Daniel Ricciardo’s China F1 win redemption for Red Bull 2016 Monaco GP debacle
Posted By: James Allen  |  22 Apr 2018   |  12:53 pm GMT  |  321 comments

“I’m not sure where we go from here, what to do.

“I was controlling everything I had to. Obviously a big part of it is relying on the team and the strategy. They’ve got to understand what’s going on and learn from it but this win I’ll never get back, that’s a fact.”

Sport can be very cruel sometimes and I’ll never forget the disappointment for Daniel Ricciardo when the Red Bull team’s errors in strategy and also pit stop discipline cost him a certain Monaco Grand Prix win from pole, two years ago.

He said he felt he had been ‘screwed’ by the team; but it’s important to remember that this came two weeks after the team had given him the less favourable strategy in Spain and other win had been lost, to his team mate Max Verstappen.

He has won since, but it’s striking that his stunning Chinese GP win last Sunday was the opposite, the correction, to everything that was wrong about Monaco 2016.

The strategy was on point, the team being very bold when the Safety Car came out and having better tyre performance forecasts than the rivals.

There is a lot of talk at the moment about the automated elements of pit stops and unsafe releases after the difficulties encountered by Ferrari in Bahrain. But the pit stop is still a very human process and one where the team’s discipline is so important.

The Red Bull guys were completely gutted in 2016 on the way home from Monaco. They didn’t have the tyres ready for Ricciardo when he pitted from intermediates to slicks.

The team was resetting from a Verstappen stop when the call was made to bring Ricciardo in.

There are two tyre sets ready for each driver on a rack in the garage at any given time in the race.

The problem was that, because the pit wall in Monaco is above the garage, rather than looking into it, the strategy team missed a simple step in the process, which is to confirm that the tyre set they wanted – a new Supersoft – was actually in the garage. It was in fact around the back.

Everything perfect from the people behind the scenes
We focus often on the drivers and their execution, as well as the strategists, who are often exposed and vulnerable in their decision making. They are aiming at a moving target. Get it wrong and all the armchair experts around the world have a comment ready on your mistake.

But the mechanics practice pit stops over and over, both at the factory and during the race weekend and the team managers have to review every error and detail to find a solution or a workaround.

Just like the car is constantly developed and iterated, so the processes around key procedures like the pit stops are meticulously worked on.

They push the car in for practice stops, so it’s hard to practice double stops. They have an exact measure of the gap needed to pull off a double stop, without it losing the second car valuable race time and track positions.

The doubly sweet element of Ricciardo’s win as far as the boys on the shop floor were concerned is that they pulled off two double stops in China and Ricciardo was the second car in both cases.

We move on very quickly in F1 and who knows, maybe Red Bull will have a bad day on strategy or pit stops in Baku next weekend.

But credit where it’s due. Ricciardo didn’t know how to move on after Monaco 2016. He felt the pain of an individual let down by his team.

China was payback time. Who knows whether he will stay with the team or move on to Mercedes or Ferrari in 2019. But that was one win achieved as a team and it will take a long time and lots of bad days to erase that memory of what it’s like when everything works.

All photos: Motorsport Images

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Belated comment but an interesting comparison. Although Ricciardo rightly got many plaudits for his win in China, what struck me too was how much of a team win it was. The mechanics fixing the car on Saturday between free practice and qualifying; the pitwall making great strategy calls; the pitlane double-stacking; and the car being designed effectively enough to challenge for the win. It felt like the ultimate team victory, with the driver adding his own value and flair with those overtakes in the final stint.

The article also touches on a wider philosophical point for me. Whether you call it luck, or whether you call it good/bad calls/actions by the team (it is arguably both), do these sort of things even out over a driver’s career? People often consider Mark Webber an unlucky driver, for instance, and Sebastian Vettel a lucky one. Yet, in some analysis a rival website did towards the end of their tenure as team-mates, the difference in good/bad decisions (or mechanical failures) (or good/bad luck if you prefer) experienced by the two was actually about even. Overall, I would say they do, but I’m sure you can make cases for and against (Dani Pedrosa in MotoGP anyone?).


To label this as a right for the wronging, is a stretch at best.

Dan was still behind Max and had plenty to do to win the race. Red Bull didn’t hand him the win.

Tornillo Amarillo

If RIC goes to Ferrari, in December Merc should decide Bottas vs Ocon.

It could be Bottas if the team wins again the WCC, but Ocon if they don’t.

