Daniel Ricciardo’s hopes of a points finish at his home Grand Prix were killed off by an exhaust problem at Albert Park. The Toro Rosso driver ran as high as ninth before the issue ended his afternoon on lap 40 and believes reliability isn’t the only thing the team must work on before Malaysia.
“In the end I had to retire with a problem linked to the exhaust. I reported back to the pit wall that I could hear strange noises and I tried to fix it by changing a few functions, but it was not to be. At the start of the race, I struggled to find grip and it felt like I was driving on ice, as it took a very long time to warm up the tyres. But afterwards, after about ten laps, I got up to speed and my lap times were not too bad, but by then I had lost too much time in the early stages. I think we have more homework to do when it comes to the tyres. Not the ending I wanted for the first Grand Prix of the season, especially here in my home race.”
Teammate Jean-Eric Vergne looked capable of salvaging some points late on but a mistake dropped him behind Sergio Perez to twelfth, leaving the Frenchman frustrated.
“It was a hot start, I was pushed to the outside and I ended up going through a gravel trap at one point. After that, the first stint on the Option was only average, but the last two sections on the Prime tyre were very good and competitive and I was even in the points for a couple of corners right at the end, but as I passed Grosjean I flat-spotted my two front tyres and overshot my braking point when I tried to chase Button. Overall, I think the weekend showed we have a good car with which we ought to be able to go hunting for points in every race. So I’m disappointed at not scoring here, but my hopes for the coming races are now higher than when we first started this weekend. I think that fundamentally, we have a good car.”