Daniel Ricciardo may have crashed out in Q3 at the Australian Grand Prix on Saturday but he was pleased the accident came as he was pushing for a top-five finish in Melbourne.
The Red Bull driver was expected to challenge in the higher echelons of the grid in qualifying at Melbourne Park, but as he looked to set an early time he slid off into the barriers at turn 14.
His incident caused a red flag and he will have to hope a new gearbox is not required for the race to avoid any grid penalties.
Despite missing out on the chance to shine in front of his home crowd, Ricciardo was able to stay positive heading into the 2017 season curtain raiser.
“That was a tough one,” said the Australian. “I don’t crash into the barriers often and the last place I want to do that is at home.
“But I feel I crashed for the right reason, as I was basically pushing and trying to find the limit and these things happen, so let’s say I’m not disappointed by the approach.
“It was just more of a frustrating outcome, starting 10th instead of being under the top five.
“It’s a chance to create a bigger headline if I have a good race so that’s what will motivate me to do better.”
— Red Bull Racing (@redbullracing) March 25, 2017
Ricciardo’s team-mate Max Verstappen fared a little better as he claimed fifth place on the grid, the Dutchman sitting behind both Mercedes’ – who have Lewis Hamilton on pole – and Ferraris.
“Qualifying was pretty much the first time I managed to string some laps together uninterrupted,” said Verstappen.
“We didn’t have the balance [early on] and therefore couldn’t find the rhythm, so we tried a few things that unfortunately didn’t work how we would have liked.
“Heading into qualifying we found some positives and built it up lap by lap, after that I kept improving, the balance got better and I managed to have a fairly good qualifying.
“The car is better balanced now but it is clear to see we still have to gain a bit. It’s not just in power; we built a car that is efficient on the straights but it means we lose a bit of grip in cornering.
“I am not disappointed as I think this is about where we expected to be at race one.”