I don’t really think Renault will let Sainz go anywhere.


@ TA…I don’t think Renault have any skin in the game. Sainz belongs to Red Bull.


Really dont know what the fuss is all about his victory, ya he won but that was purely due to the strategy and their position in the race when the SC came out. On outright pace redbull are still a distant 3rd. Enjoy it Danny till it lasts


On outright pace redbull are still a distant 3rd

Thats what makes the win special.


The Red Bull strategy after SC of course gave Ricciardo the chance for victory, but come on…, if you can’t recognise or acknowledge the skill he showed with those overtakes then you’re watching the wrong sport.

Perhaps you’d prefer we go back to the normally scheduled programming of the last few years. Fastest car, front row of grid, lead from the start and a slower procession behind. No thanks!


This Ricciardo is like a drama queen! High on emotions and expressions…


Not sure what all the Red Bull hoopla is about. Red Bull won because of the safety car, which is as artificial as DRS. It’s a make believe series. A lesser car wins because of some artifact and all of a sudden he’s a hero. It’s all part of the promoters looking for any reason to justify a formula and sell tickets to an event that only has 4 cars capable of winning a race on their own merits.


@ Craig…We all have opinions and some have a great deal more credibilty than others. I offer this comment up to you for consideration. The Editor in Chief of the highly esteemed Autosport had this to say, ” He [ Ricciardo ] brings a little magic to a team. He has the consistent ability to make things happen, to force the issue in a race situation that few others can do”. Now that speaks volumes to a talent that is, IMO, all too rare despite all F1 drivers exhibiting a high degree of skills.


Few others can do indeed nice comment….I see a bit of Mansell and Montoya in the way Dan races!


Interesting theory Craig, though you would have to add yellow flags to your list of “artificial” issues in your “make believe series”. Since the safety car is an evolution of the yellow flags, both introduced to avoid accidents (and serious injury/death) They are and have been a permanent fixture in formula one (and motor sport in general) for a very long time (I’ll let you study the history for exactly when and why at your own pace)

They definitely benefited from, but didn’t win as a result of the safety car. They won not only from making a strategic decision to change to fresh tyres at a critical moment in the race, but because DR was able to then successfully pilot, his now better equipped car, cleanly past other cars (in contrast to his team mate who was unable to take advantage of his “lesser car”) It may surprise you, but this scenario would have been factored into the race strategy of all the teams prior to the race (as such possibilities have been calculated for a very, very long time in the sport) Mercedes for example considered bringing Hamilton in, but based there decision not to, on the performance of tyres (across all the teams) earlier in the race (oh yes, another “artifact” that will be upsetting to you)

I am not a fan of DRS, though to be fair they have improved the deployment zones a lot since the early days of its inception and generally it counters the long standing issue of not being able to follow anther car in its dirty air, without giving too much of an advantage to the catching car. I am interested to see what Brawn and the teams come up with to solve that problem, so that perhaps they can do away with DRS altogether.

Onto your point about DR “all of a sudden he’s a hero” – you must not have been paying much attention to his previous five wins over the past four seasons, all from starting outside the top three. The guy hasn’t just appeared from nowhere and the result in China was due in part to the skills he has established since he was a small child racing karts, right through to the F1 specific talents he has honed since 2011. Not to forget his mechanics who got his engine changed last minute in Qualifying.

Finally, the promoters are not involved in the decision to deploy yellow flags, safety cars, black flags, blue flags, red flags etc etc. This is determined by the race director who reports to the governing body of motorsport, the FIA. One of the FIAs main responsibilities is safety and when you eventually take the time to look back into the history of the sport, you will discover that drivers/marshals/fans were regularly killed and injured during a race weekend. So no, the safety car was not sent out by request of Liberty media (the promoter) or the Illuminati or any other form of artificially intelligent being, but a very experienced man by the name of Charlie Whiting who has been involved in F1 since 1988 and making these decisions as race director since 1997.

Please take some time to immerse yourself in the history of this great sport, I promise you will get a lot more enjoyment out of it if you do.


The race was great and RB were the best in the pit and with strategy

What I’m getting tired of is the Dan going to talk

He says he has no offers from Merc or Ferrari and only Red Bull have shown interest in the media

Cut the crap please all you F1 Journo’s and let this all happen and please report on fact not hear say

Thanks guys


@ Kenneth

Oh no, I reckon Lewis was telling the truth in that it would be a privilege to race with Ricciardo because he was asked the same question about an Alonso partnership and flat out said that is not a good idea


The past is the past and i don’t see any point bringing it up here. We need to let it go and hopefully so has Ric….The win in China was well deserved and he and a great team effort.


if ricciardo is thinking of his chinese victory as redemption then he’s got a completely wrong objective or mindset.

