Daniel Ricciardo felt his RB14 had much better pace than the result of the French Grand Prix warranted, with damage to his front wing making him easy picking for Kimi Räikkönen in the closing laps at the Circuit Paul Ricard.
The Aston Martin Red Bull Racing ace was within eight seconds of the race leader Lewis Hamilton in the first stint of the Grand Prix but the damage to the wing saw him lose performance and time, leaving him unable to defend from Scuderia Ferrari’s Räikkönen, with the Finn claiming the final spot on the podium as a result.
Ricciardo admitted it was disappointing to lose out on the top three finish, with the Australian finishing more than half a minute away from Hamilton when the chequered flag fell due to his downforce issues.
“I’m obviously a bit disappointed and it’s a shame to lose out on the podium today,” said Ricciardo. “We were definitely quicker than fourth place and it could have been a good battle with Max.
“I don’t know why yet but the front wing was damaged during the race. Before the pit stop we had really good pace on the supersofts, I don’t know how good compared to Lewis as he was so quick, but it seemed that we were pulling away from Kimi and catching Max.
“Then about two laps before I stopped I had damage to the left part of the front wing; I felt some understeer immediately and I don’t know whether it was a failure or I hit some debris but the mechanics could see it during the stop.
“After the stop, the identical part on the right of the front wing also broke. Because of the damage we had less downforce, the car was understeering, and the tyres were suffering.”
Ricciardo acknowledged that with the damaged car, Räikkönen was always going to make the pass for the final spot on the podium, although he was also critical about the blue flag situation during the race, with the Australian being compromised by backmarkers not getting out of the way.
“Kimi was always going to catch us at the end of the race with that pace, the blue flags were also pretty bad, but we were a wounded car,” said Ricciardo. “It was a shame as we looked quite strong today.
“The positive is that we got some decent points but we were definitely quicker than fourth and just unlucky this afternoon.”