After starting second on the grid for the European Grand Prix in Azerbaijan’s first F1 Grand Prix, hard-luck story Daniel Ricciardo of Team Red Bull wound up a disappointing seventh.
About the only positive he was able to extract from the frustrating day was that he was able to pass a Mercedes powered car driven by Nico Hulkenberg on a straight, a clear indication that the improved Renault power plant in his car is closing the gap on the formidable Mercedes engines.
Once again, however, tyre issues doomed Ricciardo and his team. His rear tyres refused to provide any traction and the problem was readily apparent just three laps into the race.
A change in an early pit stop for both Ricciardo and teammate Max Verstappen to switch to a different rubber compound did not seem to provide either driver with any relief.
The problem appears to be most serious on circuits where the temperature is high, even though at some venues, where atmospheric and track temperatures tend to get near the upper end, Team Red Bull has done okay.
The science of tyres, the correct rubber compound combined with the perfect inflation pressure and other factors, is one of the most nebulous issues racing teams face.