It was another raw deal weekend for Daniel Ricciardo, the Red Bull driver retiring early on from the US Grand Prix with a power unit issue.
The Aussie was optimistic beforehand about his chances of securing a podium finish at COTA after lining up fourth on the grid, a position he held on to for 8 laps before the gremlins crept in.
“It’s a crying shame for Daniel, I feel so sorry for him,” said Red Bull team boss Christian Horner, speaking to Sky F1.
“It looks identical to the power unit issue he had in Bahrain where it’s just gone into complete shutdown – you could see it mid-corner.
“He was driving a strong Grand Prix and would have been right there too. It’s so frustrating for him.
“He’s taken out his frustration in his room by putting his fist through the wall which you can totally relate to.”
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The irony of Ricciardo’s demise – rooted in the failure of an engine supplied by his future employer – wasn’t lost on Horner.
“I’m sure he’ll be having a word with his future employers about it – it’s so frustrating to keep losing him from races at the moment,” he added.
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“He doesn’t blame the team in any way, he knows we are doing everything we can, it’s just one of those things.
“Hopefully we’ve got enough components in our [engine] pool for him not to take a penalty [in Mexico].”
For Red Bull, Ricciardo’s setback was mitigated by Max Verstappen’s outstanding run from P18 to second, a performance that bodes well for the Milton Keynes-based outfit in Mexico next week.
“I think both guys can be strong in Mexico. We won it well last year, a really dominant win for us [with Verstappen],” added Horner.
“At that altitude the engines can’t breathe and it brings it all closer together, and that gives us a chance.
“We’re lacking that horsepower, and this will give us a fairer chance on a Saturday, and you can see we’ve got a good race car.”
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