15 March 2015
F1 Australian Grand Prix: Ricciardo ‘fortunate to walk away with sixth’
Daniel Ricciardo summed up Red Bull and Renault's combined F1 woes by gratefully accepting sixth place in a 'boring' Australian Grand Prix.
A frustrating Australian Grand Prix never promised to deliver home favourite Daniel Ricciardo a repeat of his 2014 podium appearance as Red Bull Racing continued to grapple with its engine woes.
In line with fellow Renault partner Toro Rosso, the former four-time champions complained of driveability issues with the latest version of the French V6 turbo, but Ricciardo soldiered on to take sixth place in a race that featured on 15 cars on the grid and 13 by the end of lap one.
Unable to hang with the likes of Mercedes, Ferrari and Williams, Ricciardo – whose team-mate Daniil Kvyat was among the pre-race casualties – found himself fending off the likes of rookies Carlos Sainz Jr and Felipe Nasr, before eventually coming home some twelve seconds adrift of the latter.
“Looking at where we ended [the race] - a lap down and not able to catch and pass the Sauber – it's not that satisfying,” he sighed, “We've still got a lot of work to do [but] it's where it is for now and I think we're quite fortunate to walk away with sixth and all those points.”
With Valtteri Bottas not taking up his sixth place on the grid, and Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen eventually retiring after a botched pit-stop, Ricciardo knows that he could have been in the scrap for the last few points positions, but instead endured a relatively quiet afternoon.
“It was, unfortunately, quite a boring race,” he reflected, “The last 20 laps or so, I tried to make a push on Nasr and put some pressure on him but, when I got close, he'd pull away again. We'll take the points but, realistically, we're a long way off. We need to make some improvements, [and] we've got to find some pure pace to stay in there in the next few races.”
With no immediate solution in sight for Renault's issues, the Australian had to dredge up all his optimism to find any hope of better performance in the coming races.
“I think, for sure, the potential is all there,” he insisted, “We know where some big chunks of lap time lie so it's just a matter of trying to understand them and overcome them. We know, more or less, all our issues, but unfortunately we haven't got on top of them yet.”
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