Dejected Daniel Ricciardo Clueless Over Shock Q1 Exit in Portuguese GP Qualifying

Published 05/01/2021, 1:22 PM EDT
Formula One F1 – Bahrain Grand Prix – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – March 25, 2021 McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo during the press conference FIA/Handout via REUTERS


The practice sessions at the Portuguese GP initially suggested that McLaren F1 drivers may struggle to break into the top 10 over Saturday’s qualifying. But the reality ended up being much worse, as Daniel Ricciardo has been handed a nightmarish P16 on the grid for Sunday’s race.

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What’s painful is that his grid position is only the tip of the iceberg. While he failed to break into Q2, his teammate, Lando Norris, clocked a lap time that was almost a second quicker than his, which saw the latter rocket into the top 10 with ease.

What did Daniel Ricciardo say?

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As reported by RaceFans, Ricciardo opened up about his unpleasant qualifying outing in Portimao. “I don’t really know what happened,” he said. “My laps were tricky, especially towards last sector. But why? It’s not clear.

I left a few tenths on the table. P16 is certainly not a result I was dreaming about at all.

Formula One F1 – Portuguese Grand Prix – Algarve International Circuit – Portimao, Portugal – McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo during the press conference Pool via REUTERS/Gabriel Bouys

The conditions were extremely tricky in Portimao, which may have played spoilsport in Ricciardo’s hopes of securing a decent finish amidst what has been a rather poor start to his McLaren campaign.

Meanwhile, Norris is in the form of his life, consistently churning out the much-needed front-of-the-grid performances out of the car. And this could be adding more pressure on Ricciardo to perform, considering the team has relied massive faith on the Australian.

Feels dark to be here: Ricciardo

Ricciardo portrayed a clueless figure, as he reckoned that he wasn’t anticipating such a result after a positive start on Friday.

I think I’m trying to get out of my old style,” Ricciardo said. “I’m quite conscious about how I approach every corner. I thought I’d made a step towards that yesterday – felt more comfortable. Feels dark to be here today. I’ll sleep it off.

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It’s not over yet for Ricciardo, as the big day is yet to come. With a powerful enough car in hand, the Australian could still fight for a top 10 finish.

This is because the windy conditions are likely to extend well into the race. Hence, almost all cars are prone to spins and crashes. And all Ricciardo has to do is keep his nose clean and bring his car home in one piece.

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But will he? Can Ricciardo turn things around and bring home some crucial points for his team? Well, only time will tell.

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Rohit Kumar

652 articles

Rohit Kumar is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. He has been an ardent follower of the racing series since 2007, with his love for the sport coinciding with his love for Kimi Raikkonen. He is also an ardent follower of Sebastian Vettel and Aston Martin Racing.

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