Daniel Ricciardo reckons a "stupid, silly error" from his Red Bull team cost him a shot at challenging for pole position during qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix.
Ricciardo, who claimed his maiden pole position at last year's event, was hoping to join the fight for pole after showing encouraging pace throughout practice, but he ultimately ended the session fifth after he was sent out into traffic in Q3 -- ruining his crucial final run.
"We knew we needed to go hard on the out-laps to get a clear lap out of the pits to really warm the tyres up, to push on them and create temperature," Ricciardo explained. "My last run, we came out with traffic and it seemed like I had such a clear track behind me I don't know why we did not wait and put me out in clear air.
"Unless the timer was going down and we were not going to make it out of the pits -- which I do not think this was the case, it just seems like we made a stupid, silly error. From my eyes it just seemed so obvious but maybe I am seeing something wrong but it seemed an obvious and basic mistake."
Ricciardo was robbed of what looked to be a deserved victory in Monaco at last year's race following a pit-stop blunder from his Red Bull squad and the Australian believes his team have already missed the opportunity of challenging for the win in Sunday's race.
"It is not intentional -- I don't feel like it is intentional," he said. "But it is frustrating because even the position where we ended, just looking at what we did in P1 -- a 1:13.8, and I did a 1:12.9 or 1:13.0 today -- so again take the fuel out of the car and we were probably quicker on a green track on Thursday. We just underachieved way too much, and this is an opportunity us, this race, to do a lot better than that.
"The race is today to be honest," he added. "Qualifying is pretty much everything around here, if everything goes well in the pitlane then the race is on Saturday. We're better than fifth. From first free practice I didn't not even go a second quicker, with the track improving, with the fuel coming down, all that, so we underachieved so much and around here it's the last place you want to do that. It's frustrating today, not happy at all."