Daniel Ricciardo added to his knowledge of McLaren’s MCL35M in Baku, and the Aussie says he is looking forward to F1’s upcoming triple-header to “fast track” his progress.
Ricciardo had little to show for his weekend in Azerbaijan marked by a crash in Q2 on Saturday and a low-profile run to P9 on race day.
On paper, the results were nothing to write home about, but for the McLaren driver there were another step forward in his ongoing process of adapting to a car that even teammate Lando Norris admits is difficult to master.
“The weekend started alright,” Ricciardo explained in Baku. “I put in some days last week to prepare and we got off on the right foot.
“I got to a level which was OK and relatively competitive, but now to push it and really balance it on that knife-edge, I guess there are still some things I need to understand.
“It will probably just take a bit more time.”
Ricciardo admitted that his crash in the second segment of qualifying was likely the result of trying too hard.
“With the mistake, there was always a bit of margin on braking there, so I tried to get a bit more out of it,” he said. “Initially, it was OK but as soon as I’ve started to turn in, it locked [up].
“Once you lock at these speeds, you’re not going to stop. I knew there was a bit there, but I probably tried to take a bit too much.”
The Aussie said his race on Sunday could have gone either way given Baku’s typical unpredictable nature. A couple of points on the board is never a waste, but the most important aspect of Ricciardo’s Sunday was ensuring that he extended his mileage.
“Just getting the laps in and completing the race…” he said. “That sounds so basic, but just to keep learning with the car.
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“A couple points… yeah, in a race like this anything can happen. We could be podium, top five or in the wall on lap one. So we’ll take it.”
Read also: Norris says Baku finale was like ‘racing in qualfying’
F1 will return to action next week at Paul Ricard and immediately follow up with two successive races at the Red Bull Ring. Ricciardo believes a steady flow of basic tracks will only help his ongoing progress.
“I’m looking forward to a triple-header actually,” he said. “Getting into a rhythm, getting into three races in a row, a bit more conventional [tracks], a bit more run-off room won’t do us any harm.
“When you’re trying to learn, any sport, the best way to learn is practice, and doing it. That’s obviously the unique thing with our sport, is we can’t do it every day. We can’t just go out tomorrow and run a few laps.
“So I think having three consecutive weekends, kind of putting in the practice consecutively will kind of fast track my progress.
“Obviously we’ve got the simulator and these things help, but then again in the simulator the walls don’t hurt. So it’s never quite the same.”
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