His predicament worsened after his top time in Q1 was nullified due to a track limits violation at Eau Rouge, which relegated him to the 19th starting position for Sunday’s principal race.
Despite his lowly grid position, he was heartened by an encouraging drive to 10th place in Saturday’s wet sprint.
However, in the dry grand prix, despite making some headway early on, he eventually ended up in the 16th spot, on a day when his teammate Yuki Tsunoda excelled by fighting within the top 10 and securing the final point.
Ricciardo, the Australian driver, reported a lack of grip at the front and overall subpar performance throughout most of the race.
“My pace felt rather constrained today,” Ricciardo told F1 Flow.com when asked about his race performance. “Even in clear air, I was having significant trouble. To be honest, I was just struggling to maintain control during the high-speed sectors.
“It’s probably not so much that we weren’t warming up the tyres effectively, but rather that they weren’t generating enough grip, causing me to slide and overheat rapidly.
“In clear air, we were unable to pull away from the pack. It seemed like they were extracting more from their tyres early on, and I was typically overtaken while our tyres were still fresh.
“As things settled down, my pace improved slightly, but I was stuck behind them. This is obviously not good for the tyres, so it was a challenging race overall.
“I don’t want to feel too disheartened, it was our only dry session all weekend, so a simple set-up issue could be to blame, but I do wish I could have been more aggressive.”
He further added, “I was continuously surrounded by cars that were extremely fast on straights. So, I spent most of my day staring at gearboxes. While some people might like having gearboxes as decorations in their homes, it’s not really my thing, so I don’t need to see any more!”
Ricciardo concurred that Spa emphasised the deficiencies of the AT04 more than the high downforce Hungaroring.
“Today, the car didn’t feel right to me,” he admitted. “Even for the given downforce, we weren’t really maximising our new tyres.
“I wasn’t feeling the grip and pressure I was expecting. So that’s likely what we’ll be trying to figure out.
“Given the rain throughout the weekend, the track felt green, and conditions seemed quite mediocre. The race pace felt slow. All these factors probably played a part. But it’s all part of the learning process.
“While I tend to be quite self-critical, I understand that I shouldn’t expect too much at this stage. It’s all part of the learning process, and hopefully, we’ll glean more insights soon.”
Ricciardo accepted that his relative unfamiliarity with his car and the current tyres, compared to his competitors, played a part in his performance.
“There’s likely some truth to that, but I still think we fell a bit short. However, I’m grateful to have completed the race distance.
“There’s plenty to learn and feedback to give to the team. I noticed Yuki finished 10th, which suggests he had a reasonable race. I’ll aim to glean some insights from his performance as well.”
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Daniel Ricciardo’s performance
What challenges did Ricciardo face during his second F1 outing with AlphaTauri?
Ricciardo faced a difficult weekend with the conditions being rain-affected and only having the FP1 session to adjust the set-up of his vehicle. He further lost his best time in the Q1 due to a track limits offence which put him in the 19th starting position for the main race.
How did Ricciardo perform in the sprint and the grand prix?
In the sprint, he managed to get to the 10th place on a wet track. However, in the dry grand prix, he only made slight progress in the early stages and ended up being classified 16th.
What issues did Ricciardo report about his car’s performance?
Ricciardo reported a lack of front-end grip and a generally poor performance for much of the race. He felt his pace was limited and he was struggling with maintaining control during high-speed sectors. He also stated that the tyres were not warming up effectively and were not generating enough grip.
What did Ricciardo say about the set-up of his vehicle?
Ricciardo indicated that the set-up could have been a factor in his struggles, given that it was their only dry session all weekend. He suggested that a wrong set-up decision could have contributed to the issues he faced.
How did Ricciardo’s teammate Yuki Tsunoda perform?
Yuki Tsunoda had a good race, battling within the top 10 and securing the final point. His performance contrasted Ricciardo’s and showed that the AlphaTauri F1 car had the potential to perform better.