While his home race two weeks ago left a lot to be desired for Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo, it did do one thing, it showed him that where his RB13 is struggling with rear grip, their rivals at Ferrari and Mercedes are not, and that could be the biggest reason why they are currently the third best team on the grid.
Admittedly, we have only had one race so far this year, and Daniel only managed to use it as a testing session after he stopped on the way to the grid, his car stuck in 6th gear. After that the team managed to get him back out, 2 laps down, however even that only lasted for 25 laps before he was permanently out of the running.
Speaking at the Shanghai International Circuit ahead of today’s opening practice session, the likeable Aussie explained the cars biggest problem….
“At the moment, we don’t have enough rear grip — so downforce basically,” Ricciardo told Skysports. “To be honest, I don’t know if it is we don’t have enough or we haven’t set the car up in the right way. I still feel that we haven’t got the most out of the downforce. Melbourne, if I watch some onboards of Ferrari or Mercedes, it looks like they have more rear grip than us — so probably we don’t have as much as them, period.”
“I don’t think we have understood it well enough yet to get the most out of it with set-up and ride heights, that sort of thing. I say we probably haven’t found the right set-up but we’ve had enough time now, so I’d say we’re still lacking and I would say it’s a bit of overall downforce. At least for me as a driver that’s what I feel for now and when I watch the onboards that’s what I see, but more than that I’m not sure. Whether it’s geometry and that of suspension, that’s probably beyond me, but as a driver I feel that the rear could be stronger.”
“For me and probably Max as well, we just felt that looking at Ferrari and Mercedes, we couldn’t attack the corner as much because they just seem more planted on the rear. Even on the high speed, we can kind of match them, but I feel we are like this more than they are. There was an onboard from one of Kimi’s best laps from testing, and Turn 3, I think the top teams are doing Turn 3 full [throttle], and he did it — and he didn’t even use all the track. He didn’t let the car run out to the edge so, wow, he has got some downforce. I think it is something we knew from early on, that that is an area we have to work on now.”
First practice for the Chinese Grand Prix gets underway in a few short hours’ time and you can follow us live on our twitter and Facebook feeds.