Daniel Ricciardo admits there is no clear explanation for his struggles during qualifying at the Styrian Grand Prix.
The Australian is set to start Sunday’s race from 13th on the grid – a disappointing outcome after he ended Friday’s FP2 session in second place.
Ricciardo has struggled to get up to speed at McLaren since joining at the start of the year and has regularly been out-paced by team-mate Lando Norris.
“A bit of a mystery, actually,” Ricciardo said of his qualifying struggles in Austria. “We were obviously quick yesterday, and I know it’s only Friday practice, I don’t expect to be fighting for pole position today.
“But obviously we were pretty comfortable with everything. We put the car on track today and we are one second slower, pretty much.
“Then qualifying I think was a product also of this morning, we were just off the pace. Why? Not sure. But it was definitely one of those days, a bit of a frustrating one. So we’ll obviously try to understand why and how.
“It’s not like there was a lot of time here or there, it was just a little bit of lap time everywhere, and you try and try and improve a bit. But I just felt like everything I did, I was not really able to gain anything else out of the car.”
Norris, in the second McLaren car, will line-up third on the grid, behind title contenders Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton.
Ricciardo says he analysed Norris’ data prior to qualifying, and saw he was losing out “more or less everywhere” to his team-mate.
“In quali, the high speed I tried to just carry a bit more,” Ricciardo said. “I felt if I tried to carry a bit more then I’m looking at the edge of track limits, and just really struggling to keep it all on the track.
“And that’s where I felt like I was kind of at the limit of everything. But the lap time never really got lower, it kind of just hovered around that area.
“One of those days I guess, we’ll try to figure it out and look forward to tomorrow now, it’s all we can do.”