Red Bull motorsport consultant Helmut Marko is full of praise for the team’s promoted Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo.
Marko told Speedweek, “We expected a lot from Daniel and he has surpassed those expectations. We are really pleased with how he has settled at Red Bull. Of course we knew he was fast because of data from Toro Rosso and also based on the test drives he did for Red Bull.”
“But then he surprised us by bring quick while having less tire wear than Vettel. This was not something that was immediately evident,” revealed Marko.
Ricciardo had a bittersweet debut for the world champion team at the season opening Australian Grand Prix, where he crossed the finish line second, went on to celebrate on the podium, but hours later was disqualified because his RB10 was ruled to have breached the new regulation governing a maximum rate for the flow of fuel.
The outspoken Austrian, who helped groom Ricciardo through the Red Bull junior ranks into Formula 1, pointed out, “He has been unlucky. Only one more lap, and Daniel would have overtaken third-placed Pérez in Bahrain. Two more laps in Shanghai, and he could have be on the podium ahead of Alonso.”
Marko, who had a famously prickly relationship with the team’s previous Australian driver Mark Webber, says that Ricciardo’s disposition is a big bonus for the team as he “exudes constant good humou, has a giant smile and a lot of positive energy.”
The only criticism Marko has for Ricciardo is “at pitstops Daniel loses too much time, he is either too slow or is stopped too long. But he will improve soon.” (GP247)