The scream echoed down the Suzuka pit lane. But as Daniel Ricciardo trudged away, ears still ringing in his helmet, there were probably few who didn’t feel sympathy for the Aussie’s current plight.
Having been eliminated from qualifying at the Q2 stage after his Red Bull limped back to the garage with flames licking from its exhaust, Ricciardo’s recent record now stands at five failures to take part in Q3 in the last seven races – a statistic made all the more stark by the fact that prior to his current horror run it had only happened three times since he joined Red Bull in 2014…
Having bellowed into his helmet at maximum volume – good catharsis if nothing else – Ricciardo was forced to conduct his post-qualifying press commitments with his voice distinctly worse for wear – though he was largely lost for words.
“I just blew out my vocals. I’m pissed. I felt a loss of power out of the last corner, just before I started the lap. I knew it was something – and it seems terminal. I just can’t catch a break."
Should it be a terminal power unit issue, Ricciardo would drop from 15th to the back row of the grid, having long ago used up his quota of Renault engines for the season.
Regardless of where he starts, the 29-year-old, who hasn’t returned to the podium since winning in Monaco in May 10 races ago, was not confident of being able to salvage much in the race, despite his much heralded overtaking expertise.
“Hopefully. We’ll see,” he said when asked if his luck might turn for the race.
“Qualifying is important here, like always. It’s hard to follow but I’ll try to do what I can. But yeah, I don’t know… it’s pretty painful at the moment.”