Daniel Ricciardo in staggering admission about car amid F1 drama at Australian GP

Ricciardo was eliminated during the first qualifying session at his home Grand Prix.

Daniel Ricciardo has made a grim admission about the speed of his car after suffering an unwanted first in qualifying for Sunday's Australian Formula One Grand Prix. On Saturday, Ricciardo was eliminated from the first session of qualifying for exceeding track limits, in a disastrous development for his home GP.

It's the first time Ricciardo has failed to make it through Q1 at Albert Park and comes as a cruel blow after Ricciardo put in a superb lap that put him into P11. That looked to have been enough to secure the Aussie's place in Q2 but after the opening session he was relegated back to 18th spot on the grid after it was discovered all four tyres on his car left the track between turns 4 and 5.

Pictured here is Daniel Ricciardo at the Australian GP.
Daniel Ricciardo has made a grim admission about his car after being penalised for exceeding track limits in Q1 for the Australian GP. Pic: Getty/F1

The penalty was a bitter pill for Ricciardo to swallow, who admitted that he couldn't have done much more to extract more pace out of his Visa Cash App RB car. Ricciardo was left dejected and dumbfounded after comparing the speed of his vehicle to that of teammate Yuki Tsunoda, who will start Sunday's race in eighth on the grid.

“I felt like I got everything out of it, and then when I saw it still wasn’t good enough, let’s say compared to Yuki, that for me is... yeah, I’m still a bit puzzled,” Ricciardo said. “Because I know what those laps normally mean, and I crossed the line being like, ‘yeah, that was a good one’, but those ones are normally enough, more than enough, and it’s still not.

“And then looking at the time he’s doing in Q2, I could tell you now, I can’t get seven more tenths out of it than what I got in Q1. So I’m sure there’s a bit of track evo (evolution), but honestly there’s still some things we’ve got to look at, because it’s been definitely a struggle so far.”

Daniel Ricciardo 'struggling' for speed in car

Ricciardo said he thought he was closing the gap on his teammate after changes to the car in the wake of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, but says the Q1 debacle has left him unsure. “It looked like it was better, but I’m still not fully convinced,” he said, “Like I said, we still feel like we’re struggling more than we normally are in a car that again I’m pretty happy with. It’s actually been a pretty nice car to drive. Just the lap time is proving otherwise.”


Sky Sports’ F1 expert Naomi Schiff said the fact that Ricciardo didn't know what the issue was with his car was perhaps the biggest issue. “I think there’s more to it. I think, from what we hear there, he doesn’t really understand where it’s all going wrong,” she said.

“Because to him it feels like the lap time should be showing up but it’s not. So that’s even worse, when you can’t pinpoint and target exactly where you need to make improvements. It’s harder to fix the problem.”

Ricciardo has vowed to make a charge up the field from 18th in Sunday's race but like the rest of the pack, will likely be chasing the tail of three-time defending champion, Max Verstappen. The Red Bull driver has once again qualified in pole position and can equal his own F1 record for most wins in a row if he can go back-to-back at Albert Park.

Seen here, Red Bull driver Max Verstappen at the Australian GP.
Max Verstappen heads into the Australian GP looking for his 10th straight race win. Pic: Getty

Veratappen won 10 straight races from Miami to Monza last year and will match that feat if he continues his dominance with another win at the Australian GP. Verstappen set a new F1 record after winning an unprecedented 19 races last season on his way to a third straight title triumph that saw him completely dominate the rest of the field.

The Dutchman and Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez have gone 1-2 in the first two races of the season, but Ferrari's Carlos Sainz grabbed second spot on the grid for Sunday's race and looms as arguably Verstappen's biggest threat. McLaren pair Lando Norris and Aussie Oscar Piatri qualified third and fifth respectively and along with the other Ferrari of Charles Leclerc in fourth, represent the other major contenders. Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton will start a disappointing 11th in his Mercedes.

with AAP