Daniel Ricciardo says he was surprised by the competitiveness of Red Bull Racing at the first round of the 2014 season in Australia and is hopeful that the strong pace of the RB10 will continue in Malaysia.
The Aussie crossed the line in second place at the Albert Park Circuit but was later excluded after his car was found to have consistently exceeded the maximum fuel flow limit during the race. Red Bull has appealed the decision and the hearing will take place on April 14th.
He previously said that the Milton Keynes-based outfit is currently battling to be the second fastest team on the grid and looking ahead to the next race in Malaysia, the 24-year-old has admitted that the team wasn’t expecting the pace of the Renault-powered RB10 to be as strong as it was in Melbourne.
“The RB10 surprised us in Australia by being more competitive than we thought in the dry and the wet, so let’s see what the next two races brings,” he said.
Commenting on the exclusion, he said: “Despite the eventual outcome in Melbourne, I still feel really good about my performance in the race and throughout the weekend. Obviously it would be nice to get the 18 points, but I’m happy that I still stood on the podium and that was a great feeling. I know I did a good job and I can take that with me to the next race in Malaysia.”
The hot and humid conditions at the Malaysian Grand Prix make it the toughest event on the calendar. “One thing you have to take into account there is the heat. I first drove at Sepang when I was 16 in a four-day Formula BMW test and you couldn’t really say I was prepared for it. Until you’ve experienced the heat in the cockpit, it isn’t something you can fully appreciate, no matter what people tell you.
“I was drinking six litres of fluid a day and I still suffered. It’s something you prepare for better as you come back again and again, though it’s still one of the most physically-challenging races. If you’re not correctly prepared then the last 20 laps of a grand prix will be difficult and the physicality of the race can hit your concentration in those latter stages. And so you train, train and train.”
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