Australian Grand Prix: Daniel Ricciardo receives three-place grid penalty

By @saihoops on
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, Australian Grand Prix
Formula One F1 - Australian Grand Prix - Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit, Melbourne, Australia - March 23, 2018 Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo during practice Reuters / Brandon Malone

Australian star driver Daniel Ricciardo’s horrid luck at his home Grand Prix continued Friday when a red flag for debris on the track ruined his second practice session. As a result, the Red Bull Racing driver was handed a three-place grid penalty and two penalty points ahead of Sunday's Australian Grand Prix at Melbourne's Albert Park.

A year ago, Ricciardo received a five-place grid penalty for an unscheduled gearbox change before retiring early. In 2016, Ricciardo set the fastest lap but couldn't secure a podium finish in front of his home fans. In 2014, Ricciardo initially finished second but was later disqualified for breaching fuel consumption rules. And in 2013, the Aussie finished 19th on the grid. 

Speaking after the day’s action, Ricciardo was pleased with his seventh fastest lap. However, the Aussie wasn't aware of his three-spot penalty at the time. "My time was four tenths up, compared to my soft. If I held that, it would be a low 1m24s, so maybe P3/P4. The balance wasn’t perfect, so I wasn’t too bothered. We had quite a lot of understeer. It wasn’t going to jump to P1 (top spot) or anything like that, so we’ve still got a bit of work to do. It was not a bad day," Ricciardo told reporters.

2018 Formula One season gets underway on Sunday

According to AutoSport, Ricciardo was found guilty of staying above the minimum time set by the FIA ECU in the penultimate and final marshalling sectors at the time of a red flag being waived. Ricciardo was then summoned to see the stewards before being slapped with a three-place grid penalty for the opening race of the 2018 Formula One season.

"The stewards reviewed the data and video and found that Ricciardo did in fact fail to stay above the minimum time set by the FIA ECU in the penultimate and final mini marshalling sectors," the report reads.

"The stewards also found that Ricciardo slowed by as much as 175km/h from his fast times at Turn 12 and was consistently and significantly slower in the final three turns, indicating that he was fully complying with the requirements of appendix H of the International Sporting Code," the FIA's report adds. 

As per tradition, the Australian Grand Prix will be the stage for the opening race of the new Formula One season. Sebastian Vettel won last year's opening Grand Prix and seemed prime to win the F1 world championship midway through the season until the Ferrari driver was dealt with multiple engine failures. Stay tuned for the latest news and updates from the 2018 Formula One season.