From bad to worse for Ricciardo in Styria
By Mat Coch
Monday 28th June, 2021 - 3:41am
A sudden drop in power in Daniel Ricciardo’s McLaren ultimately spelled disaster for his Formula 1 Styrian Grand Prix hopes.
The Australian qualified poorly but a strong start saw him rise to ninth on the opening lap.
Sporting the medium compound tyres, he sat in a strong position strategically to make further gains later in the race.
However, his hard work came to nothing when a technical issue aboard his McLaren MCL35M saw him drop 4.5 seconds, and four places, on Lap 7.
“It was an awesome start, awesome first lap and put ourselves in such a strong position ahead of a lot of our quicker rivals, and on a medium [compound tyre], so we were sitting pretty,” he told Sky Sports.
“All of a sudden I lost power, so every position and more that I gained, I basically just waved them on through.
“We were able to fix it on track, it was a control issue, so we were able to get it, but then it was too late and then I’m back in the mess that I did well to get out of on the first lap.
“Then you’re in traffic and you’re in a train and then, honestly, the rest of the race is over after that.”
The Australian speculated that the fault could have been temperature related, though team boss Andreas Seidl rebuffed that when asked by Speedcafe.com.
“We need to wait now for the analysis that we do together with our colleagues from Mercedes,” Seidl said.
“It has nothing to do with the temperature.
“There was a control issue on the powerunit side which affected the power delivery for half a lap,” he explained.
“[Daniel] could recover them with some steering wheel switches, but due to that he lost four positions and then we’re stuck in traffic and the race was pretty much over.”
The issue is another blow for Ricciardo at a time when pressure is mounting on the 31-year-old to improve his performances.
Having been comprehensively beaten by Lando Norris in the season to date, though the seven-time grand prix winner has shown glimpses of form.
On Friday, he was second fastest in qualifying trim, but that performance evaporated on Saturday as he slumped to a lowly 13th in qualifying, well shy of the car’s potential.
A technical issue when he looked to be in a solid position is therefore something of a sucker punch.
‘It’s disheartening for sure; out of our control,” Ricciardo told Sky Sports.
“I look at the positions and I was ahead of Sainz on the same strategy, he finished sixth. I think we could have been sixth today.
“It was painful to see all the work I’ve done, when you’re trying to fix it, and everyone’s just going past you.
“The weekend obviously went from bad to worse and look forward to getting out of here and coming back next week with a fresh approach.
“It’s obviously heart-breaking for me and as I said like disheartening, but I’m not the only one that feels that feels this pain and the race obviously awful lot,” he concluded.
Ricciardo sits ninth in the drivers’ championship with 34 points after eight races, while team-mate Norris sits fourth in the standings on 86.