McLaren ‘scratching heads’ after Ricciardo’s Q2 exit

Henry Valantine
Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren

Daniel Ricciardo said he and his team are “scratching our heads” as to why he was so far off the pace in qualifying for the Styrian Grand Prix.

Having spoken of his positivity after a productive day in practice on Friday, the Australian was knocked out in Q2 for the fourth time in six races in his McLaren.

Team-mate Lando Norris will start P3 after Valtteri Bottas’ grid penalty comes into force, with Ricciardo lagging behind once again after a difficult qualifying session.

After a solid start to the weekend, the McLaren driver was left stumped as to where his pace went heading into Saturday.

“One is not so sure [about what happened], we just lost a lot of speed overnight,” Ricciardo told Sky Sports F1 after qualifying.

“It’s not even [just] qualy where we were slow, it was also this morning.

“We put the car on track and we were quite a bit off. So it’s another session where we’re a little bit scratching our heads.

“It was a long way off at times, like a second or something. So it’s a bit strange, obviously yesterday was really strong and encouraging.

“We wouldn’t say there are many answers at the moment why we obviously struggled a lot today. 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.”

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Ricciardo had set a time good enough for P2 in FP2 on Friday, which left him in a buoyant mood after his day’s running, but he felt there were still improvements to be made overnight.

Despite work being done to improve his pace on Friday evening, Ricciardo said he was pushing the limits of his MCL35M but the outright speed wasn’t there for him at that point.

“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,” he continued.

“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.”

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