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Daniel Ricciardo Q&A: Red Bull can still start season in style

27 Feb 2014

After a productive morning in Bahrain on Thursday (the afternoon was less so), Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo is confident the world champions are recovering from their early pre-season testing woes. Just how strong that recovery will be remains to be seen, but Ricciardo is nonetheless looking forward to his home race in Australia in just over two weeks’ time…

Q: Daniel, it was a promising morning - and then what happened in the afternoon?

Daniel Ricciardo: Yep, the morning was pretty good for us. We’ve been able to do some longer runs here and there. For me behind the wheel the package felt quite right - like things are finally coming together. But nevertheless we had some issues also in the morning. At least when the car was on track it was much more useful than ever before.

Q: …and what about the afternoon?

DR: Pretty similar to last week: some mechanical issues that put a stop to most of our running in the afternoon. Hopefully we will get more tomorrow but at least we made some progress this morning. Of course, I would love to kick on but Seb (Vettel) also has two days. So I am not the last one, so I hope that we are looking pretty good for the next three days.

Q: Can you say anything about the driveability of the car? You haven’t spent that much time in it yet…

DR: As I just said, this morning it looked pretty good but performance-wise we really don’t know. The lap times are still spread out, but that also comes from different tyres, different fuel loads, so it has no real significance. For us we still have to learn a bit more before we do any performance runs.

Q: How does it feel to get a Red Bull drive - obviously hitting the jackpot - and then suddenly find yourself a near backmarker?

DR: Ah, it’s just testing so there is no such thing as back marker and front runner. Mercedes is probably the team that is consistently at the front right now, but the rest is pretty unknown. We need to focus on ourselves and do more mileage. And what we’ve done today was the most positive stuff that we have done so far. Sure, it’s still not enough laps, but at least it’s looking like we are getting into the right direction.

Q: You were talking before about a few problems. What is the main problem?

DR: There is not really a main problem. We fix one problem and another arises, but as they all feed into each other, if one thing doesn’t work it impacts on to the next. But we’re getting there. Sure, there are still many boxes to tick.

Q: So your hope is that engineers will fix some of the problems tonight and that you can do more laps tomorrow?

DR: Definitely. Our boys have been working flat out and hopefully we will come to a point where we will see the car more on the track than in the box.

Q: How is your confidence for your home Grand Prix in Melbourne? It’s only a little over two weeks from now…

DR: Ah, there are still some test days. True, so far the running hasn’t been perfect, but today was - despite the afternoon - an improvement. That makes me believe that if we do our homework here and back in the factory, Red Bull will start the season in Melbourne in style - though probably not as dominant as we’ve been last year.