Ricciardo's ready to play F1 catch-up

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IOL mot apr17 Daniel Ricciardo

Shanghai - Daniel Ricciardo said Thursday he hadn't been counting on having his second place in the Australian Grand Prix reinstated on appeal and insisted he had “moved on” from the failed bid.

The Red Bull driver was stripped of the 18 points he would have scored for crossing the line second at his home grand prix in Melbourne - his first podium finish - for a fuel-flow violation.

The team lodged an appeal with governing body FIA, but on Tuesday it was dismissed leaving Ricciardo, who finished fourth in Bahrain, 10th in the drivers' standings on 12 points instead of third on 30.

“Obviously a little bit disappointed (to lose the appeal), but at the same time I had moved on already,” the 24-year-old told reporters ahead of Sunday's Chinese Grand Prix.

“I hoped but I didn't really expect too much to come of it. So that's it.”

Ricciardo added that his priority now was to make up for his lost points, starting this weekend in Shanghai.

“I'm here now in Shanghai. There's no more ifs or buts. I have 12 points and I just have to play catch-up,” he said.

Ricciardo finished ahead of team-mate and reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel in both Australia and Bahrain. But Vettel said he was pleased for the team, and Ricciardo, that he was doing well.

“I'm happy for him. He's doing a very good job,” the four-time world champion said.

“We are both trying to do our best. On my side I'm not where I want to be yet, and there are probably a lot of reasons for that.

“But for sure it is good to see him pushing hard and it's also good to have a benchmark to work to,” added the German.

Vettel thought the team's appeal should have been allowed because, whatever had happened during the race, Ricciardo had not gained any advantage.

“One thing everyone needs to understand, ignoring the result for a second, that whatever (fuel flow) he ran on the day it didn't make his car faster or slower.

RESPECT THE RULES

“Yeah obviously there are rules and you have to respect the rules. And the way they looked at it they came to their conclusion.

“It's a shame because it's a big amount of points lost for Daniel and for the team in the constructors' race. How costly they will be, well, we'll get to know at the end of the season.”

As for his own chances of catching Mercedes as he tries to defend his world championship title, Vettel admitted that the Chinese Grand Prix was not the ideal place to start.

“It's a big gap at the moment. But historically Shanghai was one of the circuits that favoured Mercedes over the years.

“So you would expect them to be strong this year because of that and also because of the shape they are in.”

But he said Red Bull were improving all the time and were getting closer to producing a competitive package.

“We made some improvements in the tests (in Bahrain last week) with the car and also with our power units so we expect to make a step forward here. How big a step? We need to wait and see.”

Sapa-AFP



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