Unhappy Ricciardo at a loss to explain dismal pace in Q1

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Daniel Ricciardo's broad signature smile was nowhere to be seen after the Renault driver's unexpected elimination from qualifying in Q1.

After a dismal Friday that saw both Ricciardo and teammate Nico Hulkenberg conclude their free practice day near the bottom of the pecking order, there was hope the lousy performance was a one-off for the French outfit.

While Hulkenberg just made it through to Q2, Ricciardo was just over two tenths adrift from the cut and clueless as to why his R.S.19 was so far off the pace.

"It is what it is," said the despondent Aussie after his premature elimination.

"We didn't have much time to get it right. It was just a little bit all over the place in the end, not good enough to go through.

"I don't really know where we missed out, it felt quite a bit off the pace."

The gusty wind swirling around Suzuka was perhaps one factor that had undermined Ricciardo's efforts

"You feel it, it's tricky," he said. "But it's the same for everyone else. It certainly makes it more complicated, trying to get the balance right.

"We made a small adjustment then at the end between the first and second run, but a small adjustment seemed to make a big difference.

"It changed the car quite a lot and we didn't really think we were asking for such a big change but maybe with the wind it's a lot more sensitive."

Hulkenberg's fortunes in qualifying were hardly any better, with the German's Q2 segment cut short at the outset by a hydraulic failure.

"It was a shame not to put a lap in on new tyres in Q2," said the Hulk.

"It looks like we had a loss of hydraulic pressure and we had to abandon our final run, even if getting into Q3 was looking challenging.

"We’ll see what we can do from fifteenth on the grid, we’ll keep our heads down and get on with it."

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