Daniel Ricciardo’s difficult start to life at McLaren continued in qualifying at Portimao. The Australian was the shock exit from Q1 as he ended up P16, a full second slower than Lando Norris in the first segment of qualifying.
"Yeah, big, big disappointment," said Ricciardo to MotorLat and other selected media. "I'm still in a little bit of shock actually just how the session went. To be out in Q1, it's really like your worst nightmare as a driver."
Ricciardo had lapped within a tenth of Norris on the first runs in Q1 as the McLarens ran on the mediums initially, but traffic and an extremely scruffy turn 13 led to his ‘grim’ exit.
"The medium at the beginning of the run was okay, but we just didn't really get a clean lap. And then the soft, it was just messy, messy,’’ he said.
"Already into Turn 1, I didn't feel I was helped with some traffic. And then the end of the lap I was just trying to hang on to the rear of the car, I just didn't really get going from really the start of the lap.
"Then I was trying to probably play catch up at the end, which just meant a lot of mistakes. Yeah, not a good one.
"But why we struggled or why it was difficult to put a lap together it's not so clear at the moment. I think there's a few things for sure and there's some tenths left on the table,’’ he added.
"But it was tricky. So yeah, 16th is grim. It's not a result I feel good about at all."
The seven-time Grand Prix winner admits he’s still trying to get rid of old habits as he tries to get to grips with new machinery in a new environment this year. Improvements yesterday failed to transfer into qualifying.
"I'm still trying to get out of, let's say, a little bit of an old style," he explained. "So I'm still quite conscious about how I approach every corner.
"I felt like yesterday I'd made a good step towards that, and I certainly felt comfortable yesterday or more comfortable than a couple weeks ago. So that's why to be standing here now it's pretty dark."
Andreas Seidl believes the low-grip surface at Portimao is exaggerating Ricciardo’s problems and says it’s important for everyone to stay calm as the Perth-born driver continues to learn the ropes at his new team.
''I think it’s minor things that probably get exaggerated in low-grip conditions, like we have them here and like we had them in Imola with a drying track,’’ said the McLaren team boss.
''It’s important to stay calm, to analyse. I think he made a good step forward when you look at the practice sessions here... yesterday and today. Unfortunately in qualifying it did not work out.
''He just needs more laps, more time. I’ve no doubt it will come.''