Ricciardo frustrated after poor qualifying performance
By Mat Coch
Sunday 27th June, 2021 - 2:38am
A frustrated Daniel Ricciardo has been left looking for answers following a poor showing in qualifying for the Formula 1 Styrian Grand Prix.
Having only escaped elimination from the first phase of the session by less than a tenth of a second, Ricciardo could muster no better than the 13th fastest time.
It was a performance that came in stark contrast to a promising Free Practice 2 effort which left him second fastest behind Max Verstappen on Friday afternoon.
“We’re kind of halfway through the debrief and we’ve just discussed the limitations so far, we haven’t really gone into the reasons yet,” Ricciardo began when asked about his qualifying performance.
“I’ll shoot back in there soon and try obviously [to] figure it out but not quite completely clear yet.”
He did however concede that his current plight is frustrating.
“I would be lying if I said it wasn’t frustrating,” he admitted when asked by Speedcafe.com about his inconsistency.
“Obviously, yesterday, we were in a good place.
“Of course, you don’t look too much into Friday practice, but you can’t deny that if you’re feeling comfortable then it normally puts you in a good place for Saturday.
“To drop a lot of pace today was certainly a bit frustrating.”
Ricciardo’s struggles have been well documented, and remain a hurdle when it comes to unlocking the potential within the MCL35M.
Braking and high speed balance have proved difficult for the 31-year-old to adapt to in what is widely considered a tricky, but rapid car.
“It’s not concerning, it’s disappointing for Daniel,” team boss Andreas Seidl said when asked by Speedcafe.com if Ricciardo’s lack of pace is becoming a concern.
“Obviously disappointing for us as well that we didn’t manage to get him into quali 3 again today after he has shown, yesterday afternoon, the pace.
“But in the end, it’s a complex topic,” the German added.
“Looking at the data also after qualifying, we have a good idea of what the issues are.
“Daniel, despite the good steps he’s making forward, is still fighting with some of the limitations he is feeling when he’s driving our car at the limit.”
With team-mate Lando Norris set to start Sunday’s race from third, owing in part to a grid penalty for Valtteri Bottas, Ricciardo has a front-running benchmark against which to compare himself.
In doing so, there are some obvious differences – the Turn 6/7 complex at the Red Bull Ring a prime example.
“I’m definitely fighting it, to try to have the same kind of corner speed,” Ricciardo explained.
“I don’t think the fighting is coming from overdriving or wrestling the car, it’s just trying to basically carry a bit more speed and obviously keep the minimum speed up.
“I do find myself kind of run out of a little bit of track and a little bit of room, so I think that’s why qualifying was a little bit… I couldn’t really figure out how to find the half a second or a second.
“I felt like I was using all the grip available but it wasn’t converting on the stopwatch.
“We just kind of didn’t have the last time really from the start of the day with FP3,” he added.
“For sure, that’s frustrating how that kind of changes quite considerably overnight, but obviously just use that as part of the learning process.
“Hopefully we do a bit of digging tonight and maybe it all makes a bit more sense.”
The Styrian Grand Prix is set to get underway at 23:00 AEST this evening.