Toro Rosso's hopes for a breakthrough performance at Bahrain were dashed when early contact in the close-fought, tight-packed opening laps left Daniel Ricciardo with front wing damage, ruining his Bahrain Grand Prix.

After taking an impressive sixth place on the grid on Saturday, Ricciardo plummeted to 19th place on the grid before the team's tyre strategy allowed them to finally bring him in for the front wing change at the end of eight painfully slow laps.

"[Daniel] had some problems at the start, losing several places and making contact with another car - at the moment we are not sure which one," confirmed team principal Franz Tost. "This meant he had to come in for a new nose section and after that, his race was compromised as he lost too much time, eventually finishing fifteenth."

TV replays suggested that Ricciardo's wing had caught the rear wheel of Heikki Kovalainen on the opening lap.

"Not what I was hoping for after starting from sixth on the grid," sighed a subdued Ricciardo after the race. "The opening lap changed my whole race.

"My initial launch off the line wasn't great and after that I seemed to go backwards, which made for a very frustrating afternoon," he continued. "The front wing damage also made matters worse. I had a good chance to have a strong race today, but losing all those places at the start cost me dear.

"I need to be hard on myself now and find out what I did wrong to make sure I don't do it again," he finished, summing up: "It was a race to forget."

Tost agreed with the sentiment, saying that "Daniel's performance in qualifying was the only highlight in a weekend that did not live up to our expectations."

The early problems meant that Ricciardo ended up one place behind his team mate Jean-Eric Vergne, despite the Frenchman starting much further back down the grid; but 14th place only represented three places up from his starting position, hardly a great showing in the circumstances.

"I gave it my all today, even though I started from far back," said Vergne, who felt that it was his poor qualifying performance that was preventing him from breaking through on race day.

"I need to analyse what is not working for me in qualifying," he said. "I manage to have a good pace in the race, but I'm slow in qualifying. We must find a solution to this, because if we can start further forward with the pace we have, then we should see a more positive result on Sunday."

For now though, Vergne was looking forward to a return to Europe and the chance for some testing and development work before the next race in Spain.

"We have a bit of a break in terms of races, but we will have the test at Mugello where we must look carefully at what we can do, hoping to arrive in Barcelona with an even better car."


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