The safety car that led to another one at the 2024 Chinese GP

Safety cars sprang to life in Shanghai leading to some lively handbags between Ricciardo and Stroll

Daniel Ricciardo reacted angrily to Lance Stroll’s ‘brake-standing’ suggestion

Daniel Ricciardo reacted angrily to Lance Stroll’s ‘brake-standing’ suggestion

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Safety cars occasionally create further safety cars, and that was the case in China as a nose-to-tail accident on a safety car restart compromised the races of Daniel Ricciardo, Lance Stroll and Oscar Piastri and created a further safety car for the debris to be cleared up.

The original safety car to clear the broken-down, struck-in-gear Sauber of Valtteri Bottas had been out for a few laps as the pack lined up behind it in the order of Verstappen, Norris, Leclerc, Pérez, Sainz, Alonso (on new soft tyres), Russell, Piastri, Ricciardo and Stroll. The safety car indicated it was coming in and so Verstappen took over as the dictator of the pace as the cars streamed into the final hairpin, everyone waiting to react to whenever Verstappen decided to sprint away.

The incident looks to have been initiated by Sainz, doubtless aware of how quick Alonso would be on his soft tyres, initially backing the Aston up, so as to give himself space to accelerate into when racing began. As he then closed back up on Pérez in anticipation, so he had to back off to avoid hitting the Red Bull. This in turn forced Alonso to lock up and the whole concertina effect unfolded to a point of hard impact as Stroll hit the back of Ricciardo, lifting the RB’s wheels clear of the track and nudging it into Piastri.


Stroll was awarded a 10sec penalty, as it was felt by the stewards he could have avoided the incident (there was time to move right but he appeared not to be looking straight ahead and so noticed the slowing RB too late). As it happened, Stroll complained over the radio of “the idiots who stand on the brakes”. Ricciardo – forced to retire – was furious afterwards about Stroll’s comments: “It made my blood boil. I’d slowly started to calm down and then I was told what Lance thinks of the incident and apparently I’m an idiot and it was my fault. The only thing you’ve got to do is watch the car in front. We can’t predict what the leader is going to do. The race doesn’t start until the control line. Maybe in an hour he might take some accountability. Him blaming it on me is the bigger problem. He needs to learn from this.”

Later Stroll insisted he hadn’t been referring to Ricciardo. “I don’t think it’s him. Everyone slammed on the brakes, and he was the guy in front of me. I don’t think he slammed on the brakes more, it was the concertina effect.

Shanghai 987
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