Ricciardo looking to “kick some ass” at home race after RB F1 found issues on his car during Saudi Arabian GP weekend

Photo Credit: Red Bull Content Pool
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Daniel Ricciardo endured an extremely difficult Saudi Arabian Grand Prix weekend — and the Australian confirmed post-race his VCARB 01 was not performing at 100% either due to some “flaws” that he had hoped would be found post-qualifying.

The 8-time Grand Prix winner and Yuki Tsunoda had been closely matched in practice and Q1. But as the Japanese driver found half a second in the second segment of qualifying versus his Q1 effort, the Australian only improved by 0.040s.

Ricciardo explained he knew it was going to be a tough race due to the fundamental issues picked up on the car.

“Honestly, we found a few things over the course of the weekend.

“Heading into the race you’re always upbeat and optimistic that maybe something happens, but I think it was always going to be an uphill battle.

“We simply don’t have everything functioning at 100%. So we see a few flaws, honestly, with the car. We’ve got to get that fixed for the next one.”

Although he would not go into precise details, the driver from Perth explained that it would have been impossible for the team to fix it between qualifying and the race, even if Parc Fermé was not a thing.

Unlike Bahrain where he did not put everything together in Q2, Ricciardo knew this was not on him at the second round of the season.

“It’s honestly some things with the car, like just when it comes to producing efficiency and everything, just a few things didn’t quite add up.

“Like [in] Bahrain, I knew that it was more me, like qualifying. I knew I left some time on the table. I knew I left a couple of tenths.

“But yesterday [Friday] when it kind of plateaus and the others keep improving, it’s also a bit of a sign. So I could feel that that was the limit of the car.

“So yeah, we did find some things afterwards, but then you’ve got Parc Fermé. To be honest, even if we didn’t have Parc Fermé, it’s probably nothing we can fix in 24 hours.

“So I’m sure a few things will go back to the factory and come back with a fresh car in Melbourne.”

An early Safety Car was required as Lance Stroll crashed at turn 22 on lap 6 of the race. Ricciardo, who was in 14th, had a 41-second stop and dropped to the tail of the field as most drivers boxed. A tough day became even harder.

“I think the race itself, the Safety Car, everyone pitted and we had a really slow stop. I don’t know if they showed it, but a slow one. And then we were on [the end of] that train.

“So at the end, then just to make sure I made my mistake as well, I had a spin at Turn 1 — I didn’t want the team to feel left out [laughs].

“But yeah, just definitely a tricky one.”

To compound a miserable weekend, he spun in the closing stages of the race as he took too much kerb at turn 1.

Asked if he lost concentration, Ricciardo was not looking for excuses.

“The spin? Yeah, maybe. I mean, I say that, I don’t know.

“I mean, I did just take a bit too much kerb, which causes spins. So yeah, it wasn’t, I’m not intending on taking that much kerb.

“So yeah, you could say just a little bit of, probably a little bit of frustration maybe on my part, but of course I’m not trying to spin.

“So yeah, I don’t know. No excuses.”

Due to the issues he faced, Ricciardo conceded he felt a bit helpless on Saturday. With the lack of load and problems with his package generally, the Aussie simply could not follow Logan Sargeant closely during the hard tyre stint, ultimately finishing P15 after his spin.

“Yeah, I mean, simply we just lacked load this weekend, just in general.

“So then when you get behind another car, it’s even exaggerated more and it kind of exploits even more of a weakness.

“So it was tricky. Yeah, just a tough one. One of those ones you just, yeah, you hope that it’s over.

“Look, I’m glad I’m back on the grid and all that. So I don’t want to be like, ah, I just wanted to see the chequered flag.

“I’m not in the mindset I was a couple of years ago. But yeah, just knowing that we don’t quite have underneath us what we should, that’s where you feel a little bit helpless.”

Nonetheless, despite a challenging start to the season for RB F1, Ricciardo is remaining upbeat and plans to “kick some ass” in Melbourne as he hopes to have a car working at 100% for his home event.

He also will be pushing the team to solve everything and get the maximum out of their package. Testing had looked promising for RB but the first two races have been somewhat underwhelming.

“But the reason I’m staying optimistic is I know that we had some things wrong and with a good car and everything sorted, I know we can do a lot better.

“A painful three days, but I don’t want it to take any confidence out of us. So it hasn’t been the start to the year we wanted, but it’s race two and Melbourne’s next, so yeah, big push for everyone to get it right and we’ll have a good weekend.

“I mean, I’m going to obviously put this weekend behind [me]. I think just push the team hard.

“Already last night I stayed quite late to try and help everyone find the issues. And yeah, just up to me now to keep on them. I know they want it as bad as I do.

“So make sure that we have a good package into Melbourne and then, yeah, let’s say my season will start there and I’ll kick some ass.”