardo would have lost time doing the ‘correct action’

While obviously receiving penalties is not the right way to go about it, the other areas of the track did not exactly offer much promise. Daniel Ricciardo saw an opportunity. And he stuck to driving on through the kerb, before getting ahead of teammate Esteban Ocon.

Formula One F1 – Russian Grand Prix – Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia – Renault’s Esteban Ocon and Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo in action during the race. Pool via REUTERS/Pavel Golovkin

Detailing those moves in his analysis report, former F1 driver Jolyon Palmer said, “Daniel Ricciardo and Alex Albon were both penalised for opting not to take the run off. And actually because the time loss is so high in doing it the penalty didn’t affect them too much.

“This shows why Daniel Ricciardo was not overly worried by his five-second penalty. It would have cost him something similar to go through the run off anyway, by the time he hadn’t made it back in front of the Turn 2 exit kerb.”

Turn 2 at the Sochi Autodrom is the only place that allows overtaking opportunities. And with other spaces quite restricted, that was where Ricciardo went for the kill.

Ricciardo eventually overtook Vettel and finished P5

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In the race, Renault gave Esteban Ocon quite a few chances to overtake Vettel, who was roughly a second in front. But when he failed to do so, Ricciardo took up the initiative. Even though they did not particularly engineer the move in tandem.

The penalty did not affect Ricciardo in the long term. He eventually finished 10 seconds in front of his nearest rival, Charles Leclerc.

Formula One F1 – Russian Grand Prix – Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia – Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo before the race. Pool via REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

Daniel Ricciardo has been in good form recently; finishing 4th and 5th in Mugello and Sochi respectively, the next objective, naturally, is a podium finish.

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Despite having been with Renault for two seasons now, the Australian driver has not won a trophy to show for it. And before his move to McLaren at the end of the year, he will hope to deliver one for the French team.

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Bhargav Gopal

927 articles

Hailing from Bengaluru, Bhargav is an F1 and NASCAR author for EssentiallySports. He is a huge fan of Max Verstappen and Red Bull Racing. Bhargav also has an MBA in Sports Management from the Symbiosis School of Sports Sciences, Pune.

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