Ricciardo admits P17 ‘a pretty shitty place to start’


Daniel Ricciardo was unable to follow up his impressive P4 achievement in qualifying last weekend in Mexico with another stand-out performance in Sao Paulo on Friday.

On the contrary, the AlphaTauri charger was left a lowly 17th in the grid-defining session, admitting that his final flyer in Q1 was “already gone” as soon as the first two corners.

And yet, wholesale changes to his AT04 after FP1 – the single practice session of the weekend – had instilled confidence of a good showing in the Aussie.

“We knew where the lap time was after looking at the setup,” Ricciardo told Speedcafe. “On the first run, I was really happy with the step we had made, and I was top-five or top-six for a little bit there.

“A few cars that didn’t do as good a first lap then went for three sets [of tyres] but I was quite confident we had the pace, so we stuck to a conventional plan.

“The last lap, though, was just a bad lap, to be honest. The outlap was a bit slower, and I probably should have known, so just coming into Turn 1, I probably tried to get a little bit too much out of it.

“I went wide through one, and then I had quite a nice tank slapper in two – I say nice, it wasn’t fun – and from there the lap time just started to drop away. I definitely left a lot of time on the table.

“Turn six, I felt like one of the Ferraris could have probably let me go before then, so (I lost) a little bit there, but probably from turn one and two the lap was already gone.”


Although satisfied with the team’s set-up work and the progress achieved after FP1, Ricciardo acknowledged that he’ll have his work cut out for him on Sunday.

“That’s where I’m obviously pretty disappointed with the lap,” he added. “But I think the actual step we made from practice was a lot more encouraging.

“This morning we were quite a bit off, so I think we got the car back to a good place.

“On one hand, I’m happier going into the weekend with a better car but obviously P17 is a pretty shitty place to start.”

Saturday’s action will offer Ricciardo a chance to improve his initial performance.

“It’s one where we can try to make the most of tomorrow and who knows, maybe score something in the sprint,” he concluded.

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