'What on earth': F1 world in disbelief over Daniel Ricciardo disaster

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·Sports Editor
·5-min read
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Daniel Ricciardo, pictured here during qualifying for the Styrian Grand Prix.
Daniel Ricciardo failed to advance to Q3 at the Styrian Grand Prix. Image: Getty

Daniel Ricciardo was left gutted on Saturday after failing to advance to Q3 in qualifying for the Styrian Grand Prix, meaning he will start Sunday's race in 13th.

Max Verstappen nabbed his second pole position in a week - the championship leader finishing 0.194 seconds ahead of Valtteri Bottas, while rival Lewis Hamilton was back in third.

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Hamilton will be promoted to the front row, with Bottas bumped back to fifth after he was penalised for his bizarre pit-lane spin on Friday.

Lando Norris continued his fine season by grabbing fourth for McLaren and will take advantage of Bottas' penalty to move up one spot on the grid.

But the struggles of teammate Ricciardo continued as the Australian failed to make it to Q3.

Ricciardo has scored just 34 points this season compared to Norris' 76 and has been out-qualified by his junior teammate in five of the last six rounds.

“I don't have much of an answer for today but we’ll figure it out,” Ricciardo said on team radio.

Speaking to Sky Sports after qualifying, the Aussie said: “We just lost a lot of speed overnight.

“It’s not even quali that we were slow, it was already this morning. We put the car on track and we were quite a bit off. It’s another session where we are a little bit scratching our heads.

“It was a long way off - at times, it was a second or something. It’s a bit strange. 

"Obviously yesterday was strong and encouraging so I wouldn’t say there is many answers at the moment why we struggled so much today but we’ll figure it out and look forward to tomorrow now. 

"Definitely didn’t expect to be here after yesterday.”

Max Verstappen, pictured here during qualifying for the F1 Grand Prix of Styria.
Max Verstappen look on during qualifying for the F1 Grand Prix of Styria. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

When asked what went wrong, Ricciardo was at a loss.

“I don’t know. Today is what happened, a bit of a mystery, actually," he said.

"We were obviously quick yesterday, and I know it’s only Friday practice, and I didn’t expect to be fighting for pole position today.

“But obviously we were pretty comfortable with everything. We put the car on track today and we are one second slower, pretty much. Then qualifying I think was a product also of this morning, we were just off the pace.

“Why? Not sure. But it was definitely one of those days, a bit of a frustrating one. So we’ll obviously try to understand why and how. It’s not like there was a lot of time here or there, it was just a little bit of lap time everywhere, and you try and improve a bit.

“But I just felt like everything I did, I was not really able to gain anything else out of the car.

“We fine-tuned a little bit (from practice). But nothing crazy, nothing which should explain being so far off today. And you obviously change the car to try to be quicker! So we definitely didn’t expect this today.”

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Max Verstappen continues mastery of Lewis Hamilton

Red Bull are primed to win their fourth race in succession after Verstappen claimed the sixth pole of his career to leave Hamilton in his shade.

The Mercedes driver is now on a run of four races without adding to the century of poles he scored at last month's Spanish Grand Prix.

Hamilton, 36, failed to improve with his final run following a poor lap. The British driver came on the radio to apologise to his Mercedes team.

For Verstappen, who is a dozen points ahead of Hamilton, there were no such concerns as he cruised to the front spot.

"It has been a very good weekend," said Verstappen, 23, who completed a practice double at the Red Bull Ring on Friday.

"Again in qualifying the car was good to drive. It is not easy to deal with the traffic to get a clean run but the first lap in Q3 was good enough in the end.

"I am super happy to be on pole at Red Bull's home race. It will be very tight tomorrow. It is never easy and hopefully it will be as interesting as it was last weekend in France."

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