Daniel Ricciardo has been left disappointed after qualifying in 10th for the delayed season-opening Austrian Grand Prix, saying he thinks the car is "better than 10th".
Ricciardo made it to the final stage of qualifying and was just getting his final flying lap underway when pole-sitter Valtteri Bottas slid off the track, bringing out the yellow flags, which meant he had to lift and slow during his lap.
The Australian was clearly frustrated at having to ease off his lap.
"I should be [happy] but I'm not," Ricciardo told F1.com.
"We got a bit unlucky in the last run. Bottas went off in front of me and there was a yellow, so I had to lift off.
"I didn't actually think he went off — I'm told he did go off, but I thought he just dropped a wheel, so I was pretty angry because I thought they just put a yellow out for no reason."
Pretty angry was right.
"I don't know why there was a yellow," Ricciardo said on the team radio after his flying lap.
"There was a yellow for two corners for nothing."
After being told the reason for the yellows, a clearly frustrated Ricciardo replied on the team radio: "Yeah but he stayed on the track. That was [inaudible expletive]."
Ricciardo explained the swearing to Sky Sports, saying he did not realise Bottas had left the track.
"I don't know. I might have got carried away," he explained when asked about his use of expletives.
"I just thought he dropped a wheel … and kept going and I saw yellow flags and flashing yellows.
"So I thought they overreacted to him just dropping a wheel, but apparently he went right off. I didn't see that.
"If that's the case then I guess unlucky Daniel."
Ricciardo's teammate Esteban Ocon qualified in 14th spot.
The long break between races — the last time the drivers raced was in December last year — does not seem to have impacted Ricciardo unduly, with the Australian driving a series of strong practice sessions ahead of qualifying.
Ricciardo told Sky Sports he had relaxed on the break, but had not let up his focus or training and he was ready to race again.
"I feel like I'm certainly on it and the break hasn't made me rusty," he said.
"I feel like I'm just hungry to get going. I've got tomorrow to show a bit more."
Mercedes lock-out, Ferrari well off the pace
Bottas' sojourn over the Austrian grass did not hold him back, with the Finn narrowly beating his teammate Lewis Hamilton to pole position by a minuscule 0.012 seconds.
Hamilton, the five-time world champion, was investigated for not lifting during the yellow flag period after Bottas' slip.
He was found to have been given conflicting signals but was not punished by the stewards.
It was the 65th front-row lockout for Mercedes in Formula 1 history, bringing them level with Ferrari in the all-time stakes.
Ferrari though were nowhere near their rivals in Austria, qualifying well off the pace in seventh and 11th positions.
Charles Leclerc recorded a lap time almost a second slower than his time a year earlier, with the Monegasque driver saying the car was "not even close" to being at the right pace.
"Unfortunately this is where we are at the moment, so we need to work and start building a better car for the future," Leclerc said.
"We cannot get demoralised by today's result but today's result is not what we were expecting, we're not even close to where we expected to be."
Ricciardo said behind the Ferraris and the Red Bull of Max Verstappen — who qualified third, more than half a second behind the pole-sitter — the field was incredibly bunched.
"Clearly they're not lightning at the moment," Ricciardo said of Ferrari.
"Anywhere from P4 onwards it's pretty tight. There's about eight or 10 of us within a tenth or two [of a second] on race pace, so hopefully it's going to be pretty fun tomorrow."
Lando Norris, who will be Ricciardo's teammate at McLaren next season, qualified in fourth, a career-high.