Daniel Ricciardo has suggested that his preparation for the Formula 1 season-opening Australian Grand Prix was compromised by being “too busy trying to please everyone” at his home race.
Ricciardo’s first race with Renault ended in retirement at mid-distance after a freak incident at the start had removed him from points contention.
Launching from 12th on the grid, Ricciardo put two wheels on the grass next to the pitlane exit in an attempt to pull to the inside of the slow-starting Sergio Perez ahead.
He then hit a gully concealed in the grass which tore the front wing off the car and damaged the bargeboards and floor.
“Just a shame it’s over so quickly,” he said. “I don’t know how I’m smiling. This week’s so long and I don’t ever seem to have a good break here.
“I think we’re too busy trying to please everyone else and not thinking about ourselves.”
As the only Australian driver on the grid, Ricciardo’s media commitments prior to his home race outweigh that of the rest of the field.
In the week leading up to Friday practice, he had already reportedly completed 25 hours of media events.
Ricciardo has never finished on the podium at his home race – disqualified from second place in 2014 due to a fuel flow infringement – and has now suffered two DNFs in his last three Australian Grand Prixs.
“Bahrain’s going to be a lot easier,” he added.
“It’s like a holiday week – there’s nothing going on – so I can actually prepare properly.
“For sure I’m frustrated this week because again it’s like everyone expects so much but the reality is I’ve got to show up on Sunday and when the race is over in five seconds – whether it’s bad luck or not – I feel like the preparation wasn’t where it should be.
“I feel a bit hard done by but trying to please everyone.”
Ricciardo’s Renault team-mate Nico Hulkenberg finished the race in a promising seventh place.
“I think that’s where the car belongs,” Ricciardo said of Hulkenberg’s performance. “I think we should be a top eight car throughout the first part of the season and then hopefully even better.”