The run of frustration continued for Daniel Ricciardo in qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix, leaving the Red Bull Racing driver angry at a power unit issue that forced him out without setting a lap in Q2.
Toward the end of his out lap, Ricciardo noticed a loss of power and returned to the pits, coasting into the pit lane before his team pushed him back to the garage. While investigations were taking place, heavier rain started to fall and Ricciardo was not going to be able to set a representative lap time — prompting him to leave the garage where he was caught on camera screaming an obscenity inside his helmet.
“I just blew out my vocals — I’m pissed,” Ricciardo said. “I felt a loss of power out of the last corner, just before I started the lap, and I knew it was something. Just can’t catch a break at the moment.”
Although Ricciardo thought the issue was terminal at the time, he later revealed the exact cause would not require a change of power unit components.
“The good news is I don’t have to take any penalties tomorrow. Obviously the penalty was today, but it won’t get worse. It was a throttle actuator. I think a mechanical piece broke. Basically it couldn’t give what I was asking for.
“As soon as I went on throttle I knew something was up. It sounded ugly, and then we tried to start it up — one of the bits was broken. I would’ve preferred it happened in practice or something.
“It’s a French thing, just a part. It’s a piece about eight millimeters or something thick. It kind of just broke. Apparently they take a beating.”
Starting from 15th on the grid, Ricciardo says the problem in Suzuka is the latest in a long line of issues that he has struggled with during this season.
“I can’t really (believe it), because even if I go back to Monaco, I got the result, but if you forget what my result was, I had a lot of bad luck on that Sunday. It nearly went. I did have bad luck but I didn’t, because it still got me home, so I kind of feel even Monaco wasn’t that smooth.
“I was just sitting with my engineer (earlier) and we really struggled to think of a smooth weekend we’ve had from start to finish. I don’t want it to come across all negative, but I think it’s just more that we’ve had a really unlucky (year). I don’t really know why. Obviously I’m frustrated and fed up, but I’m not going to let it get the best of me. I’m just going to keep trying and believe it will eventually turn around — hopefully at some point this year.”