Haas’ Esteban Gutierrez admits to being “surprised” when told that Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo criticised him for ignoring blue flags at the German Grand Prix.
One week after being penalised for holding up Lewis Hamilton in Hungary, the Mexican’s handling of the blue flags once again came under scrutiny at Hockenheim.
While Hamilton had raised his middle finger to show his discontent in Budapest, Ricciardo chose instead to be ironic over team radio by saying ‘Oh Esteban, he is one of my favourites. I love this guy’ when trying to lap the Haas driver.
Gutierrez was only made aware of the Australian’s comments when talking to the press after the race.
“OK, I will speak to him, thanks for the message!,” he replied. “I’m surprised because I saw other people in front. I saw he was behind, of course, but he was pretty far away at that time and then at that point I lifted and lost about two seconds.
“I did my best, it was not my intention to block or anything. But if he is not comfortable about it I am going to speak to him because it’s not my intention to do anything bad to anyone.”
Ricciardo, who eventually claimed second in the grand prix, delved more fully into the matter in the FIA’s post-race press conference. The Red Bull ace said Gutierrez “knows that a few aren’t that impressed with his blue flag handling”.
When asked whether he had been specifically warned by his fellow competitors, the Mexican added: “There was my discussion with Lewis, but apart from that… I got penalised [in Hungary], what else can you do?
“I had the consequence, [in Germany] I wasn’t penalised. There was nothing wrong, it’s not that I was blocking, OK [Ricciardo] was behind but he was not closing.
“If he’s two seconds behind and I lift and I lose four seconds it makes the difference to my points. So I have to protect as well my own interests. Obviously not affecting the other people and that’s where the difference is made sometimes.
“They have to put themselves also in my position, I’m doing my best and it isn’t like I didn’t let him by. I was just waiting for him to be a bit closer and then I lifted completely and I let him by in Turn 2.”
Gutierrez eventually finished on the cusp of the points-paying positions in 11th at Hockenheim.
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