BUDAPEST, Hungary -- Daniel Ricciardo said his elimination from Q2, which consigned him to starting 12th on the grid for the Hungarian Grand Prix, was a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Ricciardo was unable to set a good enough lap time when the conditions were best for intermediate tyres, as the rain started to intensify and the track got wetter. At a crucial moment the next car up the road, the Williams of Lance Stroll, spun at the chicane and forced him to bail out of his attempt.
The Australian, who has not appeared on the podium since his win at the Monaco Grand Prix in May, was left ruing his latest bout of misfortune in a season which continues to slip away from Red Bull.
"[When] I got Monaco so I kind of joked that my year was done" he said. "But stuff that. It has been a rough run since, so I just can't really get a break.
"Q2 the rain came, so the later you made the lap the worse it was going to get. So that first lap was key. And Stroll spun so I had to abort that lap, and that was it for the inter. The last sector you couldn't survive anymore with the inter. We put the extreme on just because we had to, we had no choice, but that was always going to be tough to get through with that. So just a bit unlucky."
At the start of Q2, every driver except Sebastian Vettel went out on dry tyres, which immediately proved to be the wrong decision as the rain fell heavier. Ricciardo thinks his failure to progress was a perfect storm of the sequence of events which followed after that.
"The [bad] timing then created the bad luck, but Seb was the smartest guy in Q2 and went out on the inters. We all went out on the ultras and came back. So we lost some time there, but then having Stroll spin in front of me, that was the big one. Even just being that deep in the pack, we needed to be as far forward as possible to get a clear track because the rain was coming so every second made a more wet track. So every bit of track position you gained was important. A bit of timing but more bad luck. Without the spin of Stroll we'd have made it through.
Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen was also unable to challenge for pole, setting for seventh on the grid.
When asked why the Red Bulls did not perform well in the rain, he said: "We just struggled with grip. I don't think the conditions I had on the inter were that representative because the second lap I did eventually the track was a lot more wet. So I don't think it was that representative.
"But Q1 out of the box the Ferraris were quicker, quite a lot quicker, 1.5 seconds, so we struggled in general with overall grip. I heard a few of Max's comments in Q3 he said it was low grip, sliding around, so it just felt like we didn't have as much grip. Why we are not sure, normally the car is really strong in the wet. So I'd imagine it is something with tyre temperatures but right now we are not sure."