2018 cars do look better than all cars of the past.


@ Aveli…could you please highlight for me the comments that state that DR sees the China win as any sort of redemption…..The waste gate must still be open.


are you used to people doing things for you? have you not heard of rtfa? read the effing article. i new you were a bit slow but not this slow.


As interesting as the story is from JA, it is compete and utter conjecture and opinion. There is not one single quote from DR about China this year being redemption for Monaco 2016, and after the Chinese race not a single question in the presser about it either. So your comment is complete rubbish.


are you suggesting the article is complete rubbish?


@ Luke agree absolutely.There is absolutely no connection. What’s more there never will be.


I also went up to check the tagline because I found it hard to believe that James had written this.

For a driver who has only really won anything by luck, when those ahead had issues I find this constant whining extremely tiresome.

He is becoming as bad as Webber and a part of it is the same fans and their mindset.


I fail to see any connection between the two events.


i hope failure is not habitual for you..


@ TimW

Yes, I was talking to you. Regards team harmony, well I guess what Wolff was referring to is that having equally competitive teammates will evidently lead to flash points and collisions both on and off track


Goferet, I think he is actually talking about a bit of needle between the drivers making them more determined to beat each other, but now he thinks that having a good atmosphere is more beneficial. There’s no reason why those two drivers couldn’t work well together.


Even as a fan of the McLaren way of racing with two equal drivers, I cannot think of a single instance where two competitive drivers in a championship contender have “worked well together”.


I think the crew replacing his engine in time to get him out for a flying lap in qualifying was as big if not bigger than anything that happened on race day, that was something they all can be really proud of.


Ok so DR did some great overtakes in China. But we need to put this into perspective. He was only on the best tyres due to RBR taking a gamble which payed off massively, along with Merc not taking their chance. Oh and Max crashing out. Oh and Max taking out Vettel. Oh and Bottas not being able to defend.

DR deserves a chance but racing against Vettel at Ferrari is a different league and the pressure will be like nothing he had before. I am not a Vettal fan but it cannot be denied he has learnt his stripes at Ferrari.


unless we witness vettel racing against ricciardo at ferrari, we can’t be sure of the outcome. we can only base our opinion on their last encounter. as a racer ricciardo would prefer a different challenge at mercedes but i doubt he’d say no to a ferrari drive…


Mate are you watching F1 or not

Throughout the last 6 years races and results are affected by the safety car

As Dan said after the race he just needs a chance with or without a fat lip to win in a top and consistent car

And the Vettel comment is just crazy unless they take Dan and then Kimi him I just don’t see how Seb would do anything but learn how to overtake cleanly


How is racing Vettel at Ferrari different to racing Vettel at RB? Particularly when he was the incumbent 4x wdc? He beat him the frst time and he’ll beat him again given equal status. I would argue that Dan’s assignment against Max has been a lot more difficult than anything he had to deal with facing Vettel.

I also disagree with your assertion that Vet learnt his stripes at Ferrari…if last year was anything to go by. He basically threw away the WDC title…


I agree with every word in this post!


@LKFE – The one thing that might be different is that Vettel might be a 5x WDC, as Ferrari are agressively backing him this year. If Vettel delivers that, Ricciardo will find the Ferrari team of 2019 might be very different animal to the the Red Bull team of 2014 .


How is racing Vettel at Ferrari different to racing Vettel at RB

Totally different cars. There’s a slim chance Vettel won’t be as slow as he was in that 2014 RB.

If it was so black and white Ferrari would have just hired Kyvat as their no.1 driver.


He beat Vettel convincingly. He did lose to Kvyat though, on points. So anything COULD happen, if you take those two instances.



This is not a criticism of what you’ve written but the narrative by some that Kvyat has “beaten” Ricciardo needs to be put into perspective. Ok, Kvyat got 3 more points than DR in ’15 but the score line as team mates during their total time together was: Points – Ricciardo 128, Kvyat 116 Qualifying – Ricciardo 16, Kvyat 7.

In terms of DR versus Vergne while Vergne got 6 more points in ’12 the total ’12/13 score card was Points – Ricciardo 30, Vergne 29 Qualifying – Ricciardo 30, Vergne 9.

