Even the ever smiling Daniel Ricciardo found it hard to find a bright side to his Australian Grand Prix qualifying fizzer, admitting he had let his army of fans down.
The Australian star will start 12th on the 20-strong grid for Sunday's Formula 1 season opener in an underwhelming debut for new team Renault.
Ricciardo had played down his 2019 podium chances since making a shock exit from front-runners Red Bull but still couldn't hide his qualifying disappointment.
Especially after looking out at the sudden influx of yellow and black clad Renault fans in the heaving Melbourne crowd.
Fans had little to cheer about after Ricciardo didn't even make the third and final stage of Saturday's qualifying - Q3 - which features the 10 fastest drivers.
"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."
And Ricciardo reckoned he only had himself to blame.
Renault finished "best of the rest" in fourth spot behind the big three of Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull in the 2018 constructors' championship.
But Ricciardo resisted the temptation to point fingers at his new team following his qualifying effort.
"I blame myself. The grip was there to go quicker. It's always painful when you know you haven't got 100 per cent out of it," he said.
Yet the ever optimistic Ricciardo hoped he could send his horde of fans home happy on Sunday.
"I don't think 12th represents where we are," he said.
"I do believe we're better. I'm sure we will sneak into the points."
Ricciardo's gloom lifted when he acknowledged the fans who have hit the merchandise stands en masse to make Renault Australia's new favourite team at Albert Park following his Red Bull departure.
"I've been impressed with how much (Renault) merchandise I've seen around," he said.
"I'm happy Renault is taking some cut from that, I don't, so hopefully whatever they make from that they'll put into some new parts on the car."
Australian Associated Press