Daniel Ricciardo should be penalised for a “dirty” move during the Canadian Grand Prix, according to Formula 1 legend Jacques Villeneuve.
Ricciardo steered his Renault through his best weekend of the year, finishing sixth.
However, the Australian star’s vital championship points are now under a cloud after Villeneuve on Tuesday night made fresh calls for him to face a punishment from FIA officials.
Ricciardo’s early-race defensive thrusts to block Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas were overshadowed by the huge drama surrounding the stewards’ decision to smack Sebastian Vettel with a five-second penalty which saw him surrender the race to championship leader Lewis Hamilton, despite crossing the line first.
Ferrari are appealing the decision of the stewards.
Villeneuve says stewards were wrong to punish Vettel — and should instead have penalised Ricciardo for his unsafe driving blocks while under breaking at the end of the long Canadian back straight.
“I wasn’t surprised by Vettel’s penalty, because it’s often the opposite of what happens,” Villeneuve told Autosport.
“Ricciardo deserved a penalty for the way he drove in a straight line, and he didn’t get one. It’s often been like that.
“It’s bad for F1 anyway.
“It ruined the race because it was a bad call, not because, ‘It should have been a different winner.’
“If Vettel had done something dirty or bad, like Ricciardo did on the straight, that would have deserved a penalty, and that would have been fine, even though it would have been another Lewis win.”
He said the Vettel controversy is not completely black and white as some drivers will begin to take advantage of any grey areas they can exploit should Vettel’s unsafe return to the track go unpunished.
He also suggested Hamilton drove perfectly to highlight Vettel’s mistake, forcing stewards to take action.
Ricciardo on Tuesday defended Vettel, suggesting the German ace shouldn’t have lost the race as a result of the incident.
Ricciardo was on the wrong end of Hamilton’s own fortuitous dangerous re-entry after going off the track at Monaco in 2016. Hamilton did not receive a penalty and went on to win the race with Ricciardo finishing a close second.
Many drivers have backed Vettel, including Renault’s Ricciardo.
“I had an identical situation with Lewis in 2016 in Monte Carlo,” he told reporters.
“He had to go through the emergency exit and almost pushed me into the wall on his return. With me, it was tighter than now with him. He didn’t get a penalty. That was a good thing. It was a hard racing.”
There has been speculation in Formula 1 as to whether the rules even allow Ferrari to appeal, and the sport is now waiting to see exactly what grounds the Italian team have.
The stewards have received some support however, with former driver Jolyon Palmer telling the BBC they got it right in Montreal.
“By the letter of the law, Vettel was guilty. If he was forced to run all the way into Hamilton, that’s not safe. If he wasn’t, then he deliberately did it, and that’s not fair and deserves a penalty. You can’t have it both ways,” he said.
Meanwhile, Nico Hulkenberg says he was left frustrated and upset by Renault’s decision to use team orders to stop him passing teammate Ricciardo in Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix.
The German driver came home seventh just four-tenths of a second behind the Australian despite racing on fresher tyres and having more pace in the closing stages of the race.
Hulkenberg made his only pit-stop eight laps after Ricciardo and was closing in on him after he was passed by Max Verstappen of Red Bull.
Team boss Cyril Abiteboul confirmed the team had issued team orders to stop them racing each other.
“Yes, he is a bit upset, but I understand why,” he said.
“I think Nico would probably have had the pace to overtake him, but we said ‘we need the result’.
“I don’t like to do that and it is not the style of our team.”
The team collected a total of 14 points to double their 2019 total and rise from eighth to fifth in the constructors’ championship.
Ricciardo was delighted with his result.
“This weekend as a whole was pretty awesome. First double points for the team — that’s been a long time coming and Nico had a strong pace too.
“It was certainly hot, it was similar conditions here in 2017 and I learned from that, and kept hydrated which made me feel better today.
“We have some new parts coming so there’s a lot of positives to take, and for the Renault fans we can pull off another good one.”
— with AAP, AFP