Ricciardo slams officials over penalty

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In another big surprise, Romain Grosjean showed good pace in his Haas auto, setting a fastest time of 1:24.648, just ahead of Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo.

"The session itself didn't go too badly, it started off pretty well and even in Q2 on the Supersofts we were looking good", said Ricciardo.

Ricciardo is relishing his first chance to test the F1 contract waters - "I know what I want, and the performance side is more important than ticking the money box, " he said late previous year - but wants to shut down chatter over his future.

"It has to be more fun (this year)", he had said on Thursday.

"A penalty sure, there's reprimands, there's fines, there's other things but to kind of shoot me in the ankle before the season's started".

Was that question answered Friday at Albert Park?

"Everyone was on different types so I'm excited to see how everyone fares up when we all get into practice (on Friday)".

Daniel Ricciardo's home race weekend has already been given a black eye, after the Red Bull driver was handed a three-place grid penalty for the Australian Grand Prix.

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In the lead up to the Melbourne Grand Prix, Ricciardo has been plagued with questions surrounding contract renegotiations.

"Does that really rob me of a front-row start?" We had quite a lot of understeer.

Formula One world champions Mercedes chose to use pre-season testing in Spain this month to build bullet-proof reliability into their new W09 chassis, eschewing the temptation of chasing headline-grabbing times and leaving open the question of whether Formula One's fastest were faster. Unfortunately he still completed the lap too fast after misreading his dash display.

The 28-year-old endured a nightmare 2017 event in Melbourne when he crashed in qualifying and then retired from the race before half distance with engine problems.

"Breach of this regulation is seen to be an extremely serious matter".

Ricciardo will also receive two penalty points against his F1 Superlicence, which may come into play if he is penalised later during the 2018 season.

Stewards said the penalty was lessened as Ricciardo had slowed to a degree, and no "danger was created".

Saturday's Formula 1 action is due to start at 2pm, with a 60-minute third practice session.

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