My understanding is that this telling differential in Qualifying is what got DR the drive in RB.


@KRB, I’m one of those that argues in RIC’s favour on the point that it’s all about WDC points, when it comes to his performance versus Max. Max has clearly been edging him in qualy and has out performed him in some races. This has led many to believe that Max is a a future this, and a future that…

In pointing out the WDC point differential, i am highlighting that there’s a key ingredient missing in all the MV hyperbole, and it’s an ingredient that RIC has in spades…the abaility to be quick AND stay out of trouble…consistency.

As you say…it’s not the be all and end all…but it does point to the difference between Max and Dan.

As for Kvyat -his first season in the RB was a very good one in the context of the cars performance. He had some memorable drives (Monaco, Hungary, Belgium) and he outshone RIC on track, even if he was outqualified. It didn’t last into 2016 though, and the wheels very quickly fell off when the stakes were raised. Again i would say that Ric outlasted him with consistency.


Adrian I don’t disagree. That’s why I said:

He did lose to Kvyat though, on points

He did end up behind Kvyat on points in 2015. Of course, it was clear who was the better driver still. Points alone do not tell the whole story. Some here though cling to it as the be all, end all, so if I’ve thrown this in their face, it’s only because of their slavish devotion to the points idol.


I refuse to believe that RIC is a better overall racer than Vettel. Vettel would have been affected by the changed car from 2013 to 2014, or he was in the negotiations with Ferrari, or he took the way out of RB by under performing in the first half of 2014. Hopefully, we will get a chance to see if RIC really is the better driver in 2019 in a Ferrari.


@mcbhargav…so the difference between the cars was the reason but exactly the same difference occurred for Ricciardo as well? You’ll have to do better than that i’m afraid.


Would rather see a battle with HAM at merc than go over old ground.


That’s right; he made great overtaking moves stick when his team-mate couldn’t. By the time Verstappen and Vettel came together, Ricciardo was already out of reach.

Is racing against Vettel in a Ferrari a different league to racing against him in a Red Bull? Vettel was the well established incumbent, indeed the reigning champion, back in 2014 when Ricciardo arrived and look what happened there. Ricciardo will be fine.


Wherever he goes it needs to be a works team, anywhere else and its career over.

More than likely I see him staying at Red Bull – better the devil you know, although Sainz ongoing performance in the Renault may be key..


You missed two words it seems: although Sainz ongoing lack of performance


Monaco 2016 was a bummer for DR, but he’s not the first to have lost a race because of a bad pit stop. I mean, drivers have lost a WDC because of bad pit stops or strategy. I can’t really understand why it’s getting brought up again….. but it was a great race anyhow!

I’m hoping Danny Ric goes to Merc or Ferrari.

Ferrari, because he’s never gonna be a Nr 2. And I’d like to see him up against Vettel again….. on equal terms, just to see if Vettel still smiles😊

But I think he will be better suited at Merc. I have no doubt that he will get the same terms as Lewis. And I wanna see him up against Lewis in the same machinery.

But good luck to DR. Hope he ends up where he wants to be and gets where he wants to go! He deserves it👍


“China win ≠ Monaco win” said James Allen to himself into the mirror while shaving.


Not really…

But teamwork, payback

Tornillo Amarillo

Who knows whether he will stay with the team or move on to Mercedes or Ferrari in 2019.

I think I know… RIC won’t stay at Red Bull in 2019, I’m sure.

If you were RIC, do you stay next year with an unreliable PU like Renault or worse with a new partner Honda who has recently shown three horrible-long years at McLaren?

If you are RIC and you have any offer from Merc or Ferrari, you must take it.

And if you are Merc or Ferrari, you have the opportunity to steal a top driver from competition for a relatively low salary that you know will deliver a WCC, even a WDC.


DR needs to escape Red Bull. Webber, Vettel, and Kvyat will tell him about just how far team loyalty goes with Red Bull. As a Ferrari fan, I would like to see him with Ferrari next year.

Tornillo Amarillo

It’s said RIC have accepted from Ferrari an option ($$) to negotiate with exclusivity until June 30th.



Ricci’s father was born in Sicily and his mother was born in Australia to Italian parents. He has an infectious animated personality and he can speak Italian. He is better than old Raikkonen. Therefore Ferrari are definitely interested in securing his services.


