Daniel Ricciardo frustrated by penalty, Q3 display, at home Grand Prix

F1 driver Daniel Ricciardo hopes to end his Australia curse

F1 driver Daniel Ricciardo hopes to end his Australia curse

In 2016, Ricciardo set the fastest lap but couldn't secure a podium finish in front of his home fans.

There was a time, however, when the Australian's time behind the wheel wasn't all about foot-to-the-floor racing.

Ricciardo, who was tipped to be a contender at Albert Park, said he had been potentially "robbed" of a front row start.

"When you come to another circuit where you don't need all that downforce that's sometimes where they perhaps struggle, but I think they will be very hard to beat this weekend". Merc [Mercedes] and Ferrari and us.

"I had dirt bikes, off-road bikes - and me and my friends liked going camping and just getting away". The joy was short-lived, however, as he was disqualified soon after for a mechanical infringement that was no fault of his own.

"It has to be more fun [in 2018]", said Ricciardo, who started the 2017 race from the pit lane after his auto stopped prior to the formation lap.

While Mercedes had gone under the radar on the pre-season timesheets, it was a throwaway line by the team's technical director James Allison after the conclusion of testing that was ominous, Allison suggesting last year's Mercedes would be "utterly hopeless" compared with the W09.

"I'd left home and sacrificed a bit, so I wanted to do it properly, with no regrets and take away a lot of memories of the travel".

Ricciardo therefore entered qualifying with the sanction hanging over him, and was a low-key fifth in Q3, meaning he will drop to eighth on the grid.

The Western Australian will have additional motivation to start the year positively, with his contract finishing at the end of the season.

"The stewards also found that Ricciardo slowed by as much as 175km/h from his fast times at Turn 12 and was consistently and significantly slower in the final three turns, indicating that he was fully complying with the requirements of appendix H of the International Sporting Code", added the FIA's report.

"I don't have an answer", Hamilton said.

"It's not to discredit Lewis, not at all, but I think even him at 90% with that package, he still would've got pole. Ask me in six months' time".

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