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Daniel Ricciardo hits back at rival Carlos Sainz’ ‘dirty’ accusation, US Grand Prix results



Daniel Ricciardo has defended his driving style after a rival accused him of a “dirty” act at the US Grand Prix.

The Australian turned in a strong performance to finish fifth at the Circuit of the Americas in Texas, but it was his race-long battle with Carlos Sainz that attracted attention.

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In a wild start to the race, Ricciardo climbed up to fifth then fell behind to seventh as the Ferrari and his McLaren teammate Lando Norris sandwiched him out of the running.

But before the opening lap was over, the Aussie catapulted himself back up to fifth courtesy of some audacious overtaking. That’s where he stayed for the most of the race before finding himself in a tussle with Sainz to maintain his position in the final laps.

With 13 laps to go, Sainz made his move and tried to go the long way around Ricciardo on a corner but it didn’t work. The pair made contact and Sainz failed to get past as he remained stranded on the outside.

The Spaniard accused his rival of unfairly nudging him out of the way to maintain track position.

“That got a bit dirty. He did that on purpose, guys,” an angry Sainz said over team radio.

Sainz cleared the air after the race, explaining it is notoriously difficult to overtake from the outside position and he would have done the same if he was in Ricciardo’s shoes.

Carlos Sainz wasn’t impressed by Daniel Ricciardo’s tactics. (Photo by Jim WATSON / AFP)Source: AFP

“My take is that the guy on the inside does this kind of thing on purpose always to try and squeeze the guy on the outside,” he said. “I would have done the same.

“The thing is it got a bit rough with the contact. I think he could have done it a bit cleaner because I nearly spun.

“But it’s all good. I would have done a similar thing if I was in his position. It was a good battle.

“It’s tough, fair, on the limit racing, because obviously he bumped me out – and sometimes it’s a bit too much.”

There was to be no repeat attack in the dying stages as Sainz found himself too far adrift to try another overtake and Ricciardo kept his composure to cross the line fifth.

Speaking after the race, Ricciardo said he thoroughly enjoyed the intense back-and-forth duel with Sainz.

“The first lap was a lot of fun,” he said. “I got Carlos I think on the start, then he got me back with a good move outside of (turn) six into seven.

“And then I got him back on Turn 17 I think on the inside. So it was three kind of changes in position on the first lap (which) was cool, but that was crucial for me to get a top five today.

“Charles (Leclerc) showed that Ferrari were quicker, we couldn’t match that pace today. So obviously that’s something we’ve got to still try to find. But to beat one of them its quite rewarding.

“And (Sainz) put on a good attack later on in the race as well and we obviously went side-by-side, and a little bit of banging wheels. So it was very fun and very needed to hold on for everything I could.”

When asked what he thought about Sainz labelling his defensive move “dirty”, Ricciardo said it was a compliment and he was happy to be viewed an aggressive driver, taking the mickey out of himself and making a mockery of the claim in the process.

Ricciardo is happy to drive dirty. Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images/AFPSource: AFP

“Obviously you don’t deliberately try to go into someone, but that’s obviously a bit of a bit of rubbing racing,” he said.

“That’s cool. I’m happy to be dirty. I’m a nice guy, so being dirty every now and then is alright!”

The 32-year-old admitted it was extremely tough to keep Sainz at bay, especially in the second half of the race when his tyres were starting to degrade.

“It was definitely tricky, because when you come out of the pits on a new set, you have a little more grip,” Ricciardo said.

“But if you use it early, then it drops away even quicker. It was a race where you never really felt you could push.

“I mean we’re pushing, but it’s only to what the tyre is capable of. So definitely there were some laps where you’re in a little bit of limbo, do I push more or do I not?

“And then Carlos when he started to come and attack me more, I had no choice but to push, and there wasn’t much left in it at times.”

Ricciardo now trails Sainz by just 17.5 points in the battle for seventh place in the drivers’ standings.

The competition between their teams in the constructors’ championship is equally tight, with McLaren only three and half points ahead of Ferrari with five races remaining this season.

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McLaren boss Zak Brown ‘wouldn’t be shocked’ if Lewis Hamilton quits before 2022 season



McLaren CEO Zak Brown says he “wouldn’t be shocked” if Lewis Hamilton chose to quit Formula One before the start of the 2022 season.

The seven-time world champion has kept his cards close to his chest since he missed out on last year’s title to Max Verstappen, who overtook him on the last lap of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in controversial circumstances.

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Speculation has been rife about Hamilton’s future after he was beaten to the world championship for the first time since 2016.

The 36-year-old and Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff snubbed the end-of-season F1 gala, even though they were required to attend.

Hamilton, who is contracted with Mercedes to the end of 2023, is yet to publicly confirm whether he will race on this year, but Wolff is hopeful his charge will return to the grid.

Brown, who is the boss of Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris, said he wouldn’t be surprised if Hamilton called it quits and walked away from F1.

