Ricciardo sorry as home title hopes spin out
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[March 25, 2017]
By Ian Ransom
MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Daniel Ricciardo
was left apologizing to the Red Bull garage after his hopes of
becoming the Australian Grand Prix's first home winner spun out
during qualifying on Saturday.
The affable 27-year-old will start 10th on the grid after he skidded
at turn 14, ended up in the gravel and hit a barrier before his car
was towed from the track.
Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton took pole ahead of Ferrari's second-placed
Australia has waited in vain for a local champion but it would
require a good dose of luck and something truly special from
Ricciardo for the drought to end on Sunday.
"That was a tough one today. I don't crash into the barriers often
and the last place I want to do that is at home," he said.
"But I feel I crashed for the right reason, as I was basically
pushing and trying to find the limit and these things happen.
"So let's say I'm not disappointed by the approach, it was just more
of a frustrating outcome, starting 10th instead of being under the
"I feel for the mechanics, because they've had a long week and now
they've got a long night ahead of them."
Ricciardo's teenage team mate Max Verstappen qualified fifth but was
scarcely more pleased, with his fastest lap more than a second
slower than pole-sitter Hamilton's.
Neither of the Red Bull drivers were enamored with the performance
of their cars during Friday practice and Verstappen complained his
was still far from optimal after qualifying.
"It's been a bit of a tough weekend in general, I haven't done as
much running as I would have liked," he said.
[to top of second column]
Red Bull Racing driver Daniel Ricciardo of Australia waves to fans
as he walks down pit lane after crashing out of the qualifying
session. REUTERS/Brandon Malone
"The car is better balanced now but it is clear to see we still have
to gain a bit.
"It's not just in power; we built a car that is efficient on the
straights but it means we lose a bit of grip in cornering.
"I am not disappointed as I think this is about where we expected to
be at race one.
"Tomorrow it is important for me to have a quick and clean start and
let the guys in front battle it out."
(Editing by Sudipto Ganguly)
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