Aston Martin Red Bull Racing driver Daniel Ricciardo said he was “unlucky today” following a disappointing qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix, and that a spinning Lance Stroll sealed his fate in being dropped in the second qualifying session.
The Australian found misfortune at every step of qualifying, starting in the first session. With qualifying due to start and rain beginning to fall, it was a mad rush to the end of the pit lane to be first out, and to get in a timed lap before conditions worsened. As one of the last drivers to join the track Ricciardo was at an immediate disadvantage, and struggled to get in a representative lap time. Things looked to swinging into his favour though as the session wore on and conditions improved, offering drivers a chance to dive into the pit lane for UltraSoft tyres. This was an opportunity all drivers took advantage of – all, that is, except for Ricciardo, who was put onto the harder Soft tyres.
Despite being on considerably slower tyres than the rest of the field, the Red Bull man just about scraped through the first qualifying session, and into the second.
By the time the second qualifying session started, the rain had become far more considerable – and was only getting worse. This meant drivers had to make each lap count, as lap times would only increase as the rain became heavier. This is where bad luck struck again though, as Ricciardo – who was on a fast lap – had to slow and obey the yellow flags caused by Lance Stroll‘s collision with the barrier.
With his fast lap aborted and the rain getting worse, Ricciardo found his one opportunity for a fast lap had gone, and that he would be starting the grid from a lot further down than usual.
Speaking after the session, Ricciardo said he felt his twelfth place result was “more bad luck than bad strategy“, and said that whilst it would be difficult from twelfth on the grid “I’ll overtake, I’ll find a way!”.
“It just seems we were unlucky today. We had the Soft tyres we had to use and we thought they would have been safe enough for Q1. It made life difficult but it was good enough, just.
“Then obviously the rain came at the start of Q2 and the first car on track was getting a big advantage and the better conditions. In my first timed lap, the one that had to count in the end, I had Stroll spin in front of me so I had to abort and then it just got wetter and wetter and that was the only opportunity to make a good lap. The following laps it was too wet and in the last sector I was just trying to survive.
“We had to put the Wets on, but they were never going to be as quick as the Inters as the conditions of the track got much worse compared to the beginning. It was more bad luck than bad strategy though.
“Tomorrow obviously, I will try to move forward as fast as possible, I think we have the pace, but from 12th is a long way. I’ll overtake, I’ll find a way!”