Ricciardo tempers expectations despite improved showing

Daniel Ricciardo

Daniel Ricciardo has moved to temper expectations ahead of the Formula 1 British Grand Prix following promising performances during Qualifying and Sprint Qualifying.

The Australian recorded the seventh fastest time in Friday afternoon’s Qualifying session, moving forward one spot in the 17-lap Sprint Qualifying session on Saturday.

It’s a result that equals his best starting position of the season and comes on a weekend at which he’s all but matched team-mate Lando Norris across all four on-track sessions.

“I’d love for this to be the start of it all,” Ricciardo said when asked by Speedcafe.com if the performances thus far this weekend marked a turning point in his season.

“The truth is, for me to confidently say that, I think I need to put together a string of weekends like this.

“I definitely felt good yesterday and I guess today was decent, but let’s see.

“Budapest is a completely different circuit; we are higher downforce, more braking, a bit more twisty and technical.

“If I can put it together there then I’ll probably answer that question more confidently and let the world know that I’m back baby!”

The comparatively packed schedule this weekend, owing to the Sprint Qualifying format in use, has left little chance for Ricciardo to step back and understand why he’s been more competitive.

Practice in Silverstone was condensed into two one-hour sessions, with a traditional qualifying system employed on Friday afternoon ahead of a short 17-lap race style session on Saturday.

Free Practice 1 preceded Qualifying, while Free Practice 2 came before Sprint Qualifying, with cars already in parc ferme.

“So far, just the nature of the weekend has been so busy that I haven’t really had time to probably give it the full assessment,” Ricciardo explained.

“I think I just had just a good level of comfort with it, obviously that that helps.”

Ricciardo’s struggles so far in 2021 have related to braking and rotating the car, areas which can be masked at Silverstone.

The British circuit has comparatively few heavy braking events per lap, and therefore few instances where technique is the dominant factor in turning the car.

“There’s less braking on this circuit, so that’s one characteristic which maybe has been a good thing for me this weekend,” Ricciardo ventured.

“It kind of felt pretty good yesterday, and I had had obviously comfort and confidence to push.

“And it felt relatively natural for me, so we weren’t really chasing too much with the setup or technique.

“I guess I haven’t really dissected it too much,” he added.

“Positive, definitely positive – I don’t think anyone’s congratulated me for qualifying seventh so much before!”

Ricciardo’s Silverstone performance to date follows a promising Sunday effort at the Austrian Grand Prix two weeks ago.

Having disappointed in qualifying, the 32-year-old raced his way forward from 13th on the grid to seventh at the flag.

Seventh in Friday’s Qualifying session was therefore a step forward, though it left the Australian frustrated he didn’t achieve more.

“I was obviously very happy for Daniel, especially for the team that is around him on the engineering side, the mechanical side, that he had a strong Friday yesterday, and a strong Qualifying after some difficult qualifying sessions,” said team boss Andreas Seidl.

“We all know Daniel is a guy who is full of energy and positivity, and obviously [it] was challenging him the last weeks.

“Therefore I was very happy that he could score this P7 yesterday, actually could pull it off in every single qualifying session yesterday.

“At the same time, it was good to see that he will still not happy, he was grumpy, because he wanted more.

“That’s something I like because it gave me a good feeling going into today, knowing that he’s not happy with what he has achieved yesterday with the team.”

Ricciardo will start the British Grand Prix from sixth, one spot back from Norris on an all-McLaren third row.

Racing gets underway at midnight AEST tonight.

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