Daniel Ricciardo’s worrying ‘all I had’ admission after nightmare qualifying

Daniel Ricciardo will start only 18th on grid for his home F1 race after losing his best lap time in qualifying.

Daniel Ricciardo struggled in qualifying in Australia
Daniel Ricciardo struggled in qualifying in Australia

Daniel Ricciardo has been left in disbelief and cut a dejected figure following a nightmare qualifying at the F1 Australian Grand Prix.

The RB driver had produced a lap good enough to get through to Q2 in Melbourne but was knocked out in Q1 when his time was deleted for a track limits violation, which dropped him down to 18th.

After watching teammate Yuki Tsunoda reach Q3 and go on to qualify an impressive eighth for Sunday’s grand prix, Ricciardo worryingly conceded that he felt his best lap “was all I had”.

"I don't think it's fully sunk in [the lap time deletion],” Ricciardo told F1TV.

“I knew Turn 4 I was fighting and was wider, but it happens and then you think about the next corner. But the lap, the lap honestly felt like I gave it all I had.

“So I was happy with the lap, but I wasn’t happy with where we are in terms of the stopwatch. For me that is still not adding up in my head where I think it should be.

"It's been like a struggle all weekend. That lap was all I had and was still slow. I have done enough of these laps and qualis to know where I am and still some things I think we are missing.”

Ricciardo has suffered three consecutive qualifying defeats to Tsunoda amid a difficult start to 2024, leading Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko to pile pressure on the 34-year-old by telling him to raise his game.

Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) RB VCARB 01. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 3, Australian Grand Prix, Albert Park, Melbourne,
Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) RB VCARB 01. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 3,…

Despite this, Ricciardo insists his current single-lap struggles do not compare to his well-documented woes at McLaren.

“OK, the time got deleted, but the lap itself was definitely the best quali lap that I’ve done this year, and those ones are normally quite good. Going into Q2, I don’t know where there was much more time,” he added.

“You obviously take a couple of tenths from track evo[lution], but six, seven-tenths, that’s not in it. I feel confident in terms of braking and balance and all that.

“It’s not like McLaren where I was a bit unsure and I can’t push the car here. But yeah, just some corner speeds, simply not able to gain enough speed.”

Asked if RB’s car is giving him what he needs, Ricciardo replied: “I feel like I’m at the edge with the car in terms of like four wheel sliding. So it’s balanced and I feel now I’m at the limit of where its potential is.

“After Saudi, we saw some things, the team changed quite a lot and gave me quite a few new parts for this weekend to address some of those issues and concerns. It looked like it was better, but I still not fully convinced.

“We still feel like we’re struggling more than we normally are in a car that again I’m pretty happy with. It’s not like I’m really struggling here or here, it’s actually been a pretty nice car to drive. Just the laptime is proving otherwise.”

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