APOLOGIES ran thick and fast from the Red Bull hierarchy after Daniel Ricciardo was denied victory in the Monaco Grand Prix thanks to a bungled pit stop.
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner and motorsport chief Helmut Marko both regretted the mistake that virtually presented Lewis Hamilton with victory.
“We as a team owe Daniel a huge apology today as we failed to support him,” Horner said.
“The delay at his pit stop cost him the lead and despite some excellent driving to get close to Lewis, he couldn’t get past.”
Horner put the mistake down to a “miscommunication” due to the peculiar design of the Monaco circuit, notably the “tightness” of the working space in the team garages.
“The garage is downstairs, (and) tyres are on heat both in the garage and behind the garage,” Horner said.
“Unfortunately the set of tyres that were called for weren’t readily to hand and were at the back of the garage.”
Marko, who rarely speaks to the media, admitted the mistake was a human error.
“We presented it to Mercedes,” he said.
“Unfortunately, a lot of misunderstanding and not the right communication.
“We will investigate and find out, but it was a human mistake. I feel really sorry and all I can do is apologise to him.”
The vital lost time meant that Ricciardo emerged from the pit lane behind Hamilton’s Mercedes, whereas he would have been ahead had the pit stop been a routine one.
Given that Monaco is the hardest track to overtake on in F1, it would then have been extremely unlikely — barring a mistake — that Hamilton could have caught and overtaken Ricciardo, who was also showing the greater speed.
After the gaffe, Red Bull tried to gee Ricciardo up but he snapped back on race radio “nothing you could say would make that any better. Save it.”
Another mistake at the Canadian GP in two weeks’ time is not advisable, given Ricciardo’s fury at missing out on a rare win against the dominant Mercedes cars.