A relaxed Daniel Ricciardo fronted an eager press on Thursday, keen to see how the young Australian had celebrated his best ever finish in Formula One in China last weekend. Not wanting to dissappoint, Daniel reeled off a faux story of hedonism that would rival the exploits of James Hunt, before revealing the actual truth was rather tame in comparison.
“I was getting smashed every night!… Tequila, whiskey…Strippers… It was pretty intense!”, laughed Daniel. “No to be honest I didn’t have any parties. For the team it’s great. I finished 7th, I didn’t win a race so I didn’t think it was worthy of a wild night out. I congratulated all the guys for helping me make it happen and that was it. Monday I got here (in Bahrain) and relaxed… That was probably my reward”.
His approach after the race, mirrored that of his mental preperation that secured his spectacular sebenth place in Shanghai. Ricciardo reiterated he was intent on tapping into this mindset, in the hope it will provide himself and the Torro Rosso squad the consistency they need for the rest of the season.
“After Saturday (qualifying) I kept calm after the result” explained Ricciardo. “It sounds easy now, but I knew Sunday was still ahead… I think I’ll just use that confidence and momentum to keep me going. I think the team has learnt a lot – hopefully we’re just going to keep improving… It’s taken a bit of weight off the shoulders for sure. But I’ve definitely got to balance that – If I’m too relaxed and expect to get seventh again, I think will be a big mistake.”
Whilst not keen to weigh into the tyre debate, Daniel was remarkably honest about his opinions on racing on the soft-compound Pirelli’s, but was maintaining a fresh approach to the rules.
“If you talk to Jenson after the race he’ll probably tell you he never pushed the whole race… In that regard you are driving to speed to save your tyres and maybe you don’t have to be an elite Formula One driver to do it. So in that respect sometimes it’s not ‘F1′ as the lap-times we’re doing are similar to a GP2 at times… Sometimes you’re in a corner and you’d like to go a bit quicker”, Daniel chuckled. “But it’s what it is for now”.
On the back of Button’s comments on young drivers and the lack of testing available, Ricciardo offered a contrary opinion the to 2009 World Champion; believing (as a younger driver himself), that testing shouldn’t be regarded as the ‘be-all and end-all’, having benefitted from both experiences at Red Bull, Torro Rosso and HRT.
“Testing is one thing but a race weekend is another”, Daniel mused. “I think the six months I did with HRT was really good to understand how the race weekend works. With testing you can learn 80 percent, but there’s that 20 percent which you can only learn out there on a Sunday. That’s the nature of the beast at the moment.”
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic