The first Formula 1 race at the Losail International Circuit is one to forget for Daniel Ricciardo. He qualified fourteenth and didn’t get much further during the race. From the outside it just looked like a bale Sunday following a bale Saturday.
But nothing turns out to be less true. The Australian faced a very peculiar problem at the start of the race. He had to save fuel early on, but later it turned out to be a mistake.
“We had to save fuel very early in the race,” the McLaren driver tells RacingNews365. “I started saving, I thought it was a lot and it wasn’t enough. Tom (Stallard, his race engineer, ed.) said: ‘You have to save more, you have to save more, it’s not enough’. ”
“It got to a point where I think at times we even lost two seconds per lap due to fuel economy.” As a result, Ricciardo also had to deal with all kinds of other problems.
Suddenly no more fuel savings
“Then the brakes get cold, the tires get cold and you also lose grip. It’s kind of a downward spiral,” explains the Australian. He lost a lot of time and had to coast, taking off the gas before each braking zone and letting the car roll out to the corner.
“We were saving fuel about half the race and that cost us a lot, a lot of time. I was coasting around every corner and it was never enough.” But suddenly the problem was over and the McLaren driver was told to push.
“I don’t know what happened to the system or if they got a different reading or something. But then Tom said, ‘Don’t save anymore, just push’, and I said, ‘Wait, stop saving fuel’, and he said: “No, just push,” so I was like, “I’m so confused!” So clearly something went wrong.”
Bad start in Qatar
At the start of the Grand Prix something went wrong with Ricciardo. The Australian lost a number of places and explains himself what went wrong. “My start itself wasn’t bad, but I think it was Charles Leclerc and Lance Stroll who were next to me. I was in the middle and I couldn’t see the first corner.”
“I tried to read the brake signs, but I didn’t see them. So I kept driving between them for as long as I thought I could. Then I braked and saw that it was way too early. A lot of drivers then came around the outside and had free track.”