THE Japanese F1 Grand Prix was one Perth’s Daniel Ricciardo and the Red Bull Renault team would love to forget.
It went wrong late in qualifying on Saturday when Ricciardo’s teammate Daniil Kvyat, had a huge crash that tore his car apart. The young Russian was unhurt, and started Sunday’s race from the pit lane in a spare car.
Ricciardo qualified seventh for his 83rd grand prix, made a good start in the race and was in fifth place when his Red Bull made contact with Felipe Massa’s Williams before the first corner.
The impact left both cars with punctured tyres and put them out of contention.
Ricciardo eventually finished 15th, Massa 17th, and Kvyat 13th.
‘At the time I thought the gap (between Felpie and I) was big enough,’ Ricciardo said.
‘’ I don’t really know if it was in part Felipe’s or my fault, but it was a racing incident and we touched.
‘It could have been a lot better today, but I take the good start as a positive.’
Up front, Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton had an easy run to victory, finishing nearly 19 seconds ahead of teammate Nico Rosberg, with Sebastien Vettel third for Ferrari.
Fourth was fellow Ferrarian Kimi Raikkonen, three seconds ahead of ValtteriBottas in the Williams.
Nearly 20 seconds astern came Nico Hulkenberg in the Force India, followed by the Lotus pair of Roman Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado, with the Toro Rossos of Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz Jr filling out the top 10.
For Hamilton, the win was the 41st of his career win, tying him with his childhood hero, Ayrton Senna.
The next round is the GP of Russia on October 11.