After such a brutal season, it’s nice to see Daniel Ricciardo with a smile on his face again.
But the 33-year-old Aussie may have to brush up on his Italian a little after accidentally (we think) calling his McLaren teammate Lando Norris an “a**hole” four times in a hilarious interview
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The Italian term “stronzo” has a variety of meanings depending on the context in which it’s used. After confirming Norris was standing behind him during a TV interview at the French Grand Prix, where the Aussie finished ninth, Ricciardo said: “Stronzo, no?”
The interviewer kept trying to save the West Australian, saying “you should not say”.
But it didn’t stop Ricciardo from repeating the phrase three more times, before asking: “Is it not a good word?”
The interviewer replied: “No. It’s a bad word.”
Ricciardo said: “Scusa, like really bad?”
Interviewer: “Yes, more bad than good.”
Norris then stepped up next to Ricciardo as the Aussie finished his on-camera chat.
Luckily Ricciardo has a few more weeks to brush up on his Italian as the Grand Prix at Monza, where the Aussie claimed a victory last year, won’t be held until the weekend of September 9-11.
Ricciardo was in good form in the post-race interviews after finishing ninth at Circuit Paul Ricard overnight, his first back-to-back points finish of the season after a ninth-placed result in Austria.
It’s been a dire season for Ricciardo as rumours erupted he would be forced out of his seat at McLaren.
He is sitting 12th in the constructors’ championship on 19 points — 51 points behind McLaren stablemate Norris in seventh.
McLaren claimed a double points finish in France, with Ricciardo ninth and Norris seventh, but the team gave up equal fourth place on the constructors’ ladder to Alpine.
Alpine were better as Fernando Alonso crossed the line sixth and Esteban Ocon overtook Ricciardo late to finish eighth.
Sky Sports’ Rachel Brookes asked Ricciardo after the race if he felt stuck in an “Alpine sandwich” although “the pace between the two of you looks pretty evenly matched”.
“Yeah, I do think they were quicker today. I would probably call it an Alpine baguette if we’re being geographically correct,” Ricciardo responded.
Brookes said: “Would you? Oh because we’re in France. A baguette doesn’t have any filling.”
“Yeah it does. You can have a ham and salad baguette,” Ricciardo laughed.
More seriously, he added: “They were quicker. I tried to hold onto Esteban for as long as I could but in the end he obviously got me there in (turn) 10.
“The first part of the stint I feel like I can stay with him, and then when they’re getting a bit more out of the tyre or the pace, that’s when I start to drop off and lose the grip that’s keeping me there with them. That tailing off and not being able to get more out of it is where the race gets away from me.”
Asked what he’d give the day out of 10, Ricciardo quipped: “Minus-46?” before nodding knowingly as his smile burst through.
P9 might not be enough to silence everyone out for Ricciardo’s blood but 2016 world champion Nico Rosberg said it was a positive weekend for the Aussie.
“I think it would be good to praise Daniel on his weekend because in qualifying, he was just over a tenth (of a second) away from Lando,” Rosberg said in commentary for Sky Sports.
“Now in the race, on race pace he’s right there with him, stuck behind him. I think it’s a good weekend for Daniel. He’s on the right track to finding his way again.”