Ricciardo blames poor qualifying for Russian GP crash

Daniel Ricciardo says he needs to qualify better

Daniel Ricciardo believes his poor qualifying result ultimately led to him being involved in an opening lap skirmish at the Russian Grand Prix.

The Australian picked up a puncture after contact with Antonio Giovinazzi as he, the Alfa Romeo driver, and Romain Grosjean attempted to enter Turn 4 while three wide.

The contact saw Grosjean pitched into a spin and the barrier while Ricciardo sustained a left rear puncture.

Giovinazzi meanwhile escaped without significant damage, but ended the race as the last classified runner.

Though he initially continued after taking service for a new tyre, Ricciardo was eventually forced out of the race as a result of the incident.

“Unfortunately, our race was pretty much over from the start,” he reasoned.

“I had too much damage on the car to carry on, which is a shame.

“It was a bit chaotic through Turn 2 and I had the inside line for Turn 4 where I thought I was safe.

“I got hit and had a puncture and damage to the floor.

“I’ll look at it with the perspective that if I qualify higher up the grid then I’m less likely to be in the bad stuff,” he added.

“I’ll take responsibility for that, but in terms of the accident, I was just a passenger.”

Across the other side of the garage, Nico Hulkenberg finished 10th, a four place drop on his qualifying position.

A slow stop and the timing of the Virtual Safety Car hurt the German, making for a frustrating Sunday for the Renault team.

“Since the summer break, we’ve been strong in qualifying with both cars in the top 10,” said team boss Cyril Abiteboul.

“But, in three races out of four, things haven’t gone our way and that was the case again today.

“The Lap 1 collision forced Daniel to retire with damage, while Nico’s race was compromised by a slow first-stop and an unfortunate VSC where he lost places with cars ahead able to pit under it.

“Once again, it’s easy to blame various circumstances, but it would be too easy to rely on that.

“We simply need to do a better job and offer our drivers even better starting positions and straightforward races.

“The car has the pace, we need to focus ourselves on achieving that.”

Formula 1 next moves to Suzuka for the Japanese Grand Prix on October 11-13.

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