Ricciardo misses grid at Aussie GP after stopping in warmup
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) Daniel Ricciardo was slapped with a grid penalty, missed the start because of a mechanical problem and retired halfway through the Australian Grand Prix as his season-opening Formula One race unfolded in the worst possible way on Sunday.
The Red Bull driver had the best of the non-Mercedes cars in F1 last year, placing third to eventual winner Nico Rosberg and three-time world champion Lewis Hamilton.
After weeks of good-natured promotional activities for his home Grand Prix, though, his first race of 2017 started badly and only got worse.
''Sorry mate. Car is done,'' Ricciardo said as his car finally came to a halt on the 28th lap, smoke billowing from the front left. ''Let's get ... out of here.''
He'd been given a grid penalty of five places - pushing him back from 10th to 15th - after being forced to make an unscheduled gearbox change on his Red Bull following a crash late in qualifying on Saturday.
It deteriorated further when he had mechanical failure on the warmup and his car was transported back to the garages.
That's where he was when the race got under way - after one aborted start and an extra formation lap for the other 19 cars.
Ricciardo eventually started the race from pit lane, joining with instructions from Red Bull to have fun and ''get stuck in'' after the leaders had already completed the first of 57 scheduled laps on the 5.303-kilometer (3.295-mile) Albert Park circuit.
Two other cars retired before Ricciardo stopped again, this time at turn three on the 28th lap, with a fuel pressure problem. In all, seven of the 20 cars retired in the first race under the new F1 rules designed to make the cars bigger and faster.
''Not the weekend I wanted at home. For all these things to happen at my home race - that's probably the most frustrating thing,'' Ricciardo said. ''We were on the back foot already after the crash in qualifying and then today we had an issue during the warm up lap followed by a second issue in the race. On both occasions the car just came to a stop so I couldn't do anything else.
''But look, it's the first race, so hopefully we'll move forward from this. I'll wake up tomorrow and be motivated to get ready for China.''
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner commended the crew for getting Ricciardo into the race after the problem with a sensor on the gearbox in the formation lap.
''It was an unbelievable recovery from the mechanics to get him into the race, nobody gave up in working to get the car out there,'' Horner said. ''Then we were always going to be relying on safety cars to get back on to the lead lap. We decided to put the mileage in and get the knowledge anyway.''