Daniel Ricciardo reacts to ‘painful’ 2022 Japanese GP qualifying

Daniel Ricciardo will start the 2022 Japanese Grand Prix from P11, after a promising yet disappointing qualifying.

Daniel Ricciardo agonisingly missed out on a Q3 appearance by just 0.003 seconds at the first Japanese Grand Prix since 2019, after what was one of the Australian’s best qualifying sessions as of late.

Finishing fifth at the Singapore Grand Prix last weekend seems to have given the Honey Badger a much-needed boost for his final five races as not only a McLaren driver, but potentially as a Formula 1 driver.

The much-loved driver revealed after qualifying that he “won’t be on the grid in 2023”, with the Aussie supposedly in “advanced” talks with Mercedes about becoming their reserve driver next season, with their current reserve Nyck de Vries having been announced as an AlphaTauri driver next season.

Ricciardo was looking fairly solid during qualifying and safely made it into Q2 after ending Q1 in eighth, ahead of team-mate Lando Norris, who did make it to Q3.

READ: Pierre Gasly lashes out at AlphaTauri

Q3 appeared to be a step too far, though, as the McLaren driver was eliminated by the smallest imaginable margin, of just 0.003 seconds as mentioned.

Ricciardo exited Q2 in P11, after being unable to find the tiny amount of time needed to jump Sebastian Vettel.

The 33-year-old will be starting just one place behind his team-mate, who was unable to set a representative time in Q3 following what was almost a terrifying collision at 130R with Max Verstappen.

The Honey Badger was understandably “disappointed” by the result in the end but admitted that he was lacking that “last little bit”.

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“I’m disappointed with the overall result because the session was looking good,” said Ricciardo.

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“From the first lap, it was strong and I was comfortable. I think the 1m30.8 was a quick time on the first set of tyres. From there we were competitive, but it was hard to get much more out of it, and we were trying to push a bit more, but that hurt some other corners.

“I was hoping we would be able to keep gaining, especially with track evolution, but the gains at the end were very minimal, and it was really hard to make that next step. I think it was looking pretty good and then obviously to be out in Q2 was not really what we thought was going to happen.

“I think we were relatively competitive, but I think we were just ultimately missing that last little bit. 0.003s is painful, but we’ll try again tomorrow!”