Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has explained why Daniel Ricciardo suffered a delayed pit stop which cost him victory in the Monaco Grand Prix.
Ricciardo was leading comfortably for the first stint of the race in wet conditions before pitting for intermediate tyres and rejoining behind Lewis Hamilton. Ricciardo caught the Mercedes, with Hamilton pitting one lap earlier for slicks as the track dried.
When Ricciardo came into the pits a lap later his tyres were not ready and he lost out to Hamilton on the pit exit, failing to pass despite putting pressure on the race leader for the rest of the grand prix.
“We were starting on the extreme wets, the pace car was out for a relevant amount of time and then Daniel got his head down on the extreme tyre and had very good pace,” Horner explained after the race. “He pulled away quickly from Rosberg, who seemed to be struggling for pace quite severely and built up approximately a 12 second gap to Rosberg before Hamilton managed to pass.
“The track was obviously improving and improving and at that time the intermediate tyre we could see was 2-3 seconds a lap quicker with a forecast going towards dry conditions. We decided that going to the intermediate before going to the slick is the normal way of going about business and looked to be the sensible thing.
“So we were one of the last to stop for the inters and Lewis elected not to stop, which looked like quite a brave decision and Daniel was able to close quickly the seven seconds back up to him that he lost in the pit stop, but he couldn’t pass him despite a couple of attempts.
“Then it got to that crossover onto the slicks and Lewis elected to go from the extreme tyres and go straight to the slicks and the lap that he went to the slicks he put the ultra-soft tyres on.
“We knew that that was our window of opportunity to get back past him, so Daniel was extremely quick on his in-lap. I think he was about seven or eight seconds quicker than Lewis was on his equivalent outlap, and having seen the Mercedes put on the ultra-soft, the call was made with plenty of time – at least I felt it was plenty of time – for us to go one step harder on the compound and go on to the super-soft. So if we were to come out behind Lewis – it wasn’t clear at that point of the lap how much up or down he would be – we felt that tyre had better range.
“So the call was made to go to the super-soft tyre and based on how we are set up here in Monaco – the pit wall is upstairs and obviously the garage is downstairs – the tyres are on heat both in the garage and behind the garage, and unfortunately the set of tyres that were called for weren’t readily to hand and were at the back of the garage.
“There was a scramble, with the mechanics originally having a soft tyre ready, and when that change was requested to go to the super-soft those tyres were actually right at the back of the garage and couldn’t be got to the car in time. It cost probably about 10 seconds in the stop, and even despite the delay the two drivers were side-by-side when Daniel came out, showing how quick Daniel’s in-lap had been and how slow Lewis’ outlap had been.
“It was gutting for the whole team to lose a victory like that, but we win together and we lose we together and all we can do is apologise to Daniel that we haven’t given him good enough service today. Having done a great job with him to get pole, he had done everything right in the race, and even going to the intermediate tyres I think was the right way to get to the slicks, but unfortunately this communication error between the pit wall upstairs and the tyre management has let us down today.
“Despite that, he had a really good go at attacking Lewis and he got pretty close on the exit of the chicane on one occasion. He didn’t get quite close enough to have the opportunity to get past and we all know how difficult it is to overtake at Monaco. Effectively the race was lost at that pit stop.”
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