'Nightmare situation': Daniel Ricciardo in qualifying 'disaster' at Japanese GP

Sam Goodwin
Sports Editor

Daniel Ricciardo has been cut from qualifying after the first session at the Japanese Grand Prix, in an embarrassing new fail for Renault.

Sebastian Vettel put Ferrari on pole position on Sunday, with teammate Charles Leclerc joining the German on the front row.

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However it was disaster for Renault and Ricciardo.

The Aussie driver recorded the 16th-fastest time in the opening qualifying session, eliminated alongside Sergio Perez, George Russell, Kevin Magnussen and Robert Kubica.

Ricciardo’s final lap came undone in a slow time in the starting sector and he couldn’t recover.

Daniel Ricciardo looks on before the Japanese Grand Prix. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

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Sky Sports pundit Ted Kravitz said the Renault cars weren’t equipped to handle the strong winds affecting the Japanese Grand Prix.

“It’s just that this car doesn’t have enough downforce,” he said.

“They’ve been struggling with the head winds and it throws the balance all over the shop.”

Ricciardo was fuming when asked for feedback over team radio.

"I'll give comments once I get back," he bristled.

Mercedes filled the second row, with Valtteri Bottas ahead of Formula One championship leader Lewis Hamilton, who starts fourth.

Qualifying moved due to deadly typhoon

Ricciardo earlier admitted his Renault team have had to adjust their build-up as F1 bosses revealed hopes that Sunday's race can go still ahead, despite the looming threat of Super Typhoon Hagibis.

With the most powerful typhoon of 2019 wreaking havoc on Japan, circuit officials took the decision to postpone Saturday's qualifying in Suzuka until the morning of Sunday's race.

Australian star Ricciardo revealed he was glad to bank two practice sessions on Friday.

Ricciardo, who sits 10th in the drivers championship, level on 34 points with his Renault teammate Nico Hulkenburg, told the team's website: "We focused on getting in as much running as possible today knowing tomorrow is off.

"We improved the car in the afternoon after a difficult morning and found some decent progress.

Daniel Ricciardo takes part in the qualifying session for the Japanese Grand Prix. (Photo by TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA/AFP via Getty Images)

"We decided to complete some long runs and then short runs towards the end of the afternoon.

"Unfortunately, both low fuel laps were compromised with traffic - we're better than what the timesheets say - and I don't think we're too far off from where we want to be.

"Hopefully we can have a good qualifying and then be in a better position to race on Sunday."

Thousands of sandbags have arrived at the track in a bid to prevent the 3.6-mile course from flooding.

The paddock was effectively packed away with high winds set to batter the area. Residents have been instructed to stay inside.

Flights are being cancelled across the country, as are train services from Tokyo to Nagoya, near Suzuka, from Saturday morning.

with AAP