Australian Grand Prix – Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo was left to further rue his grid penalty after being unable to finish the qualifying hour higher than fifth place.
Ricciardo’s hope of securing a strong result at his home event were dealt a blow following Friday practice after he was adjudged to have driven too fast under red flag conditions.
He was handed a three-place grid penalty, which meant he would be unable to start the race any higher than fourth place.
However, Red Bull struggled to match the pace of the Mercedes and Ferrari’s and, combined with being unable to out-qualify team-mate Max Verstappen, resulted in the Australian finishing the qualifying hour in fifth.
The end result is an eighth place grid start, something which Ricciardo maintains is an “unjust” result.
“In the last part of Q3 we just missed a bit in the first sector, I’m not totally sure where the time is so we’ll have to look at that,” explained Ricciardo.
“Overall, the car didn’t feel too bad, we asked for a bit more front grip but we’d used all the front wing we had, so there was no more we could do in Q3.
“Obviously starting eighth because of the penalty is frustrating and I thought it was unjust.
“There are reprimands, fines and other things but to shoot me in the ankle before the season starts, well, I think they could have done better.
Despite the lower-than-expected starting position, Ricciardo was optimistic about the team’s decision to start the race on the super soft tyre.
“We’re the only ones in the top 10 starting on the Supersoft so hopefully that helps us and ideally the leaders have trouble making the one stop work with the Ultrasoft and we capitalise there.
“It’s going to be pretty tricky to overtake so strategy will be key. The race pace looks pretty good and I’m looking forward to coming through the field.
“We’re obviously better than eighth so we will try and make it happen. To be honest, I feel sorry for the guys in front of me tomorrow as they’re the ones I’m going to have to take my anger out on.”