F1 driver Daniel Ricciardo hopes to end his Australia curse

Ricciardo will start his home race from eighth after being penalised for failing to slow down enough under the red flag during Friday's second free practice session.

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. "They could give me a reprimand, give me a fine for all I care, but don't rob me of a front-row start". "I know it would be nice to be in that position, but for everyone else it sucks!"

And while Ricciardo stressed he didn't want to "discredit" the Briton's performance, he reckoned that any of F1's leading drivers would've eased to pole in the W09.

Ricciardo, whose Red Bull team showed strong pace in practice and could be in the fight for the front two rows in qualifying, said he was especially frustrated by the severity of the punishment given the nature of the red flag. To give me a grid penalty before the season has started is ****house.

"I think we're the only ones in the top 10 to do that so hopefully that's going to work to our favour", he said.

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Friday's developments are the latest in a series of hard-luck stories for Ricciardo at his home GP, after he finished second in 2014 but was then disqualified for a mechanical issue.

"It has to be more fun [in 2018]", said Ricciardo, who started the 2017 race from the pit lane after his vehicle stopped prior to the formation lap. We had quite a lot of understeer.

Hamilton qualified over 0.6s clear of the rest of the field at the season-opening qualifying session in Melbourne - the first clear indication that Mercedes has lost none of the advantage it held over its rivals for the past four years. "I've never seen him as angry as he was last night".

For Daniel Ricciardo, his home Australian Grand Prix has been an exasperating mix of desperately willing fans and mostly unwilling cars.

The 28-year-old Red Bull driver was forced to retire at the Melbourne event in 2017 and faces an uphill battle to reach the podium there for the first time. Breach of this regulation is seen to be an extremely serious matter. 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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