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Formula 1 Chinese GP

RB brands Ricciardo/Tsunoda Chinese GP crashes “unnecessary”

The separate incidents that took RB duo Daniel Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda out of the Chinese Grand Prix have been labelled as “unnecessary” by their Formula 1 boss.

Laurent Mekies of Visa Cash App RB talks to Daniel Ricciardo, RB F1 Team

RB’s hopes of a points finish in Shanghai were dashed within a dramatic few moments in Sunday’s race after Ricciardo was hit from behind by Lance Stroll behind the safety car, while Tsunoda was involved in a race-ending clash with Kevin Magnussen at the restart.

Neither driver was able to finish the race, and RB team principal Laurent Mekies felt that both of the incidents against his drivers could easily have been avoided by their rivals, who were subsequently given penalties for their part in the crashes.

Asked by Autosport about whether the accidents were clumsy or a consequence of the frenetic midfield fight, Mekies said: “I don't know really, but I think both looked unnecessary.

“It's not like those where you see how it's always going to end up in a crash. No, both looked quite unnecessary. So I would like to hope that they are one-offs in an otherwise intense battle.”

Mekies felt the incidents had robbed his squad of another points-scoring finish, especially as Ricciardo had produced what up until his race exit looked like being his best weekend of the season so far.

“It's a big opportunity lost,” added Mekies. “We got both our cars taken out by competitors in one lap, so obviously it's a big missed opportunity.

“We feel we were fighting for that one point in the group with the usual guys, and it would have been a nice and tight battle.

Daniel Ricciardo, RB F1 Team VCARB 01

Daniel Ricciardo, RB F1 Team VCARB 01

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

“Just before the safety car, Daniel was effectively attacking Lewis [Hamilton]. So you know, we were on a strong pace and we had the right tyres. We feel it could have been a fair battle with Nico [Hulkenberg] for that position.

“But it is what it is. It's racing. It didn't go our way. But what is reassuring is A, we had the pace here again to fight for that point, even though we started a bit on the back foot on Friday. But certainly, the race pace was there.

“And B, it is nice to see Daniel performing at this level, he has been making good steps forward in the background.”

Ricciardo spoke out against Stroll after the race for the needless way the Aston Martin driver had run into the back of him, while Tsunoda expressed his annoyance at the manner in which Magnussen had hit him.

“I think I’m pretty frustrated how I ended up, especially as I gave space to him quite a lot and it just ended up a DNF,” said the Japanese. “So yeah, it's pretty frustrating. I’m very annoyed.”

Watch: F1 2024 Chinese Grand Prix Review – Verstappen dominates

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