Daniel Ricciardo has admitted that he’s finally able to get the best out of his Renault RS19 after initially struggling to adapt to his new machine.
A change of teams during the off-season forced Ricciardo to take a new approach to driving his new machine, a process which he admits took time.
“Winter testing I thought I got up to speed well and that was that, but getting that last five percent, that was going to take time,” he explained.
“I’d like to say I’m in that window now where I wasn’t in the first few weekends.”
In order to get the most out of the car, the Australian has had to change his technique in the car, a process that took some time to get on top of.
Heading into this weekend’s Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix, the seventh round of the 2019 season, Ricciardo feels he’s now fully at one with his machine.
“I think now I’m actually comfortable and I think I’m already starting to drive a little differently compared to what I was last year in some areas,” he said.
“Without going into details, but what I mean by that, even the way you brake into the corner or the way you pick up the throttle, just based on the characteristics I feel like I’ve already adopted new habits.”
The 29-year-old also feels this weekend’s event will be the best test yet of his car, which has boasted an upgraded engine since the Spanish Grand Prix last month.
Though that upgrade was for reliability purposes, it has allowed Ricciardo and team-mate Nico Hulkenberg the ability to turn the engine up to higher power modes more often.
“We know we’ve definitely made progress through the year. We were encouraged by Monaco and even Barcelona,” Ricciardo reasoned.
“This will be the best test yet. We’ll see. I’m confident that we’ll be aright but alright, obviously what does that mean?
“Hopefully a Q3 car, but we’ll see how that goes.
“I think just even one comment we made was remembering what is was like here last year, pulling up the hill towards Turn 3 (at Monaco) and these places, our recollection was that in a year it’s improved a lot; corners are coming up a little bit quicker.”
Renault currently sits eighth in the constructors championship, a single point clear of Alfa Romeo, while Ricciardo sits 13th in the drivers’ title hunt.
The Canadian Grand Prix begins at midnight tonight (AEST) with opening practice.