The Red Bull driver has endured a problematic end to his final campaign with the team before he switches to Renault in 2019, suffering several mechanical failures that have cost him strong results and led to grid penalties at subsequent races for engine component changes.
Ricciardo had to serve a penalty in Brazil last weekend, after his turbocharger was damaged by a marshal’s fire extinguisher when he retired from the Mexican Grand Prix.
Speaking after recovering from 11th to finish fourth in Brazil, Ricciardo said it was frustrating to keep having to race through the field when better results were on the table given Red Bull’s speed.
“I saw the replay [of the Mexico incident], they showed it on Friday just to add a bit of salt in my wounds!” said Ricciardo.
“And there was another statistic that I’ve had more DNFs this year than Lewis [Hamilton] in the last five years or something, so they’re really throwing some uppercuts at me.
“I feel like every time we start out of position or we start at the back, we have a fast car. I guess it’s just a bit of built up frustration.”
Ricciardo was keen not to place any blame on the marshals in Mexico.
“I saw the replay, I thought it was just smoke,” he said. “But there was a moment when the flames were there, so I’m not going to get angry at the marshal for doing that.
“Their job is to put a fire out if they see one. I’m not angry at anyone, I just wish it would run perfect.
“As soon as I crossed the line at the end [in Brazil], I was quite upset because the podium was so close and we had the pace.
“I don’t have any regrets, I don’t feel I lost the podium or the team lost the podium.
“We did everything we could, so I’m not upset about that. We surprisingly had a very fast car here, and the race was fun.
“I know we were better than fourth, but anyway, I’ve got one more chance with the team to get up there, so in Abu Dhabi we’ll give it our best.
“With the pace we had [in Brazil] I really have some optimism going into Abu Dhabi – I feel like it’s always a stronger track for us than this is.”
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing in parc ferme
Photo by: Jerry Andre / Sutton Images