Daniel Ricciardo makes RB admission as shock double Q1 exit follows huge upgrade

Elizabeth Blackstock
Daniel Ricciardo of Team RB during qualifying for the 2024 Spanish Grand Prix

Daniel Ricciardo of Team RB.

Team RB driver Daniel Ricciardo admitted that he was “honestly quite surprised” at qualifying in P18 for the Spanish Grand Prix despite a slew of updates that should have resulted in greater performance.

Neither Ricciardo nor Yuki Tsunoda were able to coax their Team RB machines out of Q1 in qualifying today despite a set of upgrades that included a new floor — but according to the Australian, the car didn’t feel bad. It just didn’t quite claw back the speed required for a better qualifying position.

Daniel Ricciardo “confident” but surprised by performance

Additional reporting by Sam Cooper

Though Daniel Ricciardo says he hopes there’s more speed to be found with this new RB upgrade, he did admit that in qualifying, “the car felt much more together” and more balanced compared to practice the previous day.

“Of course, there are some corners where you feel you should be flat there or whatever, so you know you may be missing a bit of load, but in general, I felt much better than yesterday,” Ricciardo explained.

“To still be back where we are… there’s still a bit more to find, I guess.”

Ricciardo qualified in 18th position, with teammate Yuki Tsunoda starting just one slot ahead of him in 17th.

Tsunoda voiced a similar sentiment as Ricciardo, saying, “[I wanted] at least P16. P17 is quite far away from where I wanted or where I was expecting from that lap.”

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According to Ricciardo, the primary struggle remains in perfecting the load and aero balance shifts occasioned by the updated floor. He felt his fast qualifying lap was good enough to at least secure him a slot in Q2, but it wasn’t to be.

Barcelona has often been the locale of choice for introducing upgrades thanks to the fact that it can be seen as an “average” of Formula 1’s other European race tracks. Slow pace in Spain, then, doesn’t bode well for future performances at tracks like Austria or Silverstone.

Still, Ricciardo is looking on the bright side.

“On one hand, it’s like, OK, we’ve got some work to do — but at least we’ve got a good few weeks now of proper tests,” he said. “We have to face it head on. It’s good to maybe have some weak tracks coming up that we can probably learn more about the car on.”

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