Ricciardo: One more lap would have been tough

Daniel Ricciardo happy to be on the podium at Silverstone

Daniel Ricciardo happy to be on the podium at Silverstone

Daniel Ricciardo continued his impressive run in his first season as a Red Bull driver by delivering a masterclass in tyre conservation as he powered to third place in the British Grand Prix. He spoke after his afternoon of hard graft at Silverstone;

Australians have a good record around here?
Daniel Ricciardo: Yeah, they do! Obviously Mark enjoyed this track a lot, so it’s nice to be up here on the podium. It’s been a good circuit to me in the past, so really, really happy. We just held on at the end. I think one more lap would have been tough, Jenson was coming, but really happy with the podium.

For you strategy was the key as well. Like Valtteri you did one stop, you did something different, both you and your team-mate taking the Hard tyre early on. Was the tyre deg much lighter than you expected today, was it a race where expectations were changing as the race went on?
DR: Pretty much. We chose to restart on the Prime. It didn’t seem like the best thing to do at first because we were really slow at the restart. Valtteri and Fernando got past me pretty easily and pulled away and I was coming on the radio basically saying “let’s see if we can try something a little bit different” as we didn’t really have the pace as we hoped, as we expected today. Once we came in for the Option, we just ran and pushed pretty much for the whole stint. I didn’t intend on doing a one-stop when I started on that tyre but laps ticked off and we were still able to keep the pace. The team said “do you think you could do another 15-20 laps” and I was like “at the moment, yeah, I think we can”, so we stayed out and just held on at the end. It was awesome. I think all three of us had a bit of redemption on our plate today. It was a pretty dismal Saturday for us. I think we’re all pretty happy. This is definitely one of my best podiums this year.

What was your mindset last night and this morning, knowing that you’re so far back and, often in races, when you start that that far back, like these two guys, you’re not going to finish in the top three?
DR: Mindset was just, yeah, like it always is I guess when you’re out of position, just go for it, try and do something a bit different. Not much to lose. I knew we were a better car than eighth on the grid, so…yeah…I was a bit surprised during the first stint, even though we were on a different tyre, I was surprised not to be as quick. We didn’t have much pace, so then it was ‘let’s try something different and make something work.’ Yeah, I was very hungry today. I like to think I always am but today I was pretty jacked up. So it’s nice to be up here.

You’ve obviously become one of the most likeable guys in F1 I think it’s fair to say, but in denying – there’s that big beaming smile, thank you – but in denying JB’s (Button’s) long overdue podium here, do you perhaps feel like a bit of a villain for once?
DR: It did cross my mind a little bit. I was thinking…especially in the last few laps, he was catching me pretty quickly at the end. I had sort of stabilised the gap a bit and then with four laps to go, I think my Options were really suffering and he was coming, so I was thinking, yeah, probably for once I’ve got a lot of people booing me and cheering on the local lad but obviously for me it was good. I think for him as well; they haven’t had a great season so a fourth is – yeah, it’s not a podium, but he’d still be fairly pleased with that result so hopefully we’re all happy.

It goes along the lines of momentum but not championship momentum. Obviously we had a fairly long delay after all you guys all made mega starts on the first lap. When you’ve got that one hour delay, what are you thinking? Are you worried that you’re going to lose the momentum that you picked up? What’s going on in your heads?
DR: It’s tricky when you don’t know how long the break’s going to be. The race was at one today, so you do all your preparation to sort of peak at one o’clock in terms of your energy and your focus so you get the race started and you feel your adrenalin and everything is where it needs to be and then it comes back down and I think the limbo of not really knowing when we were going to start again, it’s like do I still keep a high level of intensity or do I go and relax? When do I start to then warm up again? It’s a little bit tricky but at the same time it’s the same for everyone. It does break a little bit of momentum, I guess, but then it’s up to us and our trainers how we get it back and make sure we’re switched on for the restart.

We were talking about what you do before the restart; can you explain what you do with your trainer and the tennis balls?
DR: We sort of change it a lot but it’s more to get the hand-eye co-ordination going. I guess everyone does something a bit different. Sometimes we use tennis balls just to get my hand-eye co-ordination switched on and make sure my reactions are there. We do some different drills with that. It depends as well on what…I don’t have a ritual routine as such but it depends on what I feel like doing before the race, but that’s something.