Friday proved a nightmare for Daniel Ricciardo, with the Red Bull driver missing almost all of FP2 with an engine issue. But on Saturday the 2014 Canada winner rebounded strongly, qualifying just over a tenth back from team mate Max Verstappen in sixth. And in the race he expects to be even closer to those in front…
Q: Daniel, how did it go today? Are you remotely satisfied?
Daniel Ricciardo: It went relatively well considering yesterday. We did two flying laps yesterday without any issues so basically today we started from scratch. I have driven here many times – but it is definitely not Barcelona where you can get straight in. This track here is pretty tricky and it takes some time until the grip is coming. This morning we did as many laps as we could – being first on the track when it was still quite dusty. We just used the morning for mileage. We are still a bit behind but at least we got some data behind us. Me, I got some references - and then qualifying went pretty well! In Q2 we all looked quite close, but then in Q3 they – I mean Mercedes and Ferrari – they really turned it up. For me you never want to be behind your team mate – but realistically we did well even in that little battle. Sure I would have loved to find another tenth or so in Q3 – but I think in the end we can be pretty pleased with our recovery.
Q: When you look at your data, how much time do you actually lose on the straights to Mercedes and Ferrari once they turn up their engines?
DR: It’s a bit for sure. In Q3 I guess it was quite a lot. They for sure are able to carry more speed in some of the chicanes and corners, so they are able to pull quite a lot on the straight. They have got something special in Q3!
Q: How would you feel if you discovered that you were not going to get any big upgrades from Renault – only small bits and pieces every race?
DR: Yeah, I cannot control that. For sure we would love what the Mercedes cars have in Q3. Going down the straights, we might brake really early because the speed is so high. It would be nice to have more, but I guess we're used to this position. It is nothing new. We still are trying to pull things off with the chassis. We brought quite a lot to the car for this weekend and I think it is working. But to be honest qualifying is not so easy when you are down in Q3 like that. What gives us hope is the fact that we have a pretty good race car in terms of balance so it will be ‘calm’ on the rear tyres. Hopefully it will be a two-stop race and maybe can do a one-stop. Something like that.
Q: Do you know when you will get the update from Renault?
DR: I heard that originally it was Baku but I haven’t heard and haven’t asked.