Ricciardo: Braking can separate the good from the great
By Mat Coch
Saturday 14th August, 2021 - 12:30pm
A driver’s ability under braking has the potential to separate the good from the great, according to Daniel Riccardo.
The Australian has long been regarded as one of the best on the bakes in Formula 1, though conceded during the early part of the season that it’s something he struggled with.
McLaren’s Andrea Stella revealed the 32-year-old likes to carry speed through the middle part of the corner, while the MCL35M works better driving it hard into the apex.
A key component of that is ability on the brakes.
“It’s probably talked about because such a high amount of performance and lap time is in braking,” Ricciardo told selected media, including Speedcafe.com.
“In a way, probably getting braking technique as far as driving, and especially these cars with so much downforce, that can even separate probably the good from the great.”
While Formula 1 has long done away with driver aids such as antilock brakes, there are a myriad of other controls at their disposal.
Key among them is the fly by wire pedal, and the propensity for drivers to change the balance multiple times a lap based on the sequence they’re approaching.
However, with the MGU-K recovery unit performing much of the function on the rear axle, it remains a black art.
“It’s just how well you can stop the car and feel the car what it’s doing,” Ricciardo explained.
“I guess brakes are talked about just because there’s a lot a lot of time in it normally, if you can nail it.”
Getting to grips with a new brake package takes time and is perhaps the key component the seven-time race winner struggled with upon his arrival at Renault in 2019.
Comments in the early part of this season mirrored those, though in the 11 races since much of that has been ironed out.
“I’m getting there with the car,” he said.
“Getting up to a pretty good level it’s been pretty, I don’t want to say easy, but pretty smooth so far.
“But once you start to try get that last few percent, that’s where you’re still, I think naturally, it still does take a little bit of time.”
Ricciardo sits ninth in the drivers’ championship after the opening half of the season.
Formula 1 returns for its 12-race run home starting with the Belgian Grand Prix on August 27-29.