Daniel Ricciardo has apologised to Renault for colliding with team-mate Esteban Ocon at the start of Sunday’s Turkish Grand Prix.
The incident sparked a disappointing race for the French manufacturer that has cost it vital points in the fight for third in the championship.
Australian Ricciardo made a good start from fifth on the grid but was squeezed into the first corner and tapped Ocon into a spin from which neither driver recovered, leaving Renault with just a point from Ricciardo’s 10th-place finish.
But after Racing Point took second and ninth and McLaren fifth and eighth, Renault are now 13 points behind McLaren and 18 adrift of Racing Point.
“Whether it’s a racing incident or not, it’s still the worst scenario if you and your team-mate collide,” said Ricciardo. “I apologised to the team but we obviously had to try to get on with it.
“The actual launch was really good but then I think [Sergio] Perez was there and Max [Verstappen] was coming across to try to get on the drier line. I didn’t have anywhere to go with my good start so I had to come out of it.
“I remember Esteban had the momentum and Lewis [Hamilton] was on the inside, but from memory, I was in a bit of a sandwich and then hit Esteban.”
Points are, of course, scored over 17 races, but every finish counts and in a race where opportunities were there to be had, the incident left Renault on the back foot again after overhauling its rivals with two podiums in the previous three races.
Ricciardo added: “At times we had pace, we were the quickest on track at one point, and then probably two laps later my tyres were dead. I would say a bit of a fight for survival at the end.”
Ocon, who started from seventh, agreed the incident was unavoidable, but said the end result of the race was “rubbish compared to what we could have done” after a blistering start had put him into the mix.
“I was up to third or fourth at the start and then got hit by Daniel,” said Ocon. “It was not his fault because he got hit by Lewis as well, so it was a domino effect through there that sent me into a spin, [then] I got hit again in turn nine.
“It feels like there was a lot more on the table today, potentially a top five or six. It was a great pace but we didn’t make the maximum today. It feels like there is a lot of bad luck going around so hopefully, we will turn it around."
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