DANIEL Ricciardo said he was gutted to retire from his home grand prix as the Australian’s debut for the Enstone-based Renault team ended in disappointment.

The 29-year-old lost his front wing at the first corner and was retired after 28 laps of Formula 1’s season-opener in Melbourne.

Renault said the decision was made as a precaution, leaving Ricciardo ruing his luck.

He said: “I’m gutted, that’s for sure.

“I made a good start, managed to get a good run on (Sergio) Perez and then moved to the side.

“I put a wheel on the grass, which didn’t concern me, and then a massive bump caught me by surprise.

“It’s unlucky more than anything and, unfortunately, that was our race run there and then.”

“It all happened very quickly and it was a shame we finished like that.”

Renault did not leave Australia empty-handed, though, with Nico Hulkenberg finishing seventh.

The 31-year-old was delighted to begin 2019 in the points.

He said: “It’s a good start to the season with some solid points on the board.

“It was a tricky race – especially the final ten laps – I was under pressure and really had to fight to hang onto seventh place.

“I’m pleased to pull that off.”

Kevin Magnussen enjoyed a superb start to the season for the Banbury-prepared Haas, finishing sixth and ‘best of the rest’ behind Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari drivers.

The Dane was delighted to score points, but had mixed emotions after teammate Romain Grosjean stopped on track after 29 laps.

Magnussen said: “I’m very happy, it was a good result.”

“I’m obviously sad for the team not to have both cars get to the finish.

“But I made a good start and had a really good car from there.

“I was able to push the whole race and look after my tires. I’m really happy to start the year like this.”

Grosjean was forced to retire due to a loose left-front wheel following a slow pit-stop earlier in the race, which saw him drop out of the top-ten.

He said: “It wasn’t a good day.

“It’s a shame as we looked strong all weekend long, we were strong in the race as well.”

George Russell and Robert Kubica were last of the finishers in 16th and 17th for Grove-based Williams.

British rookie Russell had a lonely grand prix, but was pleased to finish his first F1 race.

The 21-year-old said: “I feel happy that I brought the car home with no dramas.

“I physically feel fine and it was a good first race from my side but obviously it is disappointing that we are so far behind the pace.

“I am not interested in fighting Robert for last, we need to work together to make this right.

“Overall, I can be proud and pleased with myself because we went into this weekend knowing what to expect and I achieved pretty much all of my goals.”

Kubica lost his front wing in a collision with Red Bull’s Pierre Gasley at the first corner and was lapped three times.

The Pole said: “It definitely wasn’t an easy race and we knew that before the start.

“In turn one, I was on the inside and on the exit of the corner one of the Red Bull’s moved right to avoid another contact and we touched, damaging my front wing so I had to come in to box.

“Additionally, on lap three, I lost one of my mirrors, so the blue flags weren’t easy.

“I was not in the best shape with some damage but, I know it sounds strange and I thought I would never say something like this, although it was very difficult I think there were some positives.”