Ricciardo: Monaco 2016 debacle ‘haunted me for two years’

Daniel Ricciardo says the rage of losing the 2016 Monaco Grand Prix because of a botched pit stop was whitewashed only two years later by his 2018 triumph in the Principality.

In 2016, driving for Red Bull Racing, Ricciardo had launched his Monaco Grand Prix from pole and taken a commanding lead at the start, determined to hold his own and pinch Formula 1’s jewel from his rivals.

But a fumbled pit stop by his Red Bull crew, which had called him in at the right time only to fail to have his tyres ready for the routine stop, handed the sure win to Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton.

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Filled with rage, Ricciardo cut a dejected figure on Monaco’s podium that day, the Aussie’s signature smile wiped out and replaced by a look of despair and an underlying rage that would endlessly linger, until redemption came knocking in 2018.

“I’m not going to lie, Monaco 2016 haunted me for two years,” Ricciardo wrote in the latest installment of ‘Dan’s Diary’ published on social media.

“Then to not put a foot wrong in 2018 and thinking the win would slip away from me again…

“With Monaco, if you hold the lead into the first corner from pole, it’s yours to lose in a way, the race is in your hands.

“But 2018 was a different level of stress simply because of what had happened there in ’16. The main feeling was sheer relief that this time I didn’t have it taken from me.

“I enjoyed it more the days after the Sunday because I was just burned out. It was a massive exhale than anything else.”

While the furor has dissipated for Ricciardo, the memories of that painful day in 2016 remain forever engraved.

“Even four years on, I remember this day in so much detail, it’s like a video in my mind,” he added.

“I can picture myself driving through the corner before the tunnel after THAT pit stop and I was so angry.

“I wouldn’t have minded having a mechanical so I didn’t finish, I didn’t want to talk to anyone afterwards, I certainly didn’t want any sympathy… it was just pure rage.

“I remember standing on the podium with Lewis, he’d won a race that I had under control… I just didn’t want to be there.

“I had a moment of clarity in the media pen afterwards, where I thought that if finishing second at Monaco is the worst day in my life, then I should probably wake up, so that was when the anger started to turn into disappointment.

“I wanted to be alone in my drivers’ room afterwards but Helmut [Marko] came to see me, and he was heartbroken. He just said ‘sorry’ and gave me a hug, and there was no way I could react aggressively to that. He was hurting as much as I was.

“I went home after that because I didn’t want to hear anyone apologising and I didn’t think anything good could come from me pointing the finger either when I was angry. It’s what made two years later so sweet.”

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