What could have been a superb afternoon at Sepang turned into another nightmare for Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo, who ran strongly in fourth place until lap 41, when he pitted for fresh rubber and his crew proceeded to seriously botch his pit stop.
The mechanics tending to the left hand side front were not finished with their task, but Ricciardo was released with a wobbly front wheel. He stopped midway up the pitlane and had to be pushed back to his pit bay for work to rectify the ill fitting wheel.
Not long after bad turned really ugly as a front wing failure then forced him back into the pits which, coupled to a 10 second stop-go penalty, eliminated any chance of a points finish for the ever-smiling Australian. He retired from the race on lap 53.
After the race the Malaysia stewards confirmed that a 10-place grid drop would be imposed for the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Ricciardo said after his race, “I am disappointed, it was looking like we could have a solid points finish and I was starting to mix it up at the front but at the last pit stop there were all the problems so the race ended pretty quickly for me.”
Two weeks earlier, on home soil, Ricciardo was disqualified from second place in the Australian Grand Prix.
At last year’s German Grand Prix Red Bull were fined € 30 000 for an unsafe pit release, which resulted in a wheel flying off Mark Webber’s car in the pitlane, injuring an FOM cameraman who was struck by the loose wheel. (GP247)
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