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Ricciardo’s apology emerges after Australian Grand Prix nightmare

Daniel Ricciardo has received an apology for his misery at the Australian Grand Prix, with Red Bull chief adviser Helmut Marko making a surprising verdict on the veteran driver’s performance.

Ricciardo’s weekend was ruined when he was eliminated in the first qualifying after his best lap time was canceled for exceeding track limits.

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Things didn’t improve from there. Ricciardo started 18th on the grid and improved to 12th in a race in which only 16 cars reached the finish line.

The Australian’s problems looked particularly dire when Visa CashApp RB teammate Yuki Tsunoda pushed his car and ended up in P8.

The Japanese driver is now 3-0 in a direct duel with Ricciardo this year and he is also 3-0 in the qualifying results.

Since Marko is typically ruthless when assessing his driving performance, most would have expected him to tear Ricciardo to shreds after the race. However, the Austrian said that Ricciardo’s poor result was also due to his team not providing him with the car he needed.

Marko told Sky Deutschland that Ricciardo needed a “safe and confident” car.

“He has problems, we’ll see,” said Marko.

“There were some good signs at the Bahrain test, but the last few races didn’t go so well.

“I think Ricciardo needs a safe and confident car. I hope the team can give him that so he can at least be on par with Yuki.”

In an interview with the Austrian broadcaster ServusTV, Marko praised Tsunoda’s qualifying and race pace.

“Yuki ran perfectly from the first lap on Friday and drove very consistent and good times in today’s race,” said Marko.

“When [Haas’ Nico] Hülkenberg attacked, he countered immediately. I think we have confirmed that Yuki is a fully developed driver.”

There were widespread calls for Ricciardo to be axed from the Red Bull development company, while Liam Lawson was still calling for a promotion to a full-time driver in the team.

However, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner was much more positive about Ricciardo’s performance.

“Obviously he had a tough weekend. It looked like he had a pretty similar pace to Yuki in the race.

“Obviously he had a tough day yesterday when he wasn’t recognized for this round, so I just wanted to give him a little encouragement.”

Asked if Ricciardo needed encouragement, Horner said: “He’s a big boy, he’ll pick himself up.”

“It can be lonely for a driver in Formula 1, so a little encouragement is never a bad thing.”

As reported by foxsports.com.auHorner stopped before the race to speak to Ricciardo on the grid.

Ricciardo also talked about some positive signs when speaking to reporters after the race.

“I felt like I was feeling the frustration that I would put aside today,” Ricciardo said after the race. “I kind of knew what was being done and tried to make the best of today.

“It’s nice that there were moments in the race when I had the speed and was able to show: ‘Okay, I can still do a few good stints’. It was still good to do the laps.”

He continued: “I truly believe I can do it,” he said. “I wouldn’t say there’s panic. I would have liked to have started this season better, but we’ll just keep digging.

“It’s not like we changed everything and suddenly this car suits Yuki (Tsunoda) and not me. I definitely don’t feel like it’s anything like that.

“I think we’ll find something. I thought it was this weekend. Maybe it’ll be next time, and if it’s not next time, we’ll keep going until it happens.

“It will happen.”

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