Last year, Daniel Ricciardo won the Canadian Formula One Grand Prix. This year, he finished a distant 13th, for the worst result of the season after his Red Bull Renault suffered unknown maladies.
At the end, the Duncraig racer said he didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.
“I thought we’d already reached the low point but this was a new one,” he said. “Hopefully it’s only up from here.”
Ricciardo started from ninth on the grid but steadily dropped back – and was lapped by the leading Mercedes-Benz duo of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg with 20 laps still remaining.
“We don’t really understand what happened,” a dismayed Ricciardo said.
“The car was just slow. We were sliding around and I couldn’t get any pace out of it.
“Something’s up. We need to understand what it is.”
The Red Bull team is now trying to find the cause of the problem in the hope of a better performance in Austria in a fortnight.
But if it means a new engine, it will be his fifth of the season – and it comes with a 10-place grid penalty.
Lewis Hamilton led from start to finish of a largely processional race, followed by teammate Rosberg.
Third was Williams’ Valtteri Bottas, who inherited the spot when Kimi Raikkonen spun his Ferrari at the hairpin.
But Raikkonen recovered and his chase after Bottas was one of the few highlights of the race.
Behind them came Ferrari teammate Sebastien Vettel, who had a great drive from the back of the grid.