Life at Renault has not been smooth for Daniel Ricciardo so far – but after a decent first day of running in China, the Australian’s confidence in his new car appeared to be growing.
Having been outgunned by team mate Nico Hulkenberg in Australia and Bahrain before retiring from both of those races, Ricciardo told the media coming into the weekend in Shanghai that one major area that he was struggling with in his Renault was how the brakes performed compared to what he was used to at Red Bull. But although Ricciardo’s Chinese Grand Prix running started promisingly enough, as he finished FP1 in a strong P6, he admitted that getting comfortable in his R.S.19 was still a work in progress.
“It is coming,” said Ricciardo. “It is there in moments. I’d say this morning was actually better for me. The afternoon less so. For sure when I do feel at one with it, I feel like I can get it going. So we just got that going more consistently. The afternoon we did drop off a bit. Still not really sure why, we didn’t change that much. A beautiful race car so we’ll try and figure it out.
“We have to make some improvements overnight to reaffirm that confidence. I’m good, ready to go, I think tomorrow we can have a good day. We have to put it all together and it’s so close in that midfield, but I’m confident we will get it right.
“This morning immediately I felt quite confident on the brakes, [where] certainly in Bahrain, I was not where I wanted to be. So that was positive. These are things we tested during the Bahrain test. Some little things here and there that are helping towards a better direction.”