Dan Ricciardo ‘trying not to cry’
The weekend started like a dream for Daniel Ricciardo but ended in a nightmare as he suffered a dramatic fall from grace at the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix.
The Aussie F1 ace started fifth on the grid at Silverstone in the UK but dropped all the way down to 14th by race's end as he wrote another forgettable chapter in his time with Renault.
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Red Bull's Max Verstappen beat the Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton (second) and Valtteri Bottas (third) to win the race, while Ferrari's Charles Leclerc (fourth) just missed out on the podium.
Leclerc had a far better race than his teammate Sebastian Vettel, who finished outside the points in 12th.
Ricciardo was third quickest in practice and fifth fastest in qualifying - a vast improvement on where Renault has been for much of his season-and-a-half with the French outfit. The 31-year-old was optimistic changes to the car for the fifth race of the year had given his team's package the boost it needed to be competitive but everything came crashing down when the lights went out in the main event.
Ricciardo slipped to sixth within the first lap, overtaken by Racing Point's Lance Stroll. He then spun out after emerging in heavy traffic from his second pitstop, where he changed from a second set of medium tyres to hard tyres, having started the race on a different set of mediums.
After his third pitstop the West Australian was 14th and there was no coming back.
It was a hugely disappointing result for Ricciardo, who finished fourth at last week's British GP on the same circuit and was so upbeat after practice and qualifying.
He said the team's tyre strategy hurt him, and regretted not skipping the second set of mediums and going straight for the hards, which would performed better and saved him from an extra pitstop.
"It was a race that just kept getting away from us," Ricciardo said.
"It's tough, we'll look but I think in hindsight we could have gone longer and tried to just put the hard (tyres) on (for one pitstop). But we came in for (a second set of) mediums, and that medium just got destroyed, we couldn't do much else with it at all, so that was certainly unexpected.
"And then finished with the hard, but we came out in a group, obviously, because the medium stint wasn't good. Then we were in the fight, tried to defend from Carlos (Sainz) and I lost the car.
"I spun, killed those tyres. The spin put us really out of the race, and then I killed those tyres because of the spin so our race was done. It just got away from us. It's a shame."
Ricciardo said things got "messy" when he was forced to defend Carlos Sainz after pitting for the hard tyres, which ultimately saw him lose control of the car.
"The first set of mediums wasn't bad. I don't think we were lightning fast but I thought we were hanging in there with the Racing Points," Ricciardo told the F1 website.
"It felt like it was going good, actually. Then we pitted and put another medium (tyre) on to follow the two-stop and that second medium just didn't work.
"So we had to pit shortly after for the hard and we were out of sequence, we were in that battle I don't think we should have been in and I spun trying to hold Carlos off.
"It was a race that started here (up high) then went into a bit of a hole.
"I'm trying not to cry about it but it's just one of those days. We've got to learn from it. A Sunday with great hope and little reward."
After Friday's practice Ricciardo said Renault had taken a "big step" with the upgrades made to the car and believed he was driving a "pretty good race car right now". But even without his tyre troubles and spin-out, he finished the grand prix unconvinced things were as promising as he believed earlier in the weekend.
"I'm not convinced the car was as good as we expected," he said. "I don't think it could have been a podium car today but for sure there were still some points that were available so we'll try and figure out what we can do better - obviously I can not spin - but to not put us in that mess. We'll see."
Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul was similarly downbeat about Ricciardo's performance.
"His second stint … was not competitive at all and we had to call him for an early stop, which compromised the rest of his race," he said.
"From his starting position today, we were clearly aiming for a better result."
Ricciardo's teammate Esteban Ocon had a better day despite starting well below the Australian on the grid. Ocon began the day in 14th but raced smartly to cross the line in eighth place.
Originally published as Dan Ricciardo 'trying not to cry'