Luckless Ricciardo adopts brave face after RB crash woe

Daniel Ricciardo has dismissed the latest calamity in his dismal Formula One season as “just one of those things”, adamant his first-lap crash at the Japanese Grand Prix wasn’t down to him being a driver under pressure.

The Australian RB pilot’s collision with Alex Albon’s Williams less than half a minute into Sunday’s Suzuka race was investigated by the stewards, with both eventually being cleared over the incident that left them hitting the barriers but fortunately emerging unscathed.

But the 34-year-old Ricciardo was insistent it wasn’t another symptom of his struggles over a season in which he has been outdriven by his Japanese teammate Yuki Tsunoda and has yet to score a point.

Ricciardo, returning to the pits after the crash, called it "one of those things".

“I don't look at today and think 'oh, man this year’, like when it rains, it pours, or whatever. I feel it was just one of those things,” Ricciardo shrugged afterwards.

“We know that across 24 races, it's likely that maybe I'm involved in another lap-one incident, there's just probability that these things kind of happen. 

“It obviously sucks when they do, but I don't look at it any more than today being a kind of singular incident.”

Nonetheless, an early retirement to go with his 13th, 16th and 12th place finishes in the first three races represents a terrible start to what shapes as a pivotal season for Ricciardo.

In yet another race won by Red Bull's Max Verstappen, Tsunoda went on to finish 10th in front of his home fans and has now gathered all seven of RB’s points in the championship this season.

Ricciardo, in contrast, is increasingly under pressure to show he is not a fading force after his previous underwhelming stint at McLaren.

In the incident, Ricciardo’s attention seemed to be on the threat of Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll as he edged into Albon's space and the two cars collided, spinning off the track and leading to the race being red-flagged.

On the radio, Albon said that "he just squeezed me, I had nowhere to go” but stewards accepted it was just a racing incident.

Piastri not great weekend
Oscar Piastri reckons it was "not the greatest of weekends" after he finished eighth

Another late incident involving an Australian driver was also looked at by the stewards after McLaren's Melburnian Oscar Piastri and Mercedes' George Russell made contact at the final chicane as the English driver tried to overtake.

“He (Russell) gave me nowhere to go so I had to cut,” Piastri complained over team radio, although he managed to keep his seventh place despite briefly going off-track.

But Piastri was eventually overtaken when running wide on the final lap and had to settle for eighth.

“I just made a bit of a mistake into the last chicane, locked up a bit and that was it,” Piastri sighed.

“For myself, it’s not been the greatest of weekends, so I also need to look internally but I think, for sure, we need to find a little bit of a pace in the car as well.”

Piastri is sixth in the championship standings on 32 points, five behind his fifth-placed teammate Lando Norris, with champion Verstappen on his way to another title, leading on 77 points.

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