MELBOURNE: Home hero Daniel Ricciardo was crestfallen after a costly error led to a crash in the final frenetic stages of qualifying Saturday to push him down the grid for the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.
Australia’s big hope was trying to post a quicker time in the final Q3 stage when he lost control of his Red Bull at turn 14.
His RB13 car sustained extensive rear damage when he crashed into a barrier prematurely ending his qualifying and suspending the final session while his car was cleared from the track.
Ricciardo will start 10th on the race grid to continue a run of wretched luck at his home grand prix where he is seeking to become the race’s first Aussie winner in 37 years.
He is lining up for his sixth crack at the race in Melbourne on Sunday, after placing fourth last year, his best performance yet.
In 2014, Ricciardo crossed the line second behind Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg, but cruelly he was disqualified for breaching fuel rules.
“I’m physically okay, but emotionally it’s tough. At least (the crash) didn’t happen in Q1,” Ricciardo told reporters.
“We made a big step forwards in Q2 but the lap in Q3 was a bit messy and then turn 13 caught me out. There was no way of catching that and saving it.
“I lost in going into Turn 14. It happened quickly, I could feel rear was starting to come around.
“I tried to catch it but it came around, and as the result of more downforce and more grip, when you lose it it’s a lot more violent and aggressive, so it caught me out.
“I would have loved to be (in the) top five rather than 10th.”
Ricciardo has won four races from 109 GPs, but he said earlier in the week that a win in Australia would top them all.
“If anyone could win just one race, they would always say their home (race),” he said.
Alan Jones was the last Australian to win his home grand prix in 1980, when he was also the last Australian to win the world title.