Ricciardo: A shame that I have come in when the team is not dominating

Daniel Ricciardo happy with his season thus far

Daniel Ricciardo happy with his season thus far

Daniel Ricciardo is a product of the highly regarded but notoriously tough Red Bull motorsport ladder, through the minor leagues he made his way to the very top in Formula 1 with the energy drinks outfit and his performances since his arrival in the cockpit of  the world champion team has been nothing short of sensational, but the likable Australian laments the timing of his rise.

Speaking at a karting event to celebrate his birthday ahead of the British Grand Prix, Ricciardo told media, “It’s a shame I have come in when the team is not dominating but we are still able to get good results, so I’m not down.”

He mused, “From the team perspective, we would love to be more competitive, but that’s how it is. You can’t dominate forever.”

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the season is the decline in Sebastian Vettel’s performances, the quadruple world champion has struggled to come to grips with the new V6 turbo technology, while his teammate Ricciardo has flourished and more often than not he has been the one to take the fight to the dominant Mercedes team.

Daniel Ricciardo's victory in Canada is likely to be the first of many

Daniel Ricciardo’s victory in Canada is likely to be the first of many

Even Ricciardo has been taken by the manner in which he has dealt with Vettel so far this season.

“I’ve got the better of him both in Qualifying and the race, which has been surprising,” said the big smiling Aussie. “I came into the season knowing what I had around me and if I could use it all, I could challenge Seb.”

“Did I think it would be 6-2 in qualifying and I would be leading him in the championship? Probably not. It’s been reassuring. I’ve always believed in my ability but to go out and do it does a lot for your confidence. To get two podiums and a win, I can’t complain,” said Ricciardo.

Heading to Silverstone with an under-powered car, Ricciardo is nevertheless optimistic, “If we can get our car working as it should, I think that Silverstone can be good for us. If we can get our stuff together, we can be a solid second-based team (to Mercedes).”

Speaking about the track where he made his grand prix debut in 2011 with HRT, funded by Red Bull, he said, “Silverstone is great. It’s just a great, great racing circuit. It’s fast, it’s flowing and you really get to rag your car for all it’s worth. There’s nowhere better at letting you know how very, very good an F1 car is than Silverstone, and in particular through that ultra-fast Maggots-Becketts-Chapel complex.”

Daniel Ricciardo made his F1 race debut at the 2011 British Grand Prix weekend

Daniel Ricciardo made his F1 race debut at the 2011 British Grand Prix weekend

“The more I drive it, the more I also enjoy the new section because it creates more chances for overtaking and it’s not as straightforward as it looks. I’m looking forward to my first race with Red Bull this year at Silverstone, I know a lot of the guys are going to be watching at the track so I’ll be going at it for a good result,” promised Ricciardo.

Hot topic of late has been the introduction of standing re-starts which are due to come into effect next season. Ricciardo made it clear that he is not a fan of the concept.

“I don’t like the idea of standing re-starts. If you’re leading by 20 seconds, you lose it when a safety car comes out which is firstly a big disadvantage,” he explained.

“And then by putting in a standing re-start, anything could happen – not just an accident but a poor start when you drop from first to fourth because you’re using tyres which could be very old. It’s the same for everyone, but it seems harsh on the leader,” ventured Ricciardo.

On a lighter note the good natured Aussie revealed how serious things can really get in the Red Bull pen, “They [mechanics] play jokes on me. On Sunday mornings, I get in the car and I do a few things in the cockpit. I have to take my shoes off to get in the car. But they glued my shoes together on the floor. I put my feet in the shoes, went to walk off, and nearly face planted. But I’ll get them back, I’m just being patient.” (GP247)