Tyre struggles cost Ricciardo in F1 qualifying

Daniel Ricciardo

An inability to exploit the additional grip afforded by fresh tyres blunted Daniel Ricciardo’s charge during qualifying for the Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The Australian qualified 10th for Sunday’s race, though his best of 1:23.409s was some half a second off the pace set by team-mate Lando Norris.

“I think where Daniel struggled today is to use the extra grip of a new tyre and transform it into a step in terms of lap time,” explained McLaren team boss Andreas Seidl.

“He pretty much did the same that time with the new tyre and with the with the used one, which is something we have to look into together with Daniel.”

The Australian agreed it was not a straightforward session for him.

“It was a tricky session,” Ricciardo said.

“The new tyre was my biggest problem, I just wasn’t able to take another step with it.

“I’ve got to look into whether there’s something I can do differently to get the tyre in the right window.

“It’s on me to try to figure that out.

“Otherwise, we’ll try to do something from where we start tomorrow,” he added.

“Hopefully, there’s a few things happening that we can make the most of.

“Lando was strong, I’m really happy for him in third. Obviously, we’d love to be further up there with him, but I just didn’t have it today.”

Norris put in another strong Saturday afternoon showing and will line up third behind Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton.

It was a surprise result for the Brit, McLaren having scarcely shown anything appearing like the fourth or fifth fastest team this weekend during practice.

“Very surprised to be here also very happy at the same time obviously,” Norris said of the accomplishment.

“I think we were confident all weekend that we could get to qualifying and put in a good performance, but probably not to be this high up on the grid.

“My lap I didn’t Q3 was definitely just putting it all together was a very clean and nice lap.”

Norris will start Sunday’s race on the medium compound tyres, with Sergio Perez joining him on the second row.

The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix begins at 00:00 AEDT midnight.

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