Daniel Ricciardo admits he’s been mentally and physically drained by his debut for Renault at his home race in Australia as a run over a circuit gutter destroys his race before it truly began.

The new Renault driver was involved in a dramatic near-miss with Racing Point’s Sergio Perez as he was forced into avoiding action going around the slow-starting Mexican which pushed him on to the grass and over a drain which ripped off his front wing.

Ricciardo was fortunate to avoid any further collisions braking hard on the inside of the first corner without his front wing and had to limp back to the pits with his race effectively over.

Despite continuing after pitting for a new front wing, Ricciardo was forced to retire from his home round for the third time in his career due to further issues with his Renault which were suspected to have been picked up in his drain cover clash.

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With huge attention and pressure on him at his home event on his maiden race for Renault, Ricciardo concedes he was “always pushing uphill” adapting to his new team.

“I’m just drained, just trying to please everyone this week and I don't look after myself. I'll change it for next year,” Ricciardo said. “I feel like it’s hard to get things going well here and I also feel like that I was pretty unlucky.

“It's tough. This week is a tough one because we're always pushing uphill, and you can never do enough, but I feel we did more than enough. I don't know. I don't want to blame that, but I feel flat for more reasons than one.”

Explaining his view on the incident off the starting grid, Ricciardo says he was unsighted to the rain gutter, having been forced to put two wheels on the grass to avoid colliding with Perez, but had been confident of avoiding damage.

“I just put two wheels in, and then there's a massive gutter ditch there which I don't feel is probably on many other places,” he said. “Sergio's start wasn't great. I had a bit of a run. He made like a little flinch, but when it happens that quick, you see him move, I moved, and then he straightens up, and the next thing I’m on the grass.

“You never know how much he's going to move. Because he was still in front at the time, you just kind of follow his initial reaction, and that second one, I just put my wheel on the grass.

“When I touched the grass, I wasn't actually too concerned. I thought I would just drive through it. I felt like I probably still had enough momentum to stay alongside him. But then that ditch was there, and that was it.”

 

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