Daniel Ricciardo hasn’t been able to catch a break recently. After recovering from a hand injury, Ricciardo was back on the grid at the U.S. Grand Prix, but his return was hampered by some damaged he picked up on his front-left brake duct that cost him a significant amount of downforce.
Ricciardo explained that the damage effectively put him out of the race and made it “pretty miserable.”
“We lost a lot of pace very quickly,” Ricciardo said. “I told the team, ‘Sorry guys, I’ve got nothing right now, I really can’t do anything.’
“Then they said, ‘It looks like we’ve lost something,’ and they came back and said, ‘Yeah, there’s damage to somewhere on the front of the car.’
“I guess it was debris because they mentioned Stroll. I think we got close but I don’t think we touched. We must have picked up some debris somewhere and that made our race a pretty miserable one, I won’t lie.
“We’re at best a top ten car, and when you put damage into it we are certainly out of the points.”
15th was the best Ricciardo could achieve. In contrast, his teammate Yuki Tsunoda managed to finish 8th on Sunday after Hamilton and Leclerc was disqualified for a technical infringement.
“Most of our day today was misfortune,” Ricciardo added. “But for sure there is still some things to work on, for the team’s side but also for me.
“Even in the first stint, I think the timing of the stop wasn’t great, but I don’t know, I’ll always hold myself accountable and be like, ‘Okay, could I have read that a little bit better, should I have tried to be more proactive?’
“I definitely did make it aware that I was going to probably lose time in traffic. I’ll always be a little critical of myself. For sure some things that we can do better, so I’m glad we don’t have too much of a break and I think also for my race fitness, just to keep smashing it out now I think is good. Today was a long one but I think we’ll quickly learn from this.”
Ricciardo insists that his injury recovery is not hampering his performance too much but admits that there was some pain on Saturday. However, he’s now confident that now he’s done a grand prix distance his hand will no longer be an issue.
“Physically, it’s pretty good,” he explained. “I actually felt probably worse [on Saturday]. I say worse. Obviously still okay, but I felt like I got out of the car probably sweating more. So maybe that was just a good little warm-up for me.
“I think there’s positives of the hand is no excuse [for a lack of performance]. I think that was good. I think we did well with the timing of the return to kind of have no hesitations or excuses. Physically it’s definitely a tougher race and I still felt okay, we were just limited with damage.”