Sprint result ‘middle fingers up’ for Ricciardo despite Q1 exit

Daniel Ricciardo says his top four finish in the sprint let him put a “couple of middle fingers up” to critics even though he then dropped out in Q1 at the Miami Grand Prix.

The Australian had a strong sprint qualifying session on Friday to secure a spot on the second row and actually ran third ahead of Sergio Perez for a spell before holding off Carlos Sainz for fourth. Although he then struggled in qualifying for the grand prix and will start last on Sunday due to a grid penalty from China, Ricciardo says the sprint result was a significant one.

“It’s so nice to fight at the front of course but then to be just holding for what we know are faster cars, it feels like a statement,” Ricciardo said. “It’s nice. It’s nice to still have that dog in me; it’s cool. A lot of people like to talk s**t so it’s nice to [put a] couple of middle fingers up, subtly.


“The first few races everything that kind of could have gone wrong did go wrong, so we had a little bit of a sniff yesterday and I feel like we capitalized on that. So this morning as well, the start was good, everything was going well, and I just felt like it was time to capitalize, and make some noise.

“Here we are four hours later starting last for tomorrow! Honestly the weekend has still been good. This afternoon we’ll look into it; it’ll probably dictate the rest of our weekend but I don’t think it’s a reflection of our weekend. It’s still been really positive, would love to be out there in Q3 with Yuki [Tsunoda] but we’ll try and understand it for tomorrow.”

Ricciardo acknowledges it is tough to go from the high of the sprint to the low of qualifying, but cited the struggles of Lando Norris on Friday evening as a similar example of where a driver feels like there’s a surprising lack of grip that renders them helpless.

“I am [disappointed],” he said. “I feel like it was one of those ones where I don’t think we could have done anything in terms of I didn’t have the grip starting the lap. I generally felt like Lando how he felt yesterday in SQ3. I don’t know what he said afterwards, but I saw his lap and he went pretty much a second slower on that soft. You could see him sliding already from the exit of Turn 1 and it was a mess, and that’s honestly how I felt.

“It didn’t feel like that second set of tires give me typically what it should with a new soft, so I felt like we were a little bit kind of handicapped. Obviously we don’t have an answer why, I’m not sure if Lando had an answer yesterday, but I felt his pain.

“That’s frustrating, but it’s not like we changed the car and changed something different and were like, ‘We shouldn’t have done that.’ The first set was fine. There was, as always, some time to find and I felt like it was definitely quite easy to find on that second set even with a new set of tires and track [evolution] and a bit less fuel.

“The lap time’s there in the car, I simply just don’t really know what happened with that second set of tires. It’s kind of a [bad] thing to say because there are no facts behind it, but you feel it when it doesn’t give you what you want, so that’s where the frustration lies.”

Story originally appeared on Racer