Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo has revealed he came agonisingly close to returning to qualifying at Portimao after his spin at the end of Q2.
Ricciardo managed to sneak into Q3 despite the tap with the barriers at Turn 11, and was able to get back to the garage on his own accord.
However, with his mechanics needing to undertake a rear-end repair job, he couldn’t make it back out for the final session, and is set to start Sunday’s race from 10th place.
Speaking to Sky Sports F1 after qualifying, Ricciardo explained that he was on the verge of re-joining the action before he was eliminated.
“The cars are quite sensitive,” Ricciardo said. “I had to get through a few lapped cars, they are off the race line, but turning and braking, it depends where the wind is coming from.
“Felt like as soon as I got in, I lost the rear but I’ll watch it again, and see if it was something I caused it from, but it’s done.
“Obviously a shame, because when I lost it, I was ‘OK, I’ll spin and get going again’. But it kept going until I hit the barrier and damaged the rear wing.
“The team got very close to getting me back out on track for Q3. One more minute and we were on track.
“It’s a shame, I could see them working hard in the mirrors, trying to make it work for me, so it was a bit of a let down for them, but we’ll make it happen tomorrow and move up.”
Ricciardo’s team-mate Esteban Ocon failed to progress into Q2, with Ricciardo citing one-lap pace as Renault’s weakest point this weekend.
However, the Austrialian is hopeful that once the race gets underway, he will be able to make strides forward and score points.
“I feel once we settle into a rhythm, we can get the car in a bit of a happier place,” Ricciardo said. “On one lap performance, we struggled a bit this weekend.
“I think the surface is so slippery, everyone is putting on all the downforce they have got.
“Although we have improved, I think we still know that is our weakest area, a lot of cars still have better real high downforce packages than us and I think that is where they are getting us on one lap.
“Once the race settles, and we get into the tyres, it should be OK. I’m ready to move forward, finish better than tenth and make up for the error today.”