Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo can’t catch a break in the 2018 Formula 1 season after another issue sidelined him from Japanese Grand Prix qualifying.
The Australian arrived in the 2018 season on a high and finally earned his pending victory in the Monaco Grand Prix but since then he has had a difficult time with four retirements and several penalties with power unit changes.
So much so, he hasn’t even scored a podium since his Monaco victory with a best of fourth in multiple races. At the same time, teammate Max Verstappen has had five podiums including a win in the 10 races since Monaco.
Ricciardo has dropped 24 points behind Verstappen when until Monaco he was comfortably ahead. The Australian is to move to Renault from 2019 which was a difficult decision to leave Red Bull after years of racing for them.
It is ironic for him that his current problems relate directly to his future team. In Japan as well, he faced a throttle connector issue in Q2 which forced him out of qualifying as his teammate Verstappen put the car in third.
Few questions have been raised regarding his confidence and motivation to race for Red Bull with a pending move to Renault. But the Australian insisted that he has not lost any determination to perform for Red Bull even if he is to leave the team.
“I don’t like being the guy like ‘why me?’, I don’t like being that guy that always wants sympathy or anything like that but today it got very close to that point for sure,” he said to the media in Japan. “I don’t really know what else to do.
“I was just saying there if I am angry and now its got to a point where I can’t help it but be angry because I am doing everything I can. I am not like I am slacking and already thinking about Renault. I really, really want to do best I can in every race.
“I want to finish here with Red Bull as strong as I can. I feel I am applying myself as the best I can and I have but it is not just working. That makes me angry but I’ll just keep trying,” he explained.
Ricciardo is to start from 15th for the Sunday’s race and is expected to make up places with the pace Red Bull has. However, it will be difficult for him to break into the podium positions which seemed likely on the circuit.
“For Daniel, it was extremely frustrating to lose him at the beginning of Q2 due to a throttle actuator issue,” said Christian Horner. “We are extremely keen for him to finish his final five races with Red Bull in a positive manner and unfortunately when issues like this happen which are beyond our control it’s immensely frustrating for Daniel and the entire team.”