Ricciardo confident of strong race car in Baku

Daniel Ricciardo

Daniel Ricciardo feels he has a strong race car underneath him for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix but is unsure how predicated high winds will affect proceedings in Baku.

The Australian was unable to repeat his pacesetting Friday practice performance in qualifying, but will be within striking distance of the front runners having secured fourth on the grid.

Ricciardo was 0.4s shy of polesitter Sebastian Vettel, who edged out the improving Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.

Having impressed during qualifying and race runs in practice, last year’s Baku winner is confident he has the tools to perform in Sunday’s race, although track conditions will prove to be a telling factor.

Drivers have faced gusty conditions in the Azerbaijan capital which has upset car balance, and these conditions are expected to worsen on Sunday putting more emphasis on tyre management.

“Saturday is important but I think we have proved lately that Sunday is the real important day and even last year I started 10th here so fourth is like amazing,” said Ricciardo, who won the Chinese Grand Prix last time out.

“I think we have got a good car but the real unknown for everyone is the track conditions tomorrow (Sunday).

“It’s blowing I think 50mph winds so it is going to be a lot colder.

“Managing the tyres and graining is going to be key. If we can manage that, I think we’ve got a real good handling race car.

“Nowadays we have got so much downforce that you could let go of the wheel down the straight in non windy conditions and the car will go, but you don’t want to let go of the wheel here because it will get blown around a lot.

“You definitely feel it, but it makes it fun.”

Ricciardo will start on supersoft tyres for Sunday’s race which is scheduled to begin at 2210 AEST.

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