Australia’s Daniel Ricciardo was left to lament a “scrappy” Sakhir Grand Prix that saw the Renault driver miss out on the chance for a third podium in six races.
Ricciardo’s teammate Esteban Ocon recorded the best finish of his career – second – while the Perth driver came home fifth on a day when a win wasn’t out of the question.
Starting from seventh on the grid, Ricciardo was up to fourth on the opening lap after Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc crashed out, the incident also causing Sergio Perez to drop to last position.
With both Mercedes drivers striking trouble later in the race, it was definitely a case of what might have been for Ricciardo.
His first pit stop came a lap too late, after Renault called him in after he’d passed the pit entry. The extra lap on old tyres cost him a position to AlphaTauri’s Daniil Kvyat.
“To be honest it was scrappy, it was a scrappy race from our side I felt,” Ricciardo told Sky Sports.
“I got called into the pits, I was already past the pit entry so I couldn’t pit and then Kvyat undercut us, so we gave him a freebie and then spent that whole second stint behind him.
“I just felt every lap we were behind him, the race was getting away from us.”
Ricciardo was well placed late in the race when he was called in for his second pit stop under the Virtual Safety Car. Unfortunately for Ricciardo and McLaren’s Carlos Sainz, the VSC ended just as they entered pit lane, costing both drivers positions to Perez, Ocon and Lance Stroll, the three drivers that eventually made up the podium.
“It’s tough because I’m fifth, normally that’s a good result — and Esteban second, so congrats to him — but obviously when you see our (Racing Point) rivals first and third, and I heard Perez was in the pits on lap one,” Ricciardo said.
“Obviously congrats to Perez but for all of us, a car that pits on lap one, you can’t let him win the race.
“I feel we all missed out today. Circumstances didn’t go in our favour. It’s probably the most disappointing fifth I’ve had in a while.
“I’ll try and shake this one off and finish strong. Again, second and fifth is a huge day for the team, but we’ll try and do first and second next week.”
Ricciardo drops to fifth in the world title race ahead of Sunday’s final round of the season in Abu Dhabi.