“It was painful” – Ricciardo reveals strange reason he was not in the rhythm in Qatar

Daniel Ricciardo endured a grueling Qatar Grand Prix which saw him finish out of points in P12. But according to the Australian, an issue with McLaren’s data that forced him to save fuel on the first lap was ultimately what kept him from finishing higher at Losail.

Ricciardo was already behind before the race after a disappointing qualifying session that saw him retire in Q2, along with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Red Bull’s Sergio Perez. But as these two drivers would leave Qatar after scoring points, Ricciardo could only climb from his 14th place on the grid to 12th place under the checkered flag.

READ MORE: ‘We should have beaten Ferrari,’ says Norris, after late tire problem cost him P4 in Qatar

And asked after the Grand Prix where his pace got lost, he replied: “In fuel economy, that’s where he got lost.

“We had a few things going on today. So already from the first lap I had fuel warnings on the dash that you don’t get on the first lap so I ignored it, because I thought it was ok, it’s just a error in the dashboard.

“But soon enough, I was told that we had to seriously start saving fuel. I saved quite a bit, like already what I thought was too much, and was told that it was not enough, it was not enough, to the point where we were … probably slowing down by two seconds per lap. And with that, the tires cool down, the brakes cool down, so you lose even more in the end.

Daniel Ricciardo: Bad fuel economy data costs Qatar GP “two seconds per lap”

As Ricciardo tended to his fuel economy issue throughout the Qatar Grand Prix, he admitted he wondered if it would have been better to remove the car, saying: “[The fuel saving] never seemed to be enough. So I was thinking to myself what is the point of staying out, because obviously there is an error and maybe we were wrong, but we are just sailing.

READ MORE: Hamilton cuts Verstappen’s title lead with Qatar win as Alonso climbs to first podium in F1 comeback

“So we had to do that for most of the race. Then I was told to stop saving fuel and I pushed like crazy [laughs]. I don’t know why I’m still laughing, I don’t want to laugh. It was painful and obviously something went wrong in the data or the math today and we were getting the wrong information.

“So that’s what we have to look at, because our race was dictated by the numbers we were getting and clearly those numbers were wrong.”

Ricciardo says he was forced to reduce his pace to save fuel

The Qatar Grand Prix ended F1’s last triple header of the season, a triple header where Ricciardo failed to finish higher than P12 in Mexico and Qatar as he retired from the Grand Prix from Sao Paulo. And Ricciardo admitted that the racing trio had “not been pleasant” as he turned his attention to the upcoming Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on December 5th.

READ MORE: Relief for Ferrari as they extend their lead over McLaren, despite pitstop issues for Sainz and chassis issues for Leclerc

“I’m going to be doing the sim on Wednesday I think, and on paper Arabia looks good [for us]so I can’t wait to find a new track, ”said Ricciardo, whose teammate Lando Norris finished 9th in Qatar, after running fourth for much of the race before suffering a late puncture. “I really feel like there were times today when, when I could push, the pace was okay.

“Let’s move on,” he concluded. “This triple header has not been pleasant, not pleasant, so we’ll move on. But I think we obviously need to understand what happened today. It was a big problem.

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