Drivers should stop complaining about their team in public. They get payed, (a lot!), but basically they are an employee of a company like you and me. If I would complain about my employer in that way, I doubt I would receive a Christmas bonus to say at least. Then regarding the payback to Riccardo for the mishap in Monaco, (2 years ago!). There is no such thing, all team members will try their best and sometimes an error will occur. Hooray for that by the way, if everything would be executed perfectly, races will become even more boring.


As heartwarming as the story is, i personally don’t believe that it was Red Bull’s intention to orchestrate a win for RIC. They were prioritizing a win for VER primarily – they had nothing to lose by simultaneously pitting their drivers with a potential of achieving a 1-2 finish. VER succumbed to the pressure and RIC benefited.



Verstappen succumbed to the pressure, and DR didn’t, showing his talent as a complete driver imho.


Red Bull gave both drivers equal chance to win by double decking the pit stops. Since VER was ahead therefore he had a bigger chance to win. if they were prioritizing a win for VER, then they would pit in RIC a lap after VER.


Disagree they calculated they could double box without a significant disadvantage and to wait another lap would have shown clear negligence to Ricci’s interest and the Manufacturers championship. RB still favour the Dutchman due to Austrian not Australian ownership!


I agree, I think this shows Red Bull were playing it equal.


I think it’s pretty safe to say that Danny Ric won’t be at RBR next season.

Personally I’d love to see him alongside Lewis at Mercedes.


Its good for Merc. and good for Lewis. He deserve a much needed kick of that competitiveness.


Great article but I’d prefer to keep the two redemptions seperate….China win was for China 2016 when is tyre blew while in the lead, crawled along way back to the pits for a new set….while early in the race I think he showed some serious heat all weekend so a win was not out of the question…..anyway still managed to scramble back and finish 4th.

Monaco 2016? Well that spicy badger steak is still smouldering on the back burner!


There was that other time when the team cost DR 2nd place at his real home GP due to the fuel flow sensor issue – considering Aussies have a really poor history at the Australian GP, this would of hurt DR too. But, I think this too will be reconciled when he makes the move to Ferrari for 2019.

If DR hasn’t read or had Mark Webber personally read him his book, “The essential guide to being not bad for a #2 driver”, then I would be very surprised. To stay with RB (good or bad car) is a bad idea.

I’d also look to Australia’s last F1 WC, Alan Jones. Ferrari tried to get him onboard in the 80’s and he messed up the chance, and has regretted it ever since. I’m pretty sure Jonesy has Italian roots too (he definitely has a massive love of Ferrari) and I think that the Italian genes in DR will direct him only one way – if the opportunity presents itself. That is why I think there is no way he will be sitting alongside Lewis next year. If you combine the passion DR will have for Ferrari, with the passion he has to fight for a win, we may see something pretty special happen in 2019.

Ferrari have there ups and downs, but even when they make a dog of a car (95/96) they still manage a win here and there. Alonso made a fair call when he said he wanted to win WC and not just finish runner up – sadly this gamble didn’t pay off, but for where DR is career-wise, I would take the punt. Ferrari also have form with favouritism, but so long as DR doesn’t sign a contract that limits him in this way, I think he will show up Vettel on track.

I feel sorry for Kimi, because he is a solid driver, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he picked up a drive with someone else. Money would be the main reason he didn’t get signed elsewhere, but I’m sure Williams could use his experience.

Get your tickets to the 2019 Melbourne GP early – the tifosi in Melbourne will lose their minds if an Aussie in a Ferrari rocks up.

So here is to hearing the Australian and Italian national anthem playing together regularly in 2019…


another reason for DR to join Ferrari is that MERC has won the last 4 WC. Statistically means MERC is closer to the end of its winning period however Ferrari is on rising cycle which makes it favorable team to win WC in near future (if not this year).


@ Marbles…good post. You forgot to mention that Ferrari tried very very hard to get mark Webber on board…twice. Webber stayed at Red Bull as he explained because he was losing motivation and he didn’t want all the difficulty in joining a new team at that stage of his career.


You are quite right Kenneth. Thanks, I had forgotten about that bit.

There was one other time he nearly joined Ferrari in 2011, at the bottom of eau rouge…


The RBR strategists in Monaco 2016 biggest mistake was watching what the opposition is doing on a track where 99% of strategy is track psotition. They could have put DR on Kenworth Truck rubber while Merc put LH on marshmallow softs and with the lead DR still would have easily won. They panicked for no apparent reason and changed tyre type at the last minute, because of what Mercedes was doing. It was never the shop floor guys fault.

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