A drained Daniel Ricciardo has vowed to change his approach to his home Grand Prix after his tilt at a maiden podium at the Albert Park circuit ended in disaster.
Ricciardo's first race for Renault was effectively over just seconds after it started on Sunday.
The front wing of his car was ripped off when he was forced onto the grass beside the starting grid in the frenzied moments after the lights went out.
The Weste Australian limped into the pits to have a replacement wing fitted on the first lap.
He rejoined at the rear of the 20-car field and moved into 18th place before he retired with an unspecified fault 31 laps into the 58-lap race.
It was his third retirement in Australia, to go with a disqualification in 2014, much to the disappointment of his legion of adoring fans.
"I'm flat ... I feel like it's hard to get things going here," Ricciardo told reporters.
"I'm just drained.
"I try and please everyone this week and don't look after myself.
"We'll change it for next year."
Starting from 12th position on the grid after a disappointing qualifying effort, it's unlikely Ricciardo would have got to within shouting distance of the podium even if he had avoided the early mayhem.
But it was a missed opportunity to secure championship points and learn more about his new machine under race conditions
His famous grin didn't entirely disappear when recounting the incident but it wavered enough to suggest he isn't pleased with Racing Point's Sergio Perez or the unseen trackside ditch that claimed his wing.
"I feel that was pretty unlucky," he said.
"I put two wheels in and next thing there's a massive gutter or ditch there, which I don't feel (happens) in many other places.
"... Sergio's start wasn't great.
"I had a bit of a run. He made like a little flinch but it happens quick.
"When I touched the grass I actually wasn't too concerned. I thought I'd just drive through it and I felt I still had enough momentum to maybe stay alongside him but then that ditch was there and that was it.
"It is what it is."
Fourth remains Ricciardo's best result in Melbourne, a result he achieved in 2016 and 2018.
The 29-year-old is always a man in high demand at his home race but he clearly feels he needs to cut back on his promotional work and focus on racing matters if he is to go one better next year.
"I don't want to blame that but I certainly didn't ... I don't know - I feel flat for more reasons than one," he said.