Daniel Ricciardo KO’ed by teammate Yuki Tsunoda in Japan qualifying

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If Daniel Ricciardo thought this season couldn’t get more frustrating, his latest qualifying performance has pretty much taken the cake for the year so far.

The 34-year-old Aussie was being talked about for a promotion to the top Red Bull team before the season began but just three races into the season, speculation has begun about when his RB team will cut him loose.

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Coming into the weekend, Ricciardo was 0-3 in qualifying against his teammate Yuki Tsunoda, and 1-2 in races.

Having been knocked out in Q1 in the last race in Australia, Ricciardo was much better at the Japanese Grand Prix but was still unable to make it out of Q2, knocked out by Tsunoda, who was the last driver to cross the line and snuck into Q3, 0.055 ahead of Ricciardo.

While Tsunoda couldn’t go any better in Q3, qualifying 10th, the result puts him 4-0 up on Ricciardo in qualifying this season.

It’s only set to increase the noise calling for Ricciardo to be booted from his seat, with highly touted New Zealand youngster Liam Lawson waiting in the wings.

Sky Sports commentator David Croft said Ricciardo was “not particularly happy” after the session.

“His engineer was saying I know you’re not going to be happy about being beaten again by Yuki, Daniel saying on the radio look, I’m not happy but we’ll focus on tomorrow,” he said.

“If this was a big weekend for Ricciardo, well, he’s failed so far.

“But there’s always tomorrow, that’s when the points are handed out.”

After the qualifying session, Ricciardo’s engineer said: “Alright Daniel, you know you always need to do a little bit better but you should be pleased.”

He replied: “Yep, I’m obviously not but I appreciate it. We’ve done well.

“Let’s focus on the positive,” Ricciardo’s team replied.

The cameramen were also brutal, turning the camera to Lawson when Tsunoda had knocked out Ricciardo.

They’d also pulled the same move earlier in the day when Ricciardo had a spin in P3.

One fan said: “The camera cutting to Lawson after Ricciardo got knocked out, these guys are evil.”

Another tweeted: “The camera man who records Liam every time Ricciardo fails has to be the funniest person ever this is pure cinema.”

The WTF1 account also pointed it out, tweeting: “Ricciardo goes off track — camera switches to Lawson.”

It wasn’t all bad for Australia however, with Oscar Piastri qualifying sixth and will start from the third row of the grid, with teammate Lando Norris locking up fourth for McLaren.

Reigning world champ Max Verstappen was on pole yet again, while Red Bull claimed a front row lockout for the first time this season.

It was the fourth time the Dutchman has claimed pole in as many races this season.

“It was quite close at the end,” Verstappen said.

“Overall, this track is very sensitive. When you really want to go to the limit, it doesn’t always work out.”

McLaren’s Lando Norris was third, 0.292sec behind Verstappen.

Japanese Grand Prix starting grid

Row 1: Max Verstappen (Red Bull) – Sergio Perez (Red Bull)

Row 2: Lando Norris (McLaren) – Carlos Sainz (Ferrari)

Row 3: Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin) — Oscar Piastri (McLaren)

Row 4: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) – Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)

Row 5: George Russell (Merecedes) – Yuki Tsunoda (RB)

Row 6: Daniel Ricciardo (RB) – Nico Hulkenberg (Haas)

Row 7: Valtteri Bottas (Kick Sauber) – Alex Albon (Williams)

Row 8: Esteban Ocon (Alpine) – Lance Stroll (Aston Martin)

Row 9: Pierre Gasly (Alpine) – Kevin Magnussen (Haas)

Row 10: Logan Sargeant (Williams) – Zhou Guanyu (Kick Sauber)

With AFP

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