Daniel Ricciardo might be counting the days until the 2022 F1 season is over after a dismal qualifying session at the Dutch Grand Prix.
Already confirmed to be on his way out at McLaren, after the team opted to pursue and sign fellow Australian driver Oscar Piastri for next year, Ricciardo has been looking to make the best of his final few months with the team.
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His qualifying performance at Zandvoort left a lot to be desired though, even in a season in which Ricciardo has continued to be easily outqualified by teammate Lando Norris.
While Norris was once again able to haul the tricky McLaren into the top 10 in qualifying, Ricciardo will start from 18th on thge grid after he was knocked out of the session in Q1.
It's a bitterly disappointing blow for Ricciardo, who is in desperate need to string together positive results as he pitches his services to various other F1 teams for next season.
Norris finished qualifying in P7, more than 10 places higher than his teammate, and crucially ahead of both Alpine cars, who McLaren is locked in a dogged constructors championship fight with.
Fans were stunned by Ricciardo's abject lack of pace, with former F1 drivers Martin Brundle and Jenson Button describing his performance as 'disappointing'.
“That is really painful," Button said on Sky Sports.
“The big disappointment is Ricciardo, I thought he was in for a big one this weekend.”
Ricciardo blamed a puff of dust and dirt kicked up by a driver ahead of him as part of the reason why he was knocked out early in qualifying.
“The second-last corner, I guess whoever in front of me it was, they went and put a wheel in the dirt or something, so as soon as I pulled out of the, call it chicane, corkscrew, whatever, and I was looking obviously up to the next apex and I could see just brown all over the track,” Ricciardo said.
“A lot of dirt and I was hoping that it wouldn’t affect the grip but it did and it cost me about three-tenths I think. So that was the difference, putting me out in Q1.
"I think the lap, it was okay; it wasn’t electrifying but it was definitely good enough to keep going in quali, and I think then it was a couple of tenths to find.
“Actually, I don’t think it was tracking to be too bad, especially where we were this morning, we were pretty lost in FP3, scratching our heads. It was trending like it was better but one of those ones where you can‘t do much.”
Fans on social media were also shook by how far off the pace Ricciardo had been.
Experience counts for naught in Q1 at Zandvoort, it seems. Sebastian Vettel, Kevin Magnussen, Daniel Ricciardo and Valtteri Bottas all out in Q1, as is Nicholas Latifi. #F1
— Daniel Moxon (@dmoxon_) September 3, 2022
God I can't stand watching Ricciardo. He's better than this. It's very sad at this point#DutchGP
— Chain Bear (@chainbear) September 3, 2022
Out in Q1: Bottas, Magnussen, Ricciardo, Vettel, Latifi.
Latifi 1s off Vettel's time. Ricciardo 0.5s off Norris. Rough time for both those guys at the moment.
— Nate Saunders (@natesaundersF1) September 3, 2022
Max Verstappen takes Dutch GP pole amid Ricciardo woes
Red Bull's Max Verstappen fired up his fans by seizing pole position at his home Dutch Grand Prix for the second year in a row with a storming final effort in qualifying.
The runaway championship leader was joined on the front row by Ferrari's Charles Leclerc, after qualifying at Zandvoort on Saturday ended with Verstappen's Mexican teammate Sergio Perez crashing at the final corner.
The yellow warning flags prevented seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton making a last-gasp bid for pole in his Mercedes, and the Briton ended up fourth, with Ferrari's Carlos Sainz third.
The pole was Verstappen's fourth of the season and first since Austria in July, while the margin of 0.021 between the top two drivers made it the tightest qualifying battle of the season so far.
"Unbelievable," said the 24-year-old, who had struggled in Friday practice, as the crowd celebrated in the grandstands.
"Especially after yesterday as well. We had a difficult day but we worked really well overnight with the whole team to turn it around.
"Today we had a quick race car again, but it was very close. A lap around here, a qualifying lap, is insane."
Verstappen will be chasing his 10th win of the season and fourth in a row on Sunday at a track where overtaking is not easy.
Leclerc, a massive 98 points behind Verstappen after 14 of 22 races, was fastest after the first flying laps of the third session, with Verstappen 0.059 slower and Hamilton third quickest.
The Ferrari driver went faster again with his second effort, a one minute 10.363, but Verstappen then put in a clinching 1:10.342 before Perez ended the session.
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