Daniel Ricciardo had yet more bad luck in his home race Sunday, losing his front wing on a gutter before the first corner of the F1 Australian Grand Prix and retiring shortly after.
This is the one race that Ricciardo has never been able to get nailed. Retirements and even a disqualification after thinking he had finished on the podium have been the norm for the Australian at home and Sunday saw more of the same.
Making a good start, Ricciardo was looking to gain a place over the Racing Point of Serio Perez before turn one but an unseen gutter just off the track proved to be his downfall after putting two wheels onto the grass.
“It happened really quickly,” said Ricciardo. “At the time I thought what I thought in terms that I was pretty sure what had happened but I’ve had a look at the replay now and yeah, it’s pretty much as I saw it behind the wheel. No-one to blame other than just grass and then a big bump of concrete or something so, it was harsh.
“Obviously, I didn’t want to go on the grass in the first place but I had a run on Perez and, for me, the inside was the best place to go. I saw him move a bit so, just your natural reaction – because he was still in front at the time – you move a bit more and just that last movement dropped my wheel on the grass.
“Even then, I wasn’t actually concerned if I put two wheels in the grass. I though I could still carry the momentum but pretty much as soon as I got on the grass there was the gutter so just a shame. A shame it was over so quickly. I don’t know how I’m still smiling but this week is just so long and I don’t ever seem to have a good break here. I think we’re too busy pleasing everybody else and not worrying about ourselves.”
For any driver, a home race brings with it added media attention and constant demands for some of your time. As the only Australian in the field, Ricciardo hardly got a moment to himself as he was out sampling other cars and completing interview after interview. Now however, the Australian is looking forward to Bahrain, a weekend he describes as a holiday.
“I think we should be a top eight car all the first part of the season and then a lot better, but I think Bahrain is going to be easy,” said Ricciardo. “That’s like a holiday week. There’s nothing going on so I can actually prepare properly so I’m frustrated this week because everyone expects so much and the reality is I’ve got to show up on Sunday and when the race is over in five seconds, whether it’s bad luck or it wasn’t, I feel like the preparation wasn’t where it ought to have been.”
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