March 23, 2018

Ricciardo trolls Verstappen with hilarious post-race antics

06 October 2017, 12:44 | Marta Robbins

Getty Images

Getty Images

The 30-year-old crashed out on the opening lap in Singapore, letting Hamilton through to win from fifth.

Had the Ferraris of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen started the Malaysian Grand Prix at the front of the grid, there is evidence to suggest that they would have reached the chequered flag and left sufficient time to have Usain Bolt run a whole 400 metres before the other competitors crossed the line.

He finished a remarkable fourth in Malaysia after having started last due to a power unit problem in qualifying, but dropped further behind the Briton who finished second behind Red Bull's Max Verstappen.

It was only two years ago at this very same venue that Verstappen raced with the panache of a veteran to become the youngest Grand Prix driver ever to score World Championship points with an impressive seventh place.

We've become used to Mercedes dominating in recent years, seeing Hamilton securing pole positions and race victories, but make no mistake: Saturday was one of those occasions of a driver taking a vehicle beyond what it should have been capable of. "I don't know if it was the same issue, we need to have a look".

"For sure it's not ideal, not what you want especially on a day where you feel you've got it in you, got it in the vehicle", he said.

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"Things are just coming to light and things that we need to work on, and it's generally in the communication area", he told Sky Sports F1.

But it still wasn't as bad as it might have been. "Benefiting from Ferrari's problems shouldn't hide that they have (been quicker) this race". But you've got to look at the season: we've got more pole positions than anyone, we're leading both championships and still are the best team.

Had Vettel finished as he did in fourth but Hamilton triumphed, the triple champion wouldn't have needed to win another race this year to clinch the title. This allowed a free hit for Hamilton, who pulled off an unlikely win at the circuit labelled as their weakest.

Still, the Maranello outfit can take some heart from the pace Vettel displayed and Mercedes' struggles. He seems unable to work around the issues with the vehicle as well or as quickly as Hamilton and he is paying the price on track.

"We can not be distracted by the fact we got lucky again this weekend", said Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff. But then, the gap went very quickly to two seconds and Verstappen broke the DRS zone, and from there it went up and up and up and got to six, seven, eight, nine, 10 seconds, and you're like, 'wow, this is really going to happen! And that is worrisome.

There have definitely been more ups and downs this season than there have been in the last few years, and when Mercedes are weak there doesn't seem to be a clear reason as to why. "We have a couple of days to try and understand".

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