Daniel Ricciardo said his Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was spoiled by a poor start.
“We had a good grid spot but couldn’t get the car off the line,” said the Toro Rosso driver, who lost seven spots from ninth on the grid when the lights went out.
“Our starts have been a bit hit and miss this year. The last few have been good but today was a miss. We got swamped on the way to turn one and in the end I went wide to avoid a collision – though [Jean-Eric Vergne] and myself may have had some light contact.”
Ricciardo ended the first lap in 16th place and he was still there when the checkered flag fell 54 laps later.
“If we start in the top ten and stay there on the first lap we have the ability to race and defend a good position,” he said, “but if we’re out of sequence it’s hard.”
Ricciardo’s poor start meant the team had to change their original strategy plan. “Coming into the race the nominal strategy was to attempt a one-stopper, albeit with the hedge of pushing on the first stint and seeing how far we could go with the tires,” he explained.
“One consequence of getting away poorly was to come out of the mix behind Esteban Gutierrez. He was on the prime tire and as we’ve seen in recent races, the Saubers have really good straight line speed. I couldn’t get past and sitting behind him we weren’t really making good use of the tires.
“At that point I asked if we could go onto plan B and the next lap I was called into the pits. A two-stopper was the way forward but ultimately it didn’t improve our situation much.”