Daniel Ricciardo feeling ‘comfortable’ ahead of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

Ahead of the Miami Grand Prix, Daniel Ricciardo told the media, including SB Nation, that he finally felt comfortable behind the wheel of the RB01. Speaking on Thursday’s media day in Miami, the Visa Cash App RB Formula 1 Team noted that the chassis change the team made to his car had finally given him a bit more confidence in the car.

“I definitely felt a lot better in China and yeah, hopefully that’s the start,” said Ricciardo in Miami. “But a lot of it comes out here feeling and being comfortable, you know? There was, honestly, something that once I hit the track in China, I did feel like I had a bit more.

“So whether that is a physical change that maybe something chassis provided me, and it just gave me a bit more feeling of really what the car is gonna do. So that was good.”

The result? Ricciardo’s best weekend of the season. He put his RB01 on the second row for the F1 Sprint Race in Miami, qualifying in P4. In the Sprint Race itself, Ricciardo briefly jumped into third, but settled into fourth over the closing stretch, holding off both Carlos Sainz Jr. and Oscar Piastri for a fourth-place finish.

The five points Ricciardo banked with that P4 were his first points of the season.

During Thursday’s FIA Press Conference ahead of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, Ricciardo elaborated on the comfort level he is feeling in the RB01 at the moment.

“I’ve definitely found … yeah, I think I know what is required from this car, and I think I’m just comfortable in it,” said Ricciardo Thursday. “Obviously, there are still moments where, obviously, the Saturday evening, afternoon qualifying, you know, it’s still not always going to be easy to put it together, and when some things don’t quite happen then yeah, obviously in our position it can mean a Q1 exit.

“So that’s just where we are. It’s competitive and you’ve still got to put it all together but I have a lot of confidence in the car and where I’m at with it that we can get the job done more often than not.”

Later in the press conference Ricciardo was asked to elaborate on comments from Team Principal Laurent Mekies in Miami, when the VCARB boss stated the team was trying to make Ricciardo more “comfortable” in the car. Ricciardo outlined what that meant for him, as well as the entire team.

“I think last year, I would say when I joined the team and got myself into a few races, set up directions, started to diverge a bit … Yeah. I think that I certainly was happy with the direction that I was looking for or taking the car. And then, honestly, ultimately, Yuki [Tsunoda] started to explore a little bit that as well,” described Ricciardo.

“And I think we both ended up liking that. And now we’re both pretty much in a similar place with what we want from the car and where we like it in terms of set-up. So obviously after the first few races, yeah, I understand that there was a few things that we were trying to get on top of,” added Ricciardo. “We being, let’s say, me and my side of the garage. But it wasn’t necessarily doing a whole lot … I was still happy with the car and that it was just obviously the lap time was a little bit of the question mark, ultimately.

“So obviously we changed the chassis in China and I think some might say that it did nothing, but for me, I do feel like, at least my feeling, but also on paper, it looks like my season’s taken a pretty big turnaround,” continued Ricciardo. “So, you know, for now, that was something that was, I think, definitely positive. And we’re just trying to get a bit more out of the car.

“But there’s nothing really specific where I’m saying, ‘guys, we really need this’. I think both Yuki and myself are asking for similar things,” added Ricciardo. “With a bit more of my experience, I guess maybe there’s a few more things I can lean in on and ask from the team. But a long-winded answer.”

Ultimately, he and the rest of the team are just looking to find those critical “tenths” that every team is looking for in a tight field.

“Honestly, nothing in particular. We’re just trying to find lap time. And the team’s done a good job. Miami was a good little update to the floor and gave us a bit more what we needed for maybe the first sector in Miami,” concluded Ricciardo. “Yeah, it’s clear the direction we need to go to catch the top teams, and I think the team’s doing a good job of trying to give us all we can. And Laurent’s been great in the team, so happy having him on board.”

Ricciardo gets his first shot at putting that comfort level to the test with Friday’s dual practice sessions at Imola.

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