Daniel Ricciardo has been given a three-place penalty for driving too fast under Red Flag conditions during Free Practice 2 at the Australian Grand Prix.
The Red Bull driver’s penalty is somewhat controversial. The Red Flag period was due to a loose timing wire on the start/finish line, meaning the incident was on a part of the track which Ricciardo would not drive past on his lap. There were no marshals on any other part of the track. Nevertheless, rules are rules, and Ricciardo failed to set a time above the minimum time on his lap under the Red Flag. He’ll start a best of fourth on the grid on Sunday.
The FIA are clamping down on issues like this during the 2018 season, but Ricciardo was spared a larger penalty than usual as data showed he had significantly slowed in certain parts of the track. The Australian was also given two penalty points.
Ricciardo wasn’t the only driver from the Red Bull family to be in trouble with the stewards on Friday, as both Toro Rosso drivers were given fines for speeding in the pit-lane. Brendon Hartley was given a €200 fine, while Pierre Gasly was given a fine of €600 for exceeding the 60km/h pit-lane speed limit by 5.9km/h.
Can Ricciardo turn around his bad luck at his home event? Qualifying begins at 6am (UK Time) on Saturday.
After graduating in 2015 with a First Class honours degree in English Language and Literature, Nicky Haldenby, a lifelong fan of Formula 1, founded the Lights Out F1 Blog in 2016. Now in its sixth season, the blog has become a firm fan-favourite, delving deep into the sport’s history books and lifting the cover on unusual F1 statistics. Nicky also writes at F1Destinations and Motorsport Guides. In 2017 and 2018, he wrote for Badger GP. Nicky is also the host of the F1 Rewind Podcast and can be heard as the resident stats man on the 2 Soft Compounds Podcast.