Daniel Ricciardo frustrated by penalty, Q3 display, at home Grand Prix

Ricciardo handed three-place penalty for home race

Stewards determined that while Ricciardo did not drive in a risky manner, he had breached the regulations, and issued him with a three-place grid penalty as a result.

No Australian has ever won his home Grand Prix but Ricciardo was seen as a contender this season, with Red Bull looking fast in testing.

"I think the first parts of qualifying were okay but at the end we just missed a few tenths, it looked like it was all in the first sector".

"I thought [the grid penalty] was unjust", Ricciardo told Sky Sports F1.

"But anyway, from fifth we go to eighth".

"I made a mistake, no doubt about it, but is that mistake worth a grid penalty in a practice session when no car's on track, no-one's upside down", he said.

And Ricciardo's day got significantly worse when he was found to have been going too slowly during a red flag halfway through the afternoon session.

"I'm pissed to say the least".

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Last year, he crashed during qualifying, had to start the race from pit-lane due to a reliability problem and ended up retiring midway.

The gap between Hamilton and Red Bull's Max Verstappen was relatively small, however, with the 20-year-old Dutch driver turning in a fastest lap time of 1:24.058, just over 0.1 behind Hamilton.

Ricciardo, who was tipped to be a contender at Albert Park, said he had been potentially "robbed" of a front row start.

Ricciardo's best finish at his home race is fourth in 2016.

Ricciardo's Red Bull is expected to join Sebastian Vettel's Ferrari to challenge Mercedes this season after Hamilton's all-conquering team clinched the last four drivers' and constructors' championships.

The penalty is a heavy blow to both Ricciardo and Red Bull, who have pushed Mercedes close in practice at Albert Park.

"It's hard enough for us to understand let alone explain it to the viewers and the fans".

"This is a year which our prep's been well and good, and I really, really hope Lewis is right that we will have a chance to fight for a title and that will ultimately make me very happy and ... take my time and see what happens. It's still eating him up and he's still pretty revved up about it".

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