Daniel Ricciardo talks about the Turn 1 incident with Valtteri Bottas in F1 Mexico GP as Andreas Seidl and Toto Wolff speak on no penalty.

Mercedes’ Bottas, having took pole, started the race from the racing line, but upon his start he left the door open for Red Bull’s Max Verstappen to take the lead from the outside, one of the reasons for Lewis Hamilton to be behind the Dutchman even further.

McLaren’s Ricciardo started perfectly from seventh and as he turned into the corner, the Aussie locked his front right wheel and ended up colliding with Bottas, resulting in a mess for both of their races going forward in F1 Mexico GP.

Interestingly, the move termed as a racing incident, even though the resultant scene took out couple of drivers. The two met again after Bottas got stuck behind Ricciardo, but it was tough to get through the McLaren, with the engine and circuit characteristics in general.

While Mercedes did try to win the place via strategy, a slow stop didn’t help Bottas, leaving him still outside of points. Both finished the race but had to struggle from behind to get through the traffic, with Ricciardo ending up 12th and Bottas finishing 15th.

Post-race, Ricciardo was apologetic towards Bottas – without having watched the replay. He reckoned he was the one who came from behind but noted the gap being open to try. But after watching the replay, he thought it to be a racing incident. The Finn did feel he ruined his race but he understood it wasn’t done on purpose.

Ricciardo (before watching the replay): “There was definitely a lot going on. I still haven’t seen a, let’s say, a full replay, so the first few hundred meters down to Turn 1, I mean to be honest, they’re always fun here because there’s so many slipstreams and it’s dusty, it’s kind of chaos but there is some form of fun in the chaos, but then under braking I remember there was room on the inside with Perez, so there was a gap and it’s one of those ones if you don’t go for a gap, someone else will and you can easily just get swallowed up.

“So, at that time I think it was, let’s say, a reasonable bit of space to go for and I think from memory it felt fairly under control in the first part of braking and then as we got closer to the apex, obviously everyone starts to close in and then at the last moment obviously you try and slow the car up and I locked a little bit and at that moment obviously Valtteri come across, so a combination of that and I guess him, we obviously hit.

“So I apologise to him. I haven’t, again, without really seeing it, but I’m the one that went into him, so of course, I at the very least I’ll say sorry for now and see if there’s much I could have done or if it’s just simply a Turn 1 incident of a bottleneck kind of thing but regardless of that I think it was obviously looking good for a few hundred meters and obviously it turned around pretty quickly so that was the race and then a long a long 70 laps after that.”

Ricciardo (after replay): “My memory of turn one was that obviously I had a very good start, and it was looking pretty good. I went to the inside of Perez and I do remember locking at one point. Replaying it in my head over the next 70 laps, I thought I locked and went up into Valtteri. So I was kind of obviously kicking myself.

“But then looking at the replay, it looked like I locked in the straightline phase and then actually recovered before turning in. And it looked like there was just not enough room. Obviously Valtteri came across, probably expecting to have a bit of clear track, and then there was Perez and me. So I don’t really blame Valtteri, obviously. I’m the one that hit him. But honestly, looking at the replay, I just think it’s a first lap incident and a matter of maybe me being optimistic.”

Bottas: “It went downhill with a spin in Turn 1 after a hit from Daniel, the race was compromised and the best chance we had to get by was stopping before but pit stop didn’t work and just following other cars with engine and brakes overheating bit more of an issue than we thought. Ricciardo really ruined my day today but I’m sure he didn’t do the initial hit on purpose, it compromised his race as well, but he was not ideal for my race. I tried to get by him couple of times but it didn’t work. It was tricky. Obviously they have the same power unit we have, they have good straight-line speed and he was defending well. I just couldn’t find a way past him.”

Their team bosses, meanwhile, had different opinions. While McLaren’s Seidl thought it to be a racing incident, Mercedes’ Wolff thought they could have pressed the FIA stewards to look into it. The Race Director, Michael Masi stated that the stewards interpreted it as a racing incident, even though it felt similar to Turkey situation.

Seidl: “It was a racing incident. Daniel managed to make the apex and at the same time Valtteri was crossing in from the outside quite sharply and there were a lot of cars around him. Therefore I would say it was a racing incident.”

Wolff: “I think the stewards’ should have a look into it but at that point…in hindsight, it was surprising that they didn’t look at a penalty. The race is done now, it doesn’t give us any benefit if Daniel gets penalised for the next race. It would have helped in the race but at that moment our train has left the station anyway. The incident happened and in a way, we could have maybe scored a few points more but that is not what we are aiming for and McLaren had a tough weekend on their own.”

Masi: “No, I don’t think there is a lack of consistency because you have to treat everything on its merits. You have to look at each and every incident and see how it goes. For starters, Turkey was wet, this was dry. It was a completely different corner configuration. There are a whole lot of things so no, I don’t think there is.

“I haven’t looked at the incident a great deal, in any detail whatsoever. I had a cursory look at it during the replay and that was it. That could be the scenario of looking at the proximity of all the cars, looking at where they are compared to each other. There is a whole load of different factors that come into it so the stewards’ view was that, on this occasion, it was interpreted as a racing incident.”

Here’s the collision between Daniel Ricciardo and Valtteri Bottas: https://www.formula1.com/en/latest/video.2021-mexico-city-grand-prix-bottas-and-ricciardo-collide-at-start.1715803463033462139.html

The story was co-written by Oprah Sagal

Here’s Lewis Hamilton on Valtteri Bottas

Here’s Valtteri Bottas on Turn 1 move from Max Verstappen