Daniel Ricciardo suffers DISASTROUS Australian GP start as Lewis Hamilton loses pole

Ricciardo, in front of his home crowd, started the race in 12th place.

But he was forced to pit on the opening lap as he drove onto the grass and clipped an obstacle.

Ricciardo rejoined the race in 19th place but was complaining on the team radio about a loss of downforce.

Nevertheless, he was able to continue racing but had a big task trying to finish in the points.

Meanwhileat the front of the grid, Valtteri Bottas overtook team-mate Lewis Hamilton on the first corner to lead the race.

He remained in control during the early stages.

Ferrari star Sebastian Vettel was able to defend his third place from Red Bull youngster Max Verstappen.

But it was Ricciardo who had all the eyes watching him from the off as the bizarre incident set him back early on.

He was already gutted at exiting qualifying in Q3, especially in his Renault debut.

“I race, first and foremost for myself, but part of me was bummed for the crowd,” he said.

“I know they would have loved to see me in Q3. That’s where I felt I came up short, for them.”

Ricciardo left Red Bull to join Renault for the 2019 season.