After a disappointing P14 in qualifying for the Qatar Grand Prix, Mclaren driver Daniel Ricciardo had any hopes of a better result on Sunday dashed when the team instructed him to drive conservatively throughout the first half of the Grand Prix.
While Ricciardo was later allowed to drive at his full potential, his chance at a points finish had already been lost and he eventually finished a disappointing P12, three positions behind teammate Lando Norris.
"After the start we had fuel saving from super early in the race," Ricciardo confirmed. "And I started doing what I thought was already a lot, and it was not enough.
"So Tom [Stallard, the Australian's race engineer] said: 'You need to do more, you need to do more. It's not enough and blah, blah, blah. To a point where I think at times we were losing probably two seconds a lap fuel saving.
"And with that, brakes get cold, tyres get cold, and you lose grip as well, so it's just kind of a downward spiral.
“So we were fuel saving for I would say a good half of the race and that just took us way, way out.
"It's the most I've had to save and the earliest in the race I've ever had to save. I was coasting at every corner and it was never enough.
"And then I don't know what happened with obviously the system, or they got another reading, but then Tom was like: 'Alright, no more, just push'. And I said: 'But wait, no fuel saving?' He goes: 'No, just push!' So I was like: 'I'm so confused…'
"It's clearly a system error today and it's a shame because when I could push, I felt the reference time I got at the time I was able to get. But we were I guess at the mercy of an error today with the reading."
This error came after what was already a poor start for the Aussie as he dropped dropped back as in turn one having struggled to nail his braking point amongst the pack given it is a new circuit on the F1 calendar.
"We'll go home now, reset, take a weekend off and try to finish the season on a high."— McLaren (@McLarenF1) November 21, 2021
Today just wasn't our day. 👇#QatarGP 🇶🇦
"The actual launch wasn't bad, but there was Charles [Leclerc] and [Lance] Stroll and I think I was kind of in the middle and I basically couldn't see Turn 1.
"Obviously when you are towards the back it's quite hard to see that far through the pack, so then you kind of look for the braking markers, just to get a reference on when to brake.
"And I just couldn't see them. So I kind of stayed in until as long as I could and then I lifted.
"I ultimately just lifted way too early and then a lot of people I think on the outside had a clear run and went so.
I guess I was just not in a great position. But, yeah, I don't really know what I could have done more in that split second but of course I'll have a look."
He added: "I'm going to look at the bright side and say I'm glad it didn't happen in call it a podium position, because that would have been the most painful thing ever, but if definitely took us out of a chance for points."