Grip was at a premium for many drivers in Las Vegas, but especially for Daniel Ricciardo. So much so that the AlphaTauri charger felt like his car was in a different league compared to its rivals.
Ricciardo launched his race from 14th on the grid following a subdued performance in qualifying. While his teammate Yuki Tsunoda, who started P19, was able to move up to P12 on the opening lap, Ricciardo remained engulfed in the thick of the midfield.
He eventually progressed up to P12 ahead of his first pitstop on lap 17 of 50, but thereafter the Aussie’s efforts capped him at P14, with nothing lost and nothing gained at the end of the day.
Ricciardo had been hoping for much better, but the 34-year-old was pinned down all evening by his car’s painful lack of grip.
“I was coming to the race optimistic. I think there was still a bit of a reality that maybe it will be okay, maybe it won’t,” he said. “Unfortunately, maybe it wasn’t.
“We knew [that on] the race’s start, restarts, we would struggle because we’ve just definitely missed something here this weekend, getting the tyre working on the slippery asphalt when it’s still cold, or a new tyre.
“But even with that, I felt ‘okay, after a couple laps we’ll get some temperature and then be able to get back on to the pack. But we never really got there, and I think the restarts didn’t help us.
“That’s not an excuse, it’s just something that we lacked this weekend.”
In the closing stages of the race, Ricciardo was able to get the measure of Williams’ Logan Sargeant and Alfa’s Zhou Guanyu.
But battling higher positioned rivals was a losing propistion from the outset.
“We were operating on a different level of grip compared to the others,” he admitted.
“I was getting overtaking on the outside of Turn 3 which, take my word for it, the outside of Turn 3 is really, really, really slippery.
“So the fact they were getting me on the outside, I was like, ‘man, we are definitely operation in a different league.’
“So we’ve got some homework to do. Next week is a different story, so we’ll focus on that.”
The post Ricciardo ‘in a different league’ in Vegas with gripless AlphaTauri appeared first on F1i.com.