Separate mechanical issues conspired to cap off a disastrous home event for Daniel Ricciardo, who noted up his first DNF since mid-2015 in Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix.
The Red Bull Racing driver qualified tenth-fastest after crashing out of Q3 and copped a further five-place grid penalty with a gearbox change caused by the crash damage to the rear of his RB13 chassis.
Worse still, the Australian was then unable to take up his grid position when his car ground to a halt with an electrical glitch on its reconnaissance lap to the grid.
Quick work by the trackside marshals saw his car able to be towed back to the pits before the start of the race, where the team’s mechanics frantically worked to solve the problem so Ricciardo could start the race from the pit lane.
He eventually joined the race two laps down on the rest of the field, with the race effectively serving as an extended test session. His suffering came to an end when the car again stopped, this time at Turn 4, midway through the race.
“That was a separate issue,” Ricciardo said of the cause of his DNF.
“At the end, we believe it was something to do with fuel pressure, basically it just switched off.
“It was instant, nothing [I could do], no procedure I could do to stay out there.
“I was lapping a few laps down, but we were getting some info, which was better than nothing, the more laps we get the more we’re learning, it’s still valuable track time.”
Ricciardo’s teammate Max Verstappen finished the race in fifth place, trailing a lacklustre Kimi Räikkönen in the Ferrari for much of the race.
Verstappen played a key role in deciding the outcome of the race, holding up Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton after the Englishman’s pit stop. Hamilton’s delay provided Räikkönen’s teammate Sebastian Vettel with enough clear laps to emerge ahead of Hamilton when he pitted.
The Dutch driver’s points’ finish places Red Bull Racing third overall in the Constructors’ Championship standings.
Image via Ignite Image
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