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SHANGHAI, CHINA - APRIL 21: Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Visa Cash App RB waves to the crowd on the drivers parade prior to the F1 Grand Prix of China at Shanghai International Circuit on April 21, 2024 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images )

Marko: Unbelievable that Stroll called Ricciardo an idiot

SHANGHAI, CHINA - APRIL 21: Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Visa Cash App RB waves to the crowd on the drivers parade prior to the F1 Grand Prix of China at Shanghai International Circuit on April 21, 2024 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images )

Helmut Marko slammed Lance Stroll’s belligerent reaction and lack of remorse after the Aston Martin driver punted Daniel Ricciardo out of the 2024 Chinese Grand Prix on a weekend of two no-fault-of-their-own DNFs for VCARB in Shanghai.

In a crazy spell, the VCARB duo of Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda were edging towards the points, when shortly after a restart, after a Safet Car period, Stroll collided into the back of Ricciardo and then the Canadian went on to berate the Australian when the Aston driver Martin was actually to blame.

In his post-China analysis on Red Bull’s SpeedWeek channel, Marko weighed in on Stroll’s antics: “I find it unbelievable that Lance Stroll called Daniel an idiot after the checkered flag waved. This really wasn’t his weekend.  Stroll unfortunately robbed Daniel of all chances.”

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Ricciardo seemed to have the measure of Yuki Tsunoda, which was odd as the Japoanese driver had ‘owned’ his more experienced teammate in all previous GPs. But a chassis swap for Ricciardo, coincided with Tsunoda’s drop in form.

Marko explained why: “If we look at another ‘Shanghai rookie’ Oscar Piastri, you see that the Australian was half a second to a full second slower than Lando Norris in the race. So Shanghai is certainly a track where experience counts, especially since the newcomers received even less driving time in the sprint format.

“VCARB may have made the mistake of sending Tsunoda out on hard tyres in the only free practice session when the track offered next to no grip and Yuki just slid around on those rollers. In the race, Tsunoda’s lap times were at Ricciardo’s level.

“He would have had a chance to score points, but Kevin Magnussen dashed that hope,” lamented Marko, referring to the punt the Haas driver gave Tsunoda during the same restart period that eliminated both VCARBs in shirt succession.

Marko: Ricciardo had a new chassis available in China

Ricciardo: Stroll not even watching me

Marko confirmed: “The whole thing was planned from the start because it is our third chassis that we wanted to bring to the track. But of course this change also played into psychology after Daniel’s disappointing performances on the previous weekends. Things went much better in China.”

Normally calm and collected, Ricciardo was left fuming by Stroll’s remorseless reaction: “For me, the biggest thing is if they’re like:oh, we’ll give him a five-place penalty the next race. But he still blames me, that’s a bigger problem.

“I want him to understand once the dust settles, if he’s still hot-headed today, he needs to learn from this. We’ve all made mistakes. I’ve done it, we all have. As long as he understands that he was the one that’s ruined not only his race but mine, that’s the biggest thing we can take away,” reckoned Ricciardo, who has yet to score a point this season. Tsunoda has bagged the team’s seven points thus far.

Ricciardo’s return to F1 via VCARB is well documented, as is his inability to find the form he was once famous for before he departed Red Bull for that prodigal journey from F1 hot shot to F1 reject.

While China was positive in his rehabilitation by the organisation that got him started, Ricciardo is still a far cry from being the revered and respected F1 driver he once. Nowadays he is again a ‘Work in Progress’ with little of the latter happening, despite the 244 GP starts he has to his name.

Big Question: Does Lance Stroll deserve to be on the F1 grid?