Following an upturn of form from Ricciardo since returning from the summer break, taking a stunning victory in Monza in September, the Aussie has once again suffered a difficult race. A poor qualifying performance saw the Mclaren driver knocked out in Q1, sparking a decision from the team to take a fourth power unit and start from the back of the grid.
Ricciardo failed to take advantage of the new engine components however, eventually taking the chequered flag in P13 after what he described as a difficult race.
“I think we had maybe four laps in the race where we had good pace but the rest was hard,” Ricciardo told the media.
“In the beginning we struggled a lot with front grip, so it was really hard to stay close to the others, and then we pitted for a new tyre.
“After that I didn’t have great rear grip to start and was struggling but after a while it came good. We had probably four good laps in that stint where I could feel like I could really push on the tyre, which was what I was looking for. Of the entire race, that was the positive.
“I got a bit excited” he continued “because I thought maybe it will just keep getting better and better, but it lasted four laps and then the rear dropped away again, so the last ten laps were a bit painful, just trying to hang on.
“Obviously, we were fighting for the points and that strategy was our best chance, but it was just really unpredictable. I know others went longer, with one going the entire race on one set, but at the end I saw my tyres and they were on their last legs.
“Unfortunately, it wasn’t a strong race. Bring on Austin!”
Ricciardo’s McLaren teammate Lando Norris managed to take home a P7 finish, scoring some much needed Constructors’ points for the team at a track which proved difficult. Norris described it as “damage limitation”, with Constructors’ rivals Ferrari taking advantage of their upgraded power units to take a P4 and P8.
“A very long and tough race today mainly because of the conditions,” said Norris.
“It was very difficult to keep the inters in a good window during the race, but I think we achieved everything we could in the end, so I have to be happy with P7.
“It was damage limitation for us at this track, but we came away with the best result that we could. So, happy with that and we just need to make more improvements for the next one [in Austin].”