Ricciardo baffled by Q2 exit and sudden lack of pace
Daniel Ricciardo was left a lowly P13 in qualifying for the Styrian Grand Prix and baffled by why the pace of his McLaren had suddenly evaporated since Friday.
Ricciardo’s underperformance in qualifying contrasted with teammate Lando Norris’ strong run to P4 in Q3 but even more so with his pace in FP2 that the Aussie concluded second, just behind pace setter Max Verstappen.
“It’s a bit of a mystery, actually,” he said. “We were obviously quick yesterday. I know it’s only Friday practice, I didn’t expect to be fighting for pole position today. But obviously we were pretty comfortable with everything.
“We put the car on track today and we are like one second slower, pretty much. So, really, then qualifying was a product of also this morning, we were just off the pace.
“So it’s another session where we’re a little bit scratching our heads. It’s a bit strange.”
2021 Styrian Grand Prix – Qualifying results
Ricciardo admitted to being unable to single out a specific area of weakness that had impacted his performance.
“We wouldn’t say there are many answers at the moment why we obviously struggled a lot today,” he added.
“We’ll try to figure it out, we’ll try to look forward to tomorrow now but I definitely didn’t expect to be here after yesterday.”
“I didn’t think we had a perfect car yesterday but the lap time came, and today it felt like in some areas I was just driving to the limit of the car.
“I couldn’t go faster because I would basically run off the track, so I felt like I was pushing it but we were slower pretty much everywhere.
“We’re not sure at the moment. We’ll have a look at the data but as I said, not just qualy but this morning too – it seemed like yesterday was a long time ago.”
Looking ahead to his prospects for Sunday, Ricciardo still felt confident about his ability to score another top-ten finish.
“The one positive with being out in Q2 is you have the free tyre choice,” he reasoned. “So we’ll obviously try and try and play around a bit there.
“But it’s always a bit confusing when you’re obviously from one day to the next and not a whole lot changed today with weather or temperature. I guess everything’s very, very sensitive at the moment.”
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