Daniel Ricciardo regrets trying to please too many people in his pre-Australian Grand Prix promotional activities as he feels it hampered his preparations for the race.

  • Daniel Ricciardo has marked the new chapter of his Formula One career with a stunning pink, green and blue helmet design, which he will use to contest the 2019 season.

Ricciardo’s debut with Renault saw him qualify 12th, one position behind new teammate Nico Hulkenberg, but his race was effectively over after 100 metres on Sunday. After lights out he had taken to the grass to pass Sergio Perez, only to his a gap in the embankment for a pathway, which ripped the front wing from his car. After dropping to the back of the order to replace the part he was later forced to retire from the damage.

Despite similar reservations about his workload ahead of the 2018 race, when he still raced for Red Bull, Ricciardo had a full plate in the lead up to the Melbourne race. His activities included driving a Nissan Supercar with fellow Aussie Rick Kelly, a full day of Renault promotional activity and numerous local and national press and sponsor events in the lead-up to the event, including F1’s launch party in Melbourne city centre.

Ricciardo says he will rethink his approach to next year’s race.

“I’m just drained,” he said. “I just try to please everyone this week and don’t look after myself. We’ll change it for next year.

Daniel Ricciardo is always centre of attention at the Australian Grand Prix. Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

“It’s tough. I feel like the whole week we’re… this week is a tough one. We’re always pushing uphill. You can never do enough, but I feel we do more than enough. I don’t want to blame that, but I certainly didn’t… I don’t know, I feel flat for more reason than one.”

Ricciardo’s luck at Albert Park has never been great. Despite qualifying on the front row and scoring a podium at the venue in 2014, he was later stripped of the result and disqualified due to a fuel-flow irregularity in his Red Bull car. He has not been back since, finishing fourth in 2016 and 2018, meaning the Melbourne venue still has not had a home driver officially classified the podium since it started hosting F1 races.

The former race winner certainly did not join Renault expecting to be competing at the front end of the grid, having frequently pointed to the French manufacturer’s long-term plan to return to championship contention.

When asked if Ricciardo had performed in the way Renault expected, team boss Cyril Abiteboul was quick to point out the fact the team was not expecting instant miracles from its new recruit.

“Let’s be honest, I can’t say that after the weekend we had together. It’s a collective performance.

“It’s a weekend mainly of lows, apart from glimpses of a very good and strong performance from him and the car in free practice, but in free practice we don’t care. We need collectively to do better. It’s a learning exercise, as we always say.

“When you change driver you make some steps backward before you step forward. That’s what we’re going through as we speak.”

Motor Sports News

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