McLaren driver Daniel Ricciardo has taken the blame for the incident with Valtteri Bottas at the Mexican Grand Prix after costing Mercedes key championship points on Sunday.
Ricciardo clipped Bottas’ wheel on the long run-up to Turn 1 at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez as the Mercedes driver became sandwiched between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen.
Looking to make up places, the Australian launched up the inside at Turn 1, colliding with Bottas’ Mercedes and causing it to spin.
The Mercedes was left facing the wrong way, but Bottas was able to rejoin in P18 before spending the remainder of the race trying to claw back any chance of a points finish.
The Finn ended up 15th while Ricciardo came 12th, but the McLaren driver admitted it was a tricky race start for everyone.
“There was definitely a lot going on,” Ricciardo told Sky F1 in the paddock after the race. “I still haven’t seen a full replay.
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“The first few hundred metres down to Turn 1, to be honest, they’re always fun here because there are so many slipstreams, it’s dusty, it’s kind of chaos, but there is some form of fun in the chaos.
“But then, under braking, I remember, I think there was room on the inside with Perez, so there was a gap. And it’s one of those ones where, if you don’t go for a gap, someone else will, and you can easily just get swallowed up.
“So at that time, I think it was, let’s say, a reasonable bit of space to go for. And I think, from memory, it felt fairly under control in the first part of braking, and then as we got closer to the apex, everyone starts to close in and, at the last moment, obviously you try and slow the car up.
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“I apologise to him, again without really seeing it, but I’m the one that went into him,” he said. “So of course, at the very least I’ll say sorry for now, and see if there’s much I could’ve done or if it’s just simply a Turn 1 incident and a bottleneck kind of thing.
“Regardless of that, it was looking good for a few hundred metres, and it turned around pretty quickly.
“So that was the race, and then a long 70 laps after that.”
Verstappen also extended his lead in the driver standings to 19 points over Hamilton, with just four races remaining.