(Infiniti Red Bull Racing)
Daniel Ricciardo heads to the Chinese Grand Prix having scored a top ten finish last time out in Malaysia and will be hoping to end the race next week further up the order having been beaten to ninth place by team mate Daniil Kvyat. Ahead of the Chinese Grand Prix Ricciardo took part in a Q&A:
What’s the best thing about going to Shanghai?
The city’s pretty cool and the markets in particular are a bit of an eye-opener. They seem to have more technology than I ever thought existed. I stay close to the track, so I’ll only really dip into the city for one day, to do a bit of shopping or go out. I’ve found a few nice restaurants in the last few years, and I do like the local food.
What stands out at the Shanghai International Circuit?
The paddock – it’s enormous! You need to be an athlete just to get around. As for the track itself, I’d call it ‘technical’. Turns One, Two and Three are all very long and technical. I don’t think there’s any other corner like it on the calendar. And it’s very, very aggressive on the front tyres.
…It also has the longest straight in F1.
Yep, it’s long alright. You could drink a can of Red Bull driving down it. I’ve heard quite a few drivers saying it’s pretty boring. Ha! If they think it’s boring in a Formula One car, they should have tried coming here in Formula BMW. I drove here as a kid, all massive afro and enthusiasm and, trust me, it was the sort of straight where I’d definitely have been reaching for a book if I’d had one.
We’ve seen excessive tyre wear in recent years with the life of the option tyre being measured in corners rather than laps. What’s that like to drive?
It’s pretty extreme – but I’d still prefer it to the scenario with a tyre that takes three laps to come in. The fact it comes in straight away is awesome. In qualifying, you drive the out-lap like your grandma, desperately trying to not kill it before the flying lap starts.
Speaking about the Bahrain Grand Prix where last year he finished in fourth place Ricciardo was asked:
What are you looking ahead to in Bahrain, after Shanghai?
We stay in possibly the coolest hotel of the season. I haven’t explored Manama but out near the circuit where we’re based, we stay in a hotel with it’s own beach. Obviously the weather’s great and for training and relaxing for a few days before the event, yeah, it’s pretty sweet.
Rumour has it the Bahrain International Circuit is your second favourite at Sakhir…
Ha! Yeah, there’s a really good go-kart track next to the circuit. Last year after testing you could go down there and hang out with the guys working at the track and do a few laps – obviously in your race overalls and helmet trying to look as cool as possible. Pretty good.
…and the grand prix circuit?
It was the location of possibly my best qualifying lap ever, so I’ve got a few nice memories of Sakhir. Over one lap there’s nothing that really has the wow! factor but for racing it’s a little better. Last year the race was one of the best. You can pass, and moving to an evening race spices things up a little. It kept you guessing with the tyres. Yeah, it’s a good track to race on. There’s some tricky corners. Turn 10 is a funny turning-turning-braking-
‘Sick’ in the Urban Dictionary sense?
Yeah, that’s the one.
© Ben Johnston 2015