Daniel Ricciardo struggled to hold his qualified position of second at the European Grand Prix, finishing in seventh.
The Red Bull Racing driver started the Grand Prix at the Baku City Circuit with high expectations, after moving up to the front row when the Sahara Force India of Sergio Perez took a five place grid penalty due to a change of gearbox, and the Australian had a good start after he was able to keep his position into the first corner.
After finding the grip levels disappearing early and sliding the rear of his RB12 and not being able to control it, Ricciardo went from being very optimistic to being uncertain, making two pit stops and eventually finishing the Grand Prix in seventh behind the Williams Martini Racing of Valtteri Bottas.
Ricciardo believes the Milton Keynes outfit needs to understand why they didn’t perform well in Baku, as normally they perform well in hot races.
“At the start we put ourselves in a good position and the aim was to get Nico,” said Ricciardo. “We managed to hold second and I felt pretty good in the first few laps, especially as I could see Seb [Vettel] wasn’t catching me.
“After lap three we started to slide the rear and there was no way of controlling it. I went from being very optimistic about our race to being uncertain. I don’t think we had the wrong strategy, one stop would have been ideal but we had to adapt and were forced into a two stop race.
“We were slow in the first two stints but in the third one we managed to find some pace and I passed [Nico] Hulkenburg, which was good fun. I think Max suffered the same issues so that’s just the way it went, I don’t think we could have done anything else today.
“We need to understand why because we usually perform well in hot races, like Singapore. Today was a bit unexpected. I got everyone’s hopes up yesterday by saying it could be the race of the season, It was, however, pretty uneventful.”