Daniel Ricciardo expects strong run by Red Bull in Montreal
Daniel Ricciardo expects Red Bull Racing to be strong in Montreal, despite the usual concerns about Renault’s disadvantage relative to rivals Mercedes and Ferrari.
The Australian believes that the RB13’s good performance under braking and over curbs will be beneficial.
“I think we can be alright here,” Ricciardo said. “Even last year I think we qualified fourth here, four tenths from pole, so even then we were pretty quick on one lap. The race we weren’t as strong but also I locked up and had to do an extra pitstop, which hurt my chances of a podium.
“Obviously we’ll lose a bit on the straights, but I feel we’re pretty strong on braking so we can gain a bit back – and curbs," he added. "If we can get comfortable with the car over curbs here, then that’s where we can be quite strong. Normally good rear downforce helps you to get off the curbs and get off the corner well. In Monaco I think we were pretty good in that area, so hopefully we can carry that over here, and be OK.
“Street circuits are always generally a bit more tricky, and when you’ve got some run-offs with just a wall there that creates some risk. Some high curbs that can unsettle the car if you hit them at the wrong angle. Between that, we normally run pretty low downforce here as well, so you have big speeds, big braking zones, a bit less grip, and it’s a low-grip surface, so all these combinations make it a tricky track.”
Ricciardo is confident that chassis upgrades will help the car this weekend, even if Renault’s latest mods have been postponed until at least the next race in Baku.
“We’ve quite a few parts on the car this week, and I believe we’re at a point now – a bit like last year – we’ll start to slowly improve and accelerate. I think our development will match the tracks, so I don’t think we’ll fall behind too much actually," said Ricciardo. "I think we’ll stay in there. I don’t expect us to be too bad.
“All the parts this weekend are small bits, but it’s a lot everywhere," he added. "It’s a pretty good upgrade I would say. It’s a combination of little bits and I think that will keep coming now up until the summer break.”
Ricciardo says the team now understands how it needs to improve the RB13.
“We’ve had a bit more consistency with feedback from myself and Max in the last few races, and more of what we’re saying is now visible also on data, where early in the year maybe we’d say one thing, but it wouldn’t always show," Ricciardo said. "It seems the correlation is a lot better the last few races. Now we’re a lot more certain on the direction we need to go.
“From Barcelona where we had the big update, some bits worked and some didn’t and it was more clear to see from that point on what is working on this car and what isn’t," he added. "I think we’ve got a proper direction now, as opposed to still trying to find a bit in the front and a bit in the rear. From what I understand from the inside, they know what they need to do now.
“We as drivers always knew from fairly early on in the season what we needed in the car, but it wasn’t always that clear to them, or wasn’t on the numbers – ‘Ok, why do we have a weak rear on the entry, it doesn’t quite add up?’ But I think now they can see it clearly.”