Daniel Ricciardo says he is at a loss to explain why Red Bull Racing struggled for pace in race conditions during the European Grand Prix as he plummeted from second to seventh in Baku.
The Australian started on the front row and ran second initially behind Nico Rosberg but struggled to maintain form due to heavy rear tyre wear on the RB12.
Forced to make two pit-stops, dropping outside the top ten at one stage, Ricciardo battled his way back up to seventh place but was otherwise frustrated that Red Bull's raw performance had deserted him after such a promising effort in qualifying.
“We put ourselves in a good position to fight for the podium, but we didn't have the pace,” he said. “I don't think we made any mistakes on track, or with strategy. I don't think that there was anything we could have done today, it was just that we suffered with rear tires. Already on lap four I was wheel spinning in fourth and fifth gear, so that was a sign that it was going to be a tough day.”
Indeed, Ricciardo had anticipated Red Bull could challenge for a podium given the Azerbaijan circuit's characteristics bear hallmarks of the Singapore circuit where the car is traditionally strong.
“It is really unexpected,” he continued. “We have been very competitive at Singapore over the years, and that is a high braking and very hot circuit. So we expected to be good here today. We will have to understand why. The season has been unpredictable.
“When we expect to go quick sometimes, we are not, and when we don't, we are. So as long as we understand today I think from a team's point of view we did all we could. There isn't anything we could have done better, but we have to understand why we didn't have the pace."
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