Daniel Ricciardo says he feels drained after retiring from his home race following an error at the start of the Australian Grand Prix.
Melbourne was dominated by fans dressed in yellow following Ricciardo’s off-season move from Red Bull to Renault, but qualifying was a disappointing affair when both the Australian and teammate Nico Hulkenberg dropped out in Q2. Ricciardo made a good start to the race, but moved onto the grass as he tried to pull alongside Sergio Perez, and then lost his front wing after hitting a patch of asphalt on the run to Turn 1.
Ricciardo describes his emotions as “flat” after another difficult home race, where he has never finished higher than fourth, and not been classified on four occasions.
“I feel like it’s hard to get things going well here,” Ricciardo said. “I feel like that was pretty unlucky. I just put two wheels in, and the next thing, there’s a massive gutter ditch there which I don’t feel is probably on many other places.
“It is what is it. It’s tough. I feel like the whole week we’ve kind of… this week is a tough one because we’re always pushing uphill, and you can never do enough, but I feel we did more than enough. I don’t know. I don’t want to blame that, but I feel flat for more reasons than one.”
The home favorite explained he ended up on the grass in reaction to Perez starting to move, but didn’t anticipate any problems from doing so.
“Sergio’s start wasn’t great,” he said. “I had a bit of a run. He made like a little flinch, but when it happens that quick, you see him move, I moved, and then he straightens up, and the next thing I’m on the grass. You never know how much he’s going to move. Because he was still in front at the time, you just kind of follow his initial reaction, and that second one, I just put my wheel on the grass.
“When I touched the grass, I wasn’t actually too concerned. I thought I would just drive through it. I felt like I probably still had enough momentum to stay alongside him. But then that ditch was there, and that was it.”
Ricciardo believes his own performances in Melbourne have been suffering from his eagerness to fulfill as many PR duties as possible at his home race.
“I’m just drained, just trying to please everyone this week and I don’t look after myself,” he admitted. “I’ll change it for next year.”