“I wouldn’t be shocked if he stopped, so I don’t think anyone should take for granted he’s coming back,” he said.

“My personal opinion is he’s going to (continue racing), but I don’t think we should discount or not recognise his frustration and his anger.

Lewis Hamilton’s F1 future is up in the air. (Photo by Kamran Jebreili – Pool/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

“Maybe he hasn’t made a decision and maybe what he’s doing is taking time to make that decision to make sure, because once that decision is made, that decision is made.

“So, I don’t think we should rule it out or make light of it. I just personally think he still has a burning desire to race and that will ultimately drive his decision.”

Ultimately Brown believes Hamilton will continue to race in F1, driven by the desire to win a record-breaking eighth world championship.

“I think he’ll be back,” he said.

“He’s a racing driver. I think he’s at the top of his game.

“I’m sure he’s very angry, but I think race car drivers want to race and I think he’s a fighter, and he’ll want to come back and try to win an eighth championship.

“I don’t think he’s ready to retire; this is my own personal opinion, I’ve not talked to him, because once you hang it up, you hang it up.

“I guess you could come back as some have done, but I don’t think he’s ready to hang it up and I don’t think he’s going to let an incident put him into retirement.”

Hamilton lost the 2021 world championship to Max Verstappen in controversial circumstances. (Photo by ANDREJ ISAKOVIC / AFP)Source: AFP

Brown’s comments come after former F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone predicted Hamilton will retire before the 2022 season, which begins with the Bahrain Grand Prix on March 20.

The Brit reportedly also reportedly ignored messages from newly-elected FIA president Mahamaaed Ben Sulayem as time ticks on towards the start of the 2022 season.

Hamilton is expected to attend the virtual launch of Mercedes’ 2022 car on February 18.

Meanwhile, the fallout from the dramatic season finale in Abu Dhabi has continued.

The FIA, F1’s governing body, will reveal the results of their investigation into the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on March 18, just two days before the season gets underway in Bahrain.

There have been calls for the FIA to sack Australian race director Michael Masi, after he came under fire for his use of the safety car in the dying stages of the race.

Many F1 fans criticised Masi for his decision to move only the lapped cars between Hamilton and Verstappen to set up a final lap shootout between the two rivals.

Verstappen, on fresh tyres, overtook Hamilton to win the world title.

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F1 news 2022, Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen, 2021 title, appeal, decision date, new season calendar, full race schedule



Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton must wait two more months for motorsport chiefs to reveal the results of their inquiry into the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix where the Dutchman clinched the 2021 world title.

Governing body, the FIA, said Thursday that the outcome will not be revealed until March 18, just two days before the 2022 season gets underway in Bahrain.

Hamilton was poised to capture a record-breaking eighth world title at the Abu Dhabi finale in December before a controversial safety car restart allowed Verstappen to pass the British driver on the last lap.

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(Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
(Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

The incident has led to speculation that a disillusioned 37-year-old Hamilton may be prepared to turn his back on Formula One.

On Thursday, the FIA said that team chiefs as well as representatives of the ruling body will meet on January 19 to discuss the use of the safety car.

Drivers will also be brought into the discussions, it said.

“The outcome of the detailed analysis will be presented to the F1 Commission in February, and final decisions will be announced at the World Motor Sport Council in Bahrain on 18 March,” added the FIA.

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F1 news 2022, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, retirement, quit, latest, new contract, 2022 calendar, season



Lewis Hamilton’s F1 future still remains unclear with just 69 days to go until the 2022 season begins as the FIA’s investigation into the how the 2021 season ended now thought to be key in his decision making.

The FIA has pledged to investigate the controversial circumstances around the final lap of the 2021 season which saw Max Verstappen pip Hamilton to the world title in Abu Dhabi.

Mercedes withdrew their appeal against the result after the FIA announced they would launch an investigation into the events surrounding the safety car procedures.

Hamilton made a cryptic reference to his future in his post-race interview with former teammate Jenson Button.

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(Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
(Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

“We gave it everything and never gave up and that’s the most important thing. We’ll see about next year,” he said.

This pledge is now reportedly crucial in whether Hamilton decides to get into a Formula 1 car again, according to Sky Sports, and the delay in its findings are seemingly impacting the delay in the seven-time world champion’s decision.

Sky Sports News’ Craig Slater reported: “With 69 days to go until the first Grand Prix in Bahrain, it is still unclear whether Lewis Hamilton will be on the grid.

“In terms of Hamilton coming back to Formula 1, having the appetite to do so and getting over the ‘disillusionment’ that his team boss Toto Wolff said he felt after Abu Dhabi, the onus is on the FIA to deliver on the pledge they made before Christmas to investigate the happenings on that final lap and to come up with some findings.

“It is understood that Mercedes want to see something tangible. It’s been put to me like this: the longer this drags on then the worse the Lewis Hamilton situation is, and that is from a senior source.”

The 23-race 2022 season begins on March 18 with winter testing for the all-new generation of cars beginning on February 23.

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