Under-pressure Ricciardo laments early Japanese GP exit

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DANIEL RICCIARDO said his first-lap crash at Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix was “one of the worst things that could happen” as he tries to overcome a poor start to the season.

The Australian’s race ended when he spun over the grass and slammed into the barriers after the rear of his RB was clipped by Williams’ Alex Albon.

Ricciardo had been under pressure after failing to pick up a point in the first three races of the season.

He was chosen for the RB team alongside Yuki Tsunoda this season but Liam Lawson impressed in a stand-in stint last year and does not have a Formula One seat.

Ricciardo said his early exit at Suzuka was “a shame and an unfortunate one for all of us involved”.

“A lap one incident is one of the worst things that can happen to a driver,” he said.

“Especially as you don’t really have the chance to do anything after the massive build-up and energy used to be prepared for the race.”

Tsunoda finished 10th to pick up a point for RB, two weeks after he came home seventh in Australia.

Ricciardo went into the race after seeing little action in Friday’s practice.

His seat was given to Japanese driver Ayumu Iwasa for the first session and the second practice was spoiled by bad weather.

Ricciardo refused to dwell on the crash and turned his attention towards the Chinese Grand Prix in a fortnight’s time.

“This is racing sometimes and is part of it — not really anyone to blame, there was just a huge difference in terms of grip out there,” he said.

“I’m sorry for the team but China is soon, so we’ll focus on that.” – AFP

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