Mechanical woes have once again hampered a potential successful day out for Daniel Ricciardo as the West Australian finished the 2021 Formula 1 Styrian Grand Prix outside the points overnight.
After producing one of his better performances at last week’s French Grand Prix, Ricciardo unfortunately found himself outside the points for the second time this year.
While a solid Friday saw the Motorsport Australia ambassador post the second fastest time in practice two, that same pace wasn’t there for qualifying and Ricciardo started the race from 13th.
However, the 31-year-old didn’t lose hope and had a brilliant start to the race as he made up four places on just the first lap to move up behind Williams’ George Russell.
It looked as if Ricciardo was on track to replicate his French Grand Prix efforts as he closed down Russell and was showing plenty of fight, but that fight would only last seven laps as power unit issues forced Ricciardo to lose speed dramatically.
And in the space of one lap, he eventually dropped down to where he started, undoing all his hard work in the opening stint.
For the remainder of the race, it was an uphill battle for Ricciardo. A late pit stop saw him drop even further to 15th, although he was able to regain two positions after passing former teammate Esteban Ocon and Antonio Giovinazzi to finish the race 13th.
After producing his lowest finish for the 2021 season, a disappointed Ricciardo was keen to move on to a second race in Austria this weekend.
“It was such an unlucky race, really,” Ricciardo said post-race.
“It was an awesome start, awesome first lap and put us in such a strong position ahead of a lot of our quicker rivals. We were sitting pretty and all of a sudden, I lost power so every position and more that I gained I basically just waved them on through.
“We were able to fix it on track. It was a control issue so we were able to get it but then it was too late. And then I’m back in the mess that I did well to get out of on the first lap.
“Then you’re in traffic and you’re in a train and then honestly the race is over after that.
“It was painful to see all the work undone when you’re trying to fix it and everyone’s just going past you.
“The weekend went from bad to worse and I look forward to getting out of here and coming back next week with a fresh approach.”
There was far less drama at the front of the field as Max Verstappen continued his charge towards a maiden title, having led the race from lights to flag to claim his fourth win of the season.
Verstappen’s victory now sees him move 18 points ahead of Lewis Hamilton who finished the race in second place, while Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas edged out Sergio Perez to grab his first podium since May’s Spanish Grand Prix.
Ricciardo’s teammate Lando Norris rounded out the top five, giving McLaren a good haul of points to stay on top of Ferrari in the Constructors’ Championship.
The FIA Formula 1 World Championship will stay at the Red Bull Ring this weekend for the Austrian Grand Prix on 4 July.