‘I can still win 19,’ says resilient Ricciardo

Never one to dwell on a disappointment, Daniel Ricciardo came up with a novel way to lift his gloom after the season-opening 2017 Formula 1® Rolex Australian Grand Prix.

The Aussie’s big weekend began to go downhill when he crashed his Red Bull Racing in qualifying on Saturday and wound up 10th on the provisional grid.

It got worse on Sunday when, after an overnight gearbox change, he was given a five-place penalty and demoted to 15th.

And then it turned into a nightmare when his car began a slow meltdown that left him unable to start, until everyone else had done two laps, and unable to finish…

Yet, after all that, he was still able to flash his famous grin.

“Yeah, we had a few issues,” he said. “Just bad luck, I guess… I can still win 19 races – at least that's the plan.”

Ricciardo’s retirement after 25 of the 57 laps means the Australian Grand Prix remains without a home winner since it became a World Championship event in 1985.

"The most frustrating thing was for all these things to happen at home," said Ricciardo. "I don't put it down to anything other than the mistake I made in qualifying.

“We had an issue in the warm-up lap and a separate issue in the race. I think the car is better than we’re showing, but it is a bit of a puzzle we are trying to work out.

“I hope we can find the pace soon enough -- let's go to China!”

Heading out on track, Ricciardo could not get out of sixth gear and was left stranded shortly after the pit lane opened.

His Red Bull mechanics recovered and retrieved him to enable a start from the pit lane, but it was all to no avail.

“On the plus side, I'm getting out of here!” he said, after recovering and preparing to leave. “It's been a long week.

“Don't get me wrong, it's been fun, but I feel bad for everyone, especially the fans. I believe there is more people here supporting me than anyone else and I'm sure they would have loved for me to get out there and race.

“It just snowballed on from yesterday. The five-place grid penalty sounded bad enough, but then, obviously, we had other issues…

"I'm happy to move on. I'm disappointed, but I'll wake up tomorrow and be fine.” 

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