Daniel Ricciardo says the Renault F1 Team had lowered their expectations for Qualifying at the Baku City Circuit, with the Australian finding himself eliminated in Q2 on Saturday.
Neither Ricciardo nor team-mate Nico Hülkenberg have shown the kind of pace usually associated with Renault in 2019 so far in Azerbaijan and neither driver was able to make it into the top ten. Such was the disappointment, Hülkenberg even failed to make it out of Q1!
Ricciardo qualified twelfth on Saturday but admitted Renault are a ‘little bit off the pace’ so far this weekend, but it could have been even worse for him had the changes made to the R.S.19 ahead of Qualifying not helped as much as they did.
“Considering how the weekend has gone so far, we probably lowered our expectation for today,” said Ricciardo. “Twelfth isn’t ideal.
“This weekend we’ve been a little bit off the pace and small things make a big difference. We’ve made changes from yesterday and certainly made progress.”
Looking ahead to the race, Ricciardo will start eleventh thanks to Antonio Giovinazzi’s grid penalty, but he knows anything can happen in Baku and it is imperative that he has a clean afternoon if he is to move forward and score some points for a second consecutive race weekend.
“You never know what will happen here,” said Ricciardo, who won back in 2017 in Baku whilst with Red Bull Racing. “I’m right in the midfield for the start and it can be crazy at this place.
“We have to keep it clean, keep chipping away and aim to come through the field.”