Daniel Ricciardo was left confused and baffled by his lack of pace during Qualifying for the Mexican Grand Prix, with the Australian only managing to qualify seventh on Saturday.
With his Red Bull Racing team-mate Max Verstappen just 0.086 seconds off pole position and starting on the front row, Ricciardo ended up 0.959 seconds down on Sebastian Vettel’s pole lap, and found himself out-qualified by Esteban Ocon from the Sahara Force India F1 Team after struggling with the grip levels on his RB13.
Ricciardo had gone into the session with high hopes, particularly after being fastest in Friday afternoon’s practice session and seeing Verstappen topping final practice on Saturday morning, but the grip levels were just not there for the Australian, and it left him wondering where the pace had gone.
“We have been strong all weekend but in Qualifying we just didn’t have any grip,” said Ricciardo. “I topped the times in FP2 and Max did the same this morning so we didn’t really touch the car from yesterday, but every time I left the pits today I just had no grip.
“We tried experimenting in Q3 and doing an extra warm-up lap to try and give the tyres something extra, but it seemed that the grip I had when I left the box, was the grip I had until the end of each run.
“Sometimes you get one set of tyres that you can’t turn on or warm up properly and you might lose some time, but every run it seemed to be the same story.
“This morning the track was really cold and we were still able to post a time on the first lap, so it should have been a breeze to get the tyres up to temperature this afternoon.
“If we can get the car back to what we had before Qualifying then I think we can still fight for a podium tomorrow, but this is confusing and we really need to understand what happened in the last hour.”