Daniel Ricciardo was not prepared to blame McLaren’s timing for his surprise Q1 exit at the Turkish Grand Prix.
Rain before FP3 on Saturday had left the Istanbul Park circuit soaked, but it would dry out as the session went on, a process almost complete by the time of Q1.
And after initial tricky moments on the slick tyres, the track began to ramp up in the closing stages of that segment, meaning it was a case of last across the line triumphed.
Ricciardo though was caught out and eliminated in P16, a disappointing early qualifying exit for the Aussie.
But he is not blaming McLaren for putting him on-track too early, explaining that he had struggled on the soft C4 tyres anyway.
— McLaren (@McLarenF1) October 9, 2021
Asked by Sky F1 if it was as simple as the team not sending him out at the right point, Ricciardo replied: “No, there was maybe a bit of timing, but I think honestly we just struggled on the soft as the track got a little bit better.
“It was still damp in some places, but as everyone was improving I couldn’t really get that much more out of the soft.
“We made some changes during the pit stop putting on the second tyre to try to help give me a bit more grip, we made quite a big step, but it still didn’t really change the feeling.
“It was tricky as well yesterday, I think when the track is improving it is a bit of timing, I think maybe I crossed the line P8 and by the end I was P16.
“So being last always helps, but there was yellow flags and stuff in Turn 1 for a few laps so you get out of sync, so I wouldn’t point the finger, I think ultimately just not quite there on the soft.”
Ex-F1 driver Paul di Resta believes Ricciardo’s troubles all still come back to a lack of confidence in the MCL35M.
“You need to be absolutely on it in every condition and if you are slightly off it, unfortunately it has caught him out today,” he said.
“He was slightly ahead of the cars behind him when doing the lap time when it was a drying track, but Lando [Norris] had done his time before him.
“You can only benchmark yourself off your team-mate, and that is who you will always reference. But it’s just confidence, he is not quite there with this car.”
Shocks and surprises in chaotic Turkey GP qualifying
A frantic qualifying session took place at the Turkish Grand Prix, with some surprising results.