DANIEL Ricciardo’s spectacular run of podium finishes came to a halt in Austin, Texas, on Monday morning (Australian time) with a rare retirement in the US Grand Prix.
The Perth driver started from fourth on the grid and moved to third after a great scrap with Valtteri Bottas’ Mercedes, but it came to a sudden halt on lap 16, seconds after he’d posted the fastest lap – when he parked the car off circuit with engine failure.
“Engine’s gone,” he said on the team radio.
Teammate Max Verstappen had a tremendous drive after starting from 16th after a grid penalty, and thought he had secured third place after a breathtaking move on Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen during the penultimate lap – but his bravado earned him a five-second penalty and the final podium spot was given back to Raikkonen.
The Dutchman had taken to the infield to squeeze past Raikkonen.
Red Bull said it was a ‘brilliant’ move, but the stewards ruled that it gave him an unfair advantage and he was booted out of the podium room and demoted to fourth.
Lewis Hamilton won the race despite being overtaken at the start by Ferrari’s Sebastien Vettel.
It took Hamilton six laps to get past the Vettel and he went on to take the 62nd win of his career and ninth of the season.
Teammate Bottas finished fifth with French driver Esteban Ocon sixth for Force India and Carlos Sainz claiming an impressive seventh in his initial drive for Renault.
Sergio Perez was eighth in the Force India, with Felipe Massa ninth in the Williams and the final championship point went to Daniil Kvyat in the Toro Rosso.
Daniel Ricciardo said it was disappointing to retire so early in the race.
“I tried to get the most out of it today and the laps I raced were fun but also frustrating,” he said.
“I felt that, especially earlier on, we were quicker than Valtteri, but I always had to come from so far back that it was never going to be an easy move.
“It’s just frustrating to not continue that battle. I did enjoy it out there though.
“We’ll probably have to take a penalty (for an engine change) which means that I will start at the back in Mexico.”
Verstappen was also frustrated.
“I had a great race and I am happy with fourth but it’s the way I got there that hurts,” he said.
“I got a five second penalty and one penalty point for what? I ran wide on a track with no limits that everyone is running wide on all weekend, why do I get punished?”
Three more grands prix remain and on current form Hamilton is likely to claim the world championship in Mexico City next weekend.