Ricciardo not wasting energy on early qualifying exit
By Mat Coch
Sunday 10th October, 2021 - 2:46am
Daniel Ricciardo didn’t allow himself to get frustrated or downbeat following his early exit from qualifying for the Formula 1 Turkish Grand Prix.
Ricciardo set the 16th best time in changeable conditions to become the highest profile elimination from the first phase of qualifying.
He was the victim of a ploy by Ferrari, which used Carlos Sainz as a spoiler to disrupt McLaren’s session.
Sainz, who start from the rear of the grid following a power unit penalty, set a final flying lap in qualifying to seal the eight-time grand prix winner’s fate.
“You never want to be out in Q1,” the Australian said when asked by Speedcafe.com about his early bath.
“That’s obviously not what I get into qualifying for, to have an early exit.
“Sometimes I get super frustrated and sometimes I’m able just to, I don’t know, just get on with it and accept it for what it is.
“So kind of immediately back at the garage and just trying to kind of look over the lap on the data and tried to understand what it was,” he added.
“I felt, for example, understeer in the car, but just checking; was it understeer or was there something else that was giving me this feeling.”
The opening segment of qualifying took place on a slippery track, with spots of rain falling during proceedings.
It made for an ever-changing racing surface that caught a number of drivers out and saw Ricciardo seemingly set his final effort 90 seconds too early.
“There was still some damp spots and I think it was obviously getting better and better,” he explained.
“I mean, in a perfect world, you want to be the last car but that’s not always possible.
“That being said, simply wasn’t really quick enough on the soft tyre.
“I struggled a bit on it yesterday. I mean, not crazy, but there was still some work to do on it.
“We had two sets in Q1, but still didn’t really feel like I was able to get my teeth stuck into it.
“I’d put that more over a bit of timing or whatever,” he continued.
“There was yellow flags in Turn 1 and you kind of get out of sync and you miss a lap and this and that, so of course there’s a bit of that going on but a lot of that was out of our control as well.”
Already struggling for pace, McLaren is now set to analyse the value in taking a strategic power unit penalty for Ricciardo.
“That’s something we have to review now overnight, together with our colleagues from Mercedes and see if we will change our plans for tomorrow,” team principal Andreas Seidl admitted when asked about the prospect by Speedcafe.com.
“So far this weekend, we didn’t plan to do any changes.”
Set to start 16th at best, Ricciardo doesn’t know how the race will pan out.
While rain is forecast for Sunday in Turkey, the chance reduces into the afternoon, with conditions expected to be broadly similar to those seen in qualifying.
“We don’t really know if it’s going to be a difficult track for overtaking,” the Italian Grand Prix winner confessed.
“I mean, no track’s easy so I’m sure it will be challenging, but there was some long run instances yesterday where I felt quite comfortable.
“I am also optimistic or confident that tomorrow can certainly be better, but we’ll see.
“Most of the top 10 start on a medium [tyre], so maybe strategy choices and Isn’t that obvious, but that’s something we’ll get into tonight.
“Of course, not a great day,” he summarised.
“I just want to look forward and not waste energy on being frustrated or angry.”
Ricciardo’s team-mate, Lando Norris, will start eighth in the race, which gets underway at 23:00 AEDT tonight.