Daniel Ricciardo frustrated by penalty, Q3 display, at home Grand Prix

Daniel Ricciardo frustrated by penalty, Q3 display, at home Grand Prix

Stewards sanctioned Ricciardo for driving too fast under red flag conditions during FP2 and the Western Australian was still seething after finishing fifth fastest during the final phase of qualifying a day later.

No home driver has finished on the podium in the 33-year history of the Australian GP, although Ricciardo did climb the rostrum in second place in 2014 only to be disqualified for a fuel flow technicality on his Red Bull vehicle.

"The Stewards therefore are imposing a lesser penalty than usual, and impose a three grid place penalty and two penalty points".

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"There are reprimands, fines and other things, but to shoot me in the ankle before the season starts, well, I think they could have done better".

While Hamilton has insisted his final-lap improvement was not down to a switch to a faster engine mode, Ricciardo admitted the way Mercedes was able to turn up the power for qualifying was disheartening. The potential for him to become the first Australian to drive in F1 for Ferrari is a possibility, with Vettel's teammate Kimi Raikkonen turning 39 in October and not having won a race for five years, his lack of result contributing to Ferrari's constructors' championship drought that stretches a decade.

Ricciardo, along with Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen, opted to complete Q2 on the Supersoft tyres, as opposed to the Ultrasoft compound preferred by their rivals. "I think we're still the top three teams". It looked like it was all in the first sector. I knew they had a bit more, I expected them to be more than two tenths quicker than us. For sure it was frustrating a little bit. Red Bull team principal Christian Horner earlier said he had never seen Ricciardo so enraged.

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"I always think if I have the right auto, the fastest vehicle, then I can become world champion", said Verstappen. "You could see from the wording of the statement that they tried to water it down as best they could". While his ink-adding days are "probably done", the next steps of the 28-year-old's journey, short, medium and long-term, will see him in the headlines for much of this year as F1 embarks on a 21-race campaign, the longest season in the sport's history. "It's still eating him up and he's still pretty revved up about it".

In 2014, he finished second in his debut race for Red Bull but was disqualified soon after for a mechanical infringement that was no fault of his own.

It means the pair will start Sunday's race on the red-banded compound, an aspect Ricciardo hopes will prove fruitful in assisting his recovery towards the front.

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