Daniel Ricciardo had a nightmare debut as he retired early for his new Renault F1 Team at his home race in Melbourne.
Ricciardo started twelfth on the grid but ran wide on the main straight and lost his front wing in the melee.
After suffering substantial damage during the start, Ricciardo was forced into an early pit-stop for a front wing and nose change.
However, he failed to recover from the early damage caused by a wide line and ended up retiring on lap 28 as a precaution.
It was his debut for Renault after making the switch to the French team from Red Bull Racing in the close season.
And he was devastated with his opening performance, Ricciardo said: “I’m gutted, that’s for sure. I made a good start, managed to get a good run on Perez and then moved to the side.
“I put a wheel on the grass, which didn’t concern me, and then a massive bump caught me by surprise.
“It’s unlucky more than anything and, unfortunately, that was our race run there and then. It all happened very quickly and it was a shame we finished like that.”
Ricciardo spent a decade with Red Bull but felt the need to switch teams to revitalise his career and help propel him closer to challenging at the top.
Although he was unconvincing in Melbourne and had a disappointing debut in the bright yellow of Renault, Ricciardo insists his teammate Nico Hulkenberg proved there’s a lot to come from the team.
Hulkenberg finished seventh and Ricciardo says his race pace proved that the car can be well within the points.
He added: “Nico showed in the race that the car belongs in the top eight and we’ll be aiming for a smoother weekend in Bahrain and a